ACT News

Save
Print

Homeless man and pet ram travel from Melbourne to 'protest' outside Parliament

Protesters often gather on the lawns of Parliament House.

But a woolly sheep chewing the grass while its owner pulls him along on a leash is one of the stranger protests that have taken place at the iconic site.

Jackie Chan the merino ram is famous in Melbourne, after it became the centre of a long-running and bitter neighbourhood dispute.

The sheep lived with his owner Godwin Aquilina in Maddingley, a rural suburb south of Bacchus Marsh and about an hour from Melbourne.

Moorabool Shire Council recently ordered that the 8-year-old ram be removed from its owner's home, after complaints that it had attacked people and was dangerous.

Mr Aquilina vowed to sleep on Melbourne's streets with his sheep, rather than give him up.

Advertisement

But after months of roughing it in Melbourne's streets and numerous failed attempts to convince the Moorabool Shire Council to let him bring Jackie Chan home, Mr Aquilina decided to take the issue to the federal government.

And that meant embarking on a 660-kilometre journey with Jackie Chan (and his dog) to the capital, which he said took three weeks.

"I have an old van with a trailer and I put Jackie Chan in the trailer and my dog in the front with me," he said. "It was a really long and hard journey; we had to stop and squat in a lot of towns along the way."

Mr Aquilina struggles with his mental health due to an acquired brain injury dating from a truck crash 20 years ago.

He is hoping Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will convince the Moorabool mayor that Jackie Chan is no threat and should be allowed back to Maddingley.

He also says he is trying to have Jackie Chan registered as a "companion animal".

He said he and his two pets have been squatting near the Aboriginal Tent Embassy outside Old Parliament House for the past week.

Apparently they'll stroll on its lawns every day, stopping occasionally to chat to bemused onlookers, until he gets his way.

It could be a long protest for the trio that are far from acclimatised to Canberra's chilly nights.

"It's so cold here," Mr Aquilina said.

"But luckily Jackie Chan is good at keeping people warm."

- With Aisha Dow