House debates

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Constituency Statements

Live Animal Exports

10:16 am

Photo of Lisa ChestersLisa Chesters (Bendigo, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Workplace Relations) Share this | Hansard source

I rise today on behalf of many constituents in my electorate to again call upon the government to proceed with the private members' bills and bills before the House calling for the phase-out of live sheep export. Every day I, like many in this place, receive emails, phone calls and letters from constituents calling upon all of us in this place to proceed with debating and passing the bill to stop live sheep exports.

Just in the last 24 hours, Leanne from Bendigo said:

This trade is still on my mind, although the vision revealing its true horrors was introduced so long ago.

She has never forgotten about what has happened. She calls upon the Liberal government to stop blocking MPs from voting to stop live sheep exports. She says that this trade is cruel and devastating.

I also had contact from Leanne, who lives in Kyneton, who said:

I'm devastated that the government ignored the legislation to end the hideous live sheep exports trade. Refusing to vote on this legislation will do nothing to improve the reputation of MPs.

We have discovered more and more about the impact of live sheep exports, and she says that she now has zero faith in the government to stop it, regardless of what they put forward.

An email from Angela, who lives in Woodend, said: 'Cruelty against animals like this is a huge concern for many Australians,' and the failure to support the live sheep export bill will play a big role in the decision not only of who she votes for but who many of her friends vote for.

I could spend hours in this place detailing the emails, conversations and letters that I've received from constituents in my electorate calling upon this government to allow the House to debate the bill. It's quite easy for current MPs to hide behind procedure. They say they're not going to cross the floor on procedure motions. I call on them to support the House in letting the House debate this bill. We know here have been MPs in the Liberal-National camp who've said they would support the private member's bill if we could debate it and if it were to go to a vote.

This is an issue of huge concern, even in regional electorates. Many raise with me the opportunity to create jobs by phasing out live sheep export. Animal welfare is a huge concern. People who live in my electorate who are farmers are horrified and shocked by the treatment of animals on the other side of the country. It is sensible that we have a phase-out plan—one that is planned, where we work with producers, farmers and industry to do it properly. Nobody is proposing to stop it tomorrow, but what Labor is proposing and what is in the private member's bill before the House is that it be done in an orderly and effective way, that it be phased out over five years. I urge the government to allow us to debate this bill.

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