Senate debates

Monday, 16 June 2014

Regulations and Determinations

Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry (Export of Live-stock to Egypt) Repeal Order 2014; Disallowance

9:46 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture) Share this | Hansard source

The first thing I would like to do, particularly for the chamber but for those who are listening to this debate, is dispel the lie perpetrated again by the Greens that the coalition does not care about animal welfare. It is a lie. In fact what should be understood and what should be noted is that Australia is the only country in the world that is doing anything about animal welfare in the live animal export market. Take Australia out of that market and animal welfare standards will go backwards. So let's get that straight: dispel the lie that the Greens continue to put—and we know that they are good at it—that we do not care about animal welfare standards, because it is a lie. I am sick to death of that being perpetrated against the coalition by the Greens.

We have opened these new markets, because it is good for the industry—despite what the Greens might like to say, it is good for the industry. The complete bunkum that the Greens put with respect to the structure of the industry and the opportunities that might exist in the industry demonstrate their complete and utter misunderstanding or, more importantly, ignorance of the industry and the supply chain, particularly in developing countries.

This is a pie-in-the-sky concept that we can just convert other countries to a chilled beef supply chain when there is no refrigeration, no electricity—none of those services are available—and no transportation in some places that will provide the services that are required. It really does show the Greens complete ignorance, and at least Senator Rhiannon had the decency to admit that this is about destroying an industry. At least she had the decency to admit that that was what she was about.

About the only thing the Greens are good at is destroying industry. They are not for anything; they are against stuff. That is their modus operandi—being against things. They do not support anything constructive. The government is proud of reopening these markets, providing alternatives for growers into these export markets. Why is the lamb price in Australia so high at the moment, particularly in Western Australia? It is being supported by the live export market. That is what is underpinning the market, particularly, in Western Australia.

So the Greens come in here with these pie-in-the-sky ideas about how they are going to manage things, yet they have absolutely no idea. At least they are prepared to admit that they are about destruction of a market. We saw what happened when the Greens and the Labor Party got together a couple of years ago and shut down the live export trade.

Senator Rhiannon ought to look at what is happening in Queensland with the drought at the moment where you have got a couple of age classes of animals that should not be there. They should have been exported off to Indonesia but they weren't because the Labor Party and the Greens shut down the industry. What did that do? It left those age classes of animals still in northern Queensland and the Northern Territory, and of course now we have a drought, which has exacerbated the problem.

Debate interrupted.

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