Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Live Animal Exports
I inform the chamber that Senator Brown will also be sponsoring this motion and I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 1022 standing in my name and the names of Senators Brown, Faruqi and Storer by deleting paragraphs (a) and (b) and replacing them with new paragraphs (a) and (b) and adding paragraph (c).
I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate—
(a) recognises that the Senate passed the Animal Export Legislation Amendment (Ending Long-haul Live Sheep Exports) Bill 2018 on 10 September 2018, ayes 31; noes 28;
(b) notes that following its passage through the Senate, efforts to bring the same Bill on for debate in 'the other place' failed, ayes 70; noes 72; and
(c) calls on the Government to:
(i) allow government MPs in the 'the other place', including those in the Ministry, to support the procedural motions to bring the Animal Export Legislation Amendment (Ending Long-haul Live Sheep Exports) Bill 2018 on for debate; and
(ii) give their MPs, including those in the Ministry, a conscience vote on this important issue.
I seek leave to make a short statement.
I want to add to this today by saying that, in what I believe was a show of shocking hypocrisy, two vocal supporters of the live exports bill, the member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, and the member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, who were recently elevated to the outer ministry in Prime Minister Morrison's reshuffle, voted against a motion to bring on their own bill for debate. In a joint press statement issued yesterday, both MPs directly contradicted their previous public statements that this issue should not be directed by political considerations and that industry self-regulation would not prevent serious breaches of animal welfare standards on long-haul exports of live sheep.
It is disappointing that the Prime Minister would not allow debate in the House of Representatives on the Animal Export Legislation Amendment (Ending Long-haul Live Sheep Exports) Bill so that the measure passed by the Senate could become law and this inhumane trade could be wound down in an orderly fashion. Disappointing as that was, the point is not to engage in finger-pointing and name-calling but to achieve the result the Senate voted for. Four in five South Australians oppose the live sheep trade, as do three out of four nationwide and seven out of 10 in the country. I support this motion to encourage the Prime Minister to re-think and let all members of the government, including his ministers, have a conscience vote on this matter of great concern to the overwhelming majority of Australians. I will continue to make ending the trade a priority in this place.
The government supports the continuation of a sustainable livestock export trade. The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources is improving animal welfare standards and taking steps to make the trade more accountable for its actions. Any ban of the live sheep trade would unfairly punish producers and rural communities.
Labor supports the motion and strongly urges the Morrison government to allow its members in the other place to be given the opportunity to vote on this matter. As Senator Hinch pointed out, two members in the Morrison government have made their views clear on this matter. The member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, and the member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, have both called for a ban and a phase-out of the live export sheep trade, yet yesterday they chose to vote against the move to bring the bill on for debate. This is a show of unacceptable hypocrisy, especially since the vote was so close—ayes 70, noes 72.
The Morrison government must do the right thing and support the procedural motions to bring the Animal Export Legislation Amendment (Ending Long-haul Live Sheep Exports) Bill 2018 on for debate and give all MPs, including those in the ministry, a conscience vote on this important issue.
The Greens support this motion. It has been co-sponsored by me and my colleagues here. I think what's happening in the other place is absolute hypocrisy when Liberal MPs principally believe strongly in ending live sheep exports and with that the cruelty. What the Prime Minister needs to do is allow a free vote to his MPs so this matter can be debated in the other house. We do know that this bill will pass and will become law. It could become law today or it could become law tomorrow, if the Prime Minister allows a free vote on it. If the Prime Minister and Liberal MPs have any conscience, any compassion for animals, that is exactly what should happen.