Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Live Animal Exports
That the Senate—
(i) the inherent conflict of interest present when animal welfare issues are regulated by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the Department),
(ii) that the Department inappropriately influenced the Review of the Regulatory Capability and Culture of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the Regulation of Live Animal Exports, also known as the 'Moss Review' report,
(iii) that the Department removed words that pointed to its failure in regulating the live export industry and warnings of the risks of corruption, and
(iv) that the Department further outright rejected some of Mr Moss' draft findings, including dismissing one of the review's conclusions on the Department's inability to address livestock mortality as "overly simplistic"; and
(b) condemns the Federal Government for interfering with the Moss Review.
The claims made in this motion are false. Mr Philip Moss himself has rejected any suggestion that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources influenced his report. In a clear public statement he said that he found no evidence of any corrupt conduct. Mr Moss has stated that, if he had found corrupt conduct, he would have said so in his report. The government has accepted the recommendations of the Moss report and is getting on with implementing a range of reforms recommended by Mr Moss to ensure a sustainable live export trade overseen by a capable and competent regulator.
Whilst Labor, too, has concerns as to how the department interacted with the Review of the regulatory capability and culture of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the regulation of live animal exports, undertaken by Mr Philip Moss, Labor cannot support the motion, because the criticism should be directed squarely at the former agriculture minister, the member for New England, and the Liberal-National government, who set out the culture for the department and dismantled processes to address the inherent challenges the department faces, both to promote live animal exports while also regulating live animal exports.
My Senate motion late last year forced the government to release draft versions of the Moss review into the culture of the department of agriculture's regulation of live animal exports. Through this, we have found out that the department did everything in its power to try and weaken the report's recommendations. This is not a regulator interested in animal welfare. It is a regulator interested in defending the cruel live exports industry. Whilst the Moss review was quite rightly deeply critical of the department of agriculture as the regulator of live exports, their level of involvement, even down to the detail of suggesting track changes of the document, is deeply inappropriate. The rot starts at the top, with the minister and with this government. We know this is a government that has zero regard for animal welfare. It's time to ban live exports.