Friday, 12 June 2020
Live Animal Export Trade
The Greens oppose this motion. The live animal export trade is an industry built on cruelty and on so-called standards that guarantee the horrific cruelty and death of thousands of animals. At the moment there isn't even a semblance of oversight on these ships of misery, as independent observers have been taken off the ships because of COVID-19. There's not one bad apple; the whole barrel is rotten. Misery and cruelty are inherent in live animal exports, and the industry has shown time and again that it is incapable of reform. The Liberal-Nationals government continues to ignore the overwhelming community demands to ban live export. The only way to end this cruelty is to shut it down.
This amendment was put to the government only a few minutes ago, on the floor of the Senate, in the middle of formal motions. That means that the government hasn't had proper opportunity to consider this amendment, and we are not in a position to provide leave without having had the internal consultations necessary in relation to this amendment.
The Nationals party strongly supports the live cattle industry, because it supports a strong agricultural industry in northern Australian and thousands of jobs, including for Indigenous Australians. We fought for the industry when the Labor government recklessly banned the trade overnight without proper consideration of its impacts. That is why Nationals senators have welcomed the Federal Court decision to provide compensation for those hurt by Labor's reckless decisions. We have called on the government not to appeal this decision so that after nearly a decade of pain some relief can be given. We note that the government has made no decision on the appeal, and the Attorney-General will attend the Nationals party room next week to further discussions on these matters.
Labor supports the original motion on the basis that it simply notes the federal government's commitment and support for the live animal export trade. Labor also notes that it was a former Labor government that ensured that the live export trade operates on a sustainable footing due to the implementation of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme—
Honourable senators interjecting—
Indeed, the Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader has stated that Australia is the only country in the world with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme in place so that animal welfare is placed front and centre of everything we do. Nationals senators who have put forward this motion should heed the words of their leader to ensure that the live export industry continues to be a world leader with regard to animal welfare and continues to operate on a sustainable basis—meaning that, as new scientific evidence comes to the attention of the live animal export regulator, governments make decisions that ensure the welfare of the animals, as did the former agriculture minister, Senator McKenzie, and the current agriculture minister, Minister Littleproud, who supported the moratorium on live sheep to the Middle East during the northern summer trade from 1 June to mid-September.