Live export ban Bill 'dead in the water'
Today’s move by the new Morrison Government to block legislation to phase out long haul live sheep export is a travesty for animal welfare in Australia and a blow for democracy, according to Centre Alliance.
Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, Centre Alliance’s spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said she and her Centre Alliance colleagues were “bitterly disappointed” that the Government had voted down the Animal Export Legislation Amendment (Ending Long-haul Live Sheep Exports) Bill 2018.
“This important piece of legislation made it through the Senate only to fail in the House of Representatives thanks to the votes of those Coalition MPs who didn’t have the courage of their conviction,” Rebekha said.
“This Bill to phase in a ban was a compromise for those who wanted to end live exports immediately and it was all for nothing because the Members for Farrer, Corangamite and La Trobe – despite their past words of support and their involvement in the drafting of this legislation - did not cross the floor to even allow debate.
“I and the rest of Australia were horrified by the 60 Minutes report earlier this year that exposed the cruelty of the long haul industry and the inadequacy of the existing animal protection protections and I know I am not the only MP to have been inundated with phone calls and emails to do something about it, to act.
“To not even be given the opportunity to debate the issue in the Parliament is bitterly disappointing.
“We are employed by our communities to be legislators, and our communities want us to debate this Bill and vote on this Bill and now this Bill is dead in the water.”
Centre Alliance Senators Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff supported the Bill in the Senate today.
Senator Rex said the live export industry had failed for decades to live up to Australia’s animal welfare standards with numerous incidents reported.
“The Australian Government cannot simply sit on its hands and wait for the next incident to occur,” Rex said.
“The transition away from live export is inevitable and it is prudent to prepare for that right now to ensure the best outcome for our farmers.
“This Bill would have offered an appropriate balance, introducing a phase-out over five years with an immediate ban on exports to the Middle East during the northern summer.
“It would allow farmers and the government to put the pillars in place for a transition away from live exports and would be a great opportunity to grow our chilled meat processing industry.”
Rebekha said her electorate of Mayo would have been among the regional communities who would have benefitted from the transition.
“My community wants to see its closed abattoirs, like the one in Normanville, reopened and its existing abattoir expanded,” Rebekha said.
“There are no truer jobs in regional Australia than those in the meat processing industry. They are good, quality jobs. They are stable jobs.
“They don't exist on the north shores of Sydney or in central Melbourne, but they do exist in my community and many of the regional communities.”