Speaking to the media today Malcolm Turnbull claimed Labor was playing politics with the Government’s Export Legislation Amendment (Live-Stock) Bill 2018 which will increase penalties for breaches of animal welfare standards in the live export sector.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
When asked why his Government has pulled its own Bill, the Prime Minister replied:
“We want to get it passed, and surely the Labor Party will recognise the calls, both whether it is from the Farmers’ Federation or from the RSPCA, to support the passage of the Bill. They are very good amendments, I think the Minister, David Littleproud has handled it very well, based on the best veterinary advice. And the Bill should be passed in its current form, without this political tactical exercises seeking to amend it.”
The RSPCA has rejected the Prime Minister’s assertion. I’ll let the NFF speak for itself.
Labor supports the Bill, it can do no harm. But increasing penalties which are never applied will not change the settled science on heat stress and associated issues in the live sheep trade.
Labor’s amendments replicate those contained in Sussan Ley’s Private Member’s Bill. They offer something better; an immediate end to the tortuous northern summer trade and the phase out of the balance of the sheep trade within five years.
If the Prime Minister is so confident the phase out is not the will of the Parliament, why not allow his Bill to be further debated and voted on?
If Labor’s amendments fail, we’ll accept the will of the Parliament, as currently constituted, and vote for the unamended Bill. We could do it today.
Malcolm Turnbull accuses Labor of playing politics but the reality is, he’s putting his own political internals before the will of the Parliament and the expectations of the overwhelming majority of Australians.