Today we have 60,000 live sheep stuck in the supply chain and people everywhere are asking, where does the Turnbull Government stand on the live sheep trade?
They say they support it but they seem to be killing it in a slow and painful way which is making animal welfare standards worse and is certainly bad for farmers. Now Labor has been consistent. We want to phase out the live sheep trade but we want to do so in a way which does no harm to sheep meat producers. We want to help them on a transition to something better, to value adding and creating jobs here in Australia. But the Turnbull Government has no plan for our farmers and when it cuts off the supply chain so quickly and without warning, it does harm both to farmers and harm to animal welfare. I saw the Deputy Prime Minister this morning talking about ESCAS. ESCAS is the assurance system put in place by a Labor Government but ESCAS does not cover the supply chain on the voyage or up to the voyage. This is about ASEL, a different regulatory regime that should have been reviewed three years ago but wasn’t reviewed because of this Government.
Everything Barnaby Joyce did as a Minister was condoned by this Prime Minister. What this Prime Minister needs to do now is allow the Parliament to express its will on the live sheep trade. We have the penalties Bill which was urgent but appears not so urgent now. It could come into the House of Representatives this week and be voted on. I will be moving my amendment to phase out the trade and the Prime Minister should allow that Bill to come on and let Members vote on my amendment. If the amendment fails, we will pass the penalties Bill. There is also the Sussan Ley Bill and the Bill sponsored by Derryn Hinch in the Senate. There are plenty of opportunity for the Prime Minister to allow MPs and Senators to express their view on the live sheep trade and this week they should be given that opportunity.