SUBJECTS: Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government appalling record on animal welfare; Ley and Henderson backflip on live sheep export trade.
JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, FORESTRY AND RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA: The Abbott-Turnbull- Morrison Government’s record on animal welfare is appalling. They abolished the Inspector General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports; they abolished the National Animal Welfare Strategy; they abolished the animal welfare unit in the Department of Agriculture; they abolished the CoAG Committee that deals with animal welfare issues; and they sent a clear signal to the regulator in the live export trade that “there is nothing to see here” and they should take a light touch approach. Now yesterday we gave the House of Representatives the opportunity to phase out the live export trade and the Morrison Government failed the test. In particular, Sussan Ley, Sarah Henderson and their colleagues reneged, back-flipped, on their commitment to vote with us to phase out the live sheep trade. Sussan Ley and Sarah Henderson, when introducing their Private Members Bill to give effect to a phase out, gave very very good and impassioned speeches. They talked about the horrors of this trade and they said there were no other choices but to ban it and they said the quicker it happened, the better off we would all be. The overwhelming majority of Australians now want this live sheep export trade phased out. There can be no question about that. And Sussan Ley and Sarah Henderson and Jason Wood gave up their convictions yesterday, they took their 30 pieces of silver, they took their junior woodchuck promotions into the most junior positions in the ministry, they put those promotions ahead of the welfare of animals and, of course, ahead of the view of the Australian community. They should stand up, stand by their convictions, return to their original positions and join Labor in voting for the phase out of this trade. It is very clear now there is only one way to phase out the live sheep export trade and that is to elect a Shorten Labor Government. And there is only one way to restore government accountability and public accountability on animal welfare issues more generally and that is to elect a Shorten Labor Government. Thank you.