Live Export

Government cuts live sheep debate before vote tonight

Terry Sim July 1, 2024

Nationals leader in the Senate Senator Bridget McKenzie defended the live sheep trade during the limited debate today.

LEGISLATION to end live sheep exports by sea was debated in the Senate today, limited by a government ‘guillotine’ motion as a Keep The Sheep delegation arrived in Canberra to lobby key senators.

A vote on the Export Control Amendment (Ending Live Sheep Exports by Sea) Bill 2024 to end live sheep exports by sea trade by 1 May 2028 is now scheduled for 10pm tonight after debate resumes at 6.30pm in the Senate, with the ‘guillotine’ avoiding referral of the bill to  the Senate’s committee stage.

Nationals leader in the Senate Bridget McKenzie today reiterated her party leader David Littleproud’s call this morning to Western Australian senators to oppose the passing of the bill, reiterating any future Coalition government will overturn it.

Nationals Leader David Littleproud this morning called for Labor Senator Fatima Payman to cross the floor and save the live sheep export industry and Senator McKenzie called on Ms Payman to vote for the food security of the Middle East.

“Senator Payman, sheep are now a humanitarian issue.

“Farmers want to keep providing quality sheep to the Middle East and the Middle East in turn wants our sheep because they know our sheep are the best quality,” she said.

Senator McKenzie said urged the Labor senator and other senators to meet with members of the Keep The Sheep delegation and peak sheep and farmer bodies.

Senator McKenzie said she was proud to oppose the bill that aims to shut down “a world-class industry” delivering culturally appropriate protein to the Middle East.

“An industry that is leading the world in animal welfare standards and indeed when it is closed, will see the animal welfare standards drop across the world.”

She said the legislation is ideologically-driven to win votes in east coast seats “and it is west coast farmers and communities that are paying the price for your political ineptitude.”

Senator McKenzie said impact of the bill will be felt throughout regional Western Australia, with flow-on effects to the eastern states.

“Labor’s policy top shut down the live sheep export industry fails to acknowledge the importance of the sector, the supply chain of people and families, our trading partners in the Middle East that rely on this industry to ensure that families in far away places have culturally appropriate protein to be able to eat.”

Senator McKenzie said the Keep The Sheep campaign had raised more than $400,000 to overturn the trade ban, and coming after Labor marginal seats in Western Australia to change the Federal Government at the next election.

“Because it is not in the national interests to shut this industry just to get votes against Greens in inner-city east coast capitals.”

Senator McKenzie said the guillotining of debate on the bill was shutting down WA senators, Coalition Senators from having a say on the issue.

“You’re actually shutting their business down and you’re not even giving them the respect to come and have their say, and it wouldn’t cost you anything.

“Because your legislation will still pass, you’ve got the deal with the Greens, legislation still passes, it’s going to be phased out, but you can’t even spend a couple of months giving the men and women, and the children in regional WA the courtesy of respect of having their issues bought to the floor of the Senate and considered in a public forum.

“Because it suits you, it suits you to deride this industry, it suits you to say that farmers don’t have a social licence to produce food – you won an election, it doesn’t make you God.”

Today will be a win – Greens Senator Faruqi

Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi celebrated the advent of the bill to end the trade that has been facilitated by governments for decades.

“It has taken too long, but today will be a win, and this win belongs to the brave whistleblowers, to the determined animal welfare organisations, to animal advocates and activists and the Greens who have fought tooth and nail for this inherently cruel and morally bankrupt live sheep trade to be shut down for good, once and for all.

“Today marks a pivotal moment in the fight for animal welfare and I want to congratulate everyone in the community who joined tireless campaigns and the tieless fights to shut dpown live sheep export,” she said.

“Too many animals have died and too many have suffered on these ships of misery for decades upon decades.

“Sheep which have been treated as cargo, not as the living breathing sentient beings that they are, have suffered for far too long,” Senator Faruqi said.

Nationals plea to Senator Payman

Sheep Central has asked Senator Payman for her position on the live sheep legislation and trade, but is yet to get a response.

However, Mr Littleproud’s office highlighted Senator Payman’s recent announcement that she would cross the floor again on the Israel-Palestine recognition issue, declaring over the weekend, “If the recognition on the state of Palestine was to be brought forward tomorrow, I would cross the floor”.

Mr Littleproud said Senator Payman should understand the importance of the live sheep export trade to the people of Palestine and the broader Middle East.

“Australia’s live sheep exports aren’t just culturally important, they are also a food security issue in Gaza,” Mr Littleproud said.

Mr Littleproud’s office said the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization and the Qatar Red Crescent Society have donated thousands of Australian sheep from Western Australia, processed in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, to the people in Gaza for Eid Al Adha (Qurban) this year as part of their humanitarian efforts.

These sheep were originally born, bred, and raised in Western Australia. They were transported live by a high-standard livestock carrier from Fremantle, Western Australia, to the Aqaba port in Jordan. The processing took place in Jordan at a facility approved by the Australian Government, ensuring high animal welfare standards.

“If Senator Payman feels so strongly about recognising Palestine then she would also feel strongly about their food security,” Mr Littleproud said.

The Nationals leader said it is arrogant of Australia to suggest countries such as Jordon should process their sheep in a different way or that people in Gaza should simply find another way to eat.

“Senator Payman, in support of the culture she knows and supports, should feel she has every right to cross the floor on this issue.”

Mr Littleproud and Senator McKenzie urged Senator Payman to meet with the Keep the Sheep delegation.

“Senator Payman has the chance to meet with groups including Keep the Sheep, Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, Sheep Producers Australia, WA Shearing, Wool Producers and WAFarmers and the Livestock Collective,” he said.

“Labor MPs should vote for common sense and for a trade that is crucial to our economy, as well as food security overseas.”

PGA condemns WA Labor senators

The Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia today condemned WA Labor senators for failing to stand up for regional WA.

“It is appalling that the five Labor senators in WA have refused to listen to their regional constituents and vote against the Government’s Bill to end the live sheep trade,” PGA president Tony Seabrook said.

“Since the Bill was introduced five weeks ago, thousands of Western Australian farmers, transporters, stock agents, small businesses, and members of the public from regional and metro Western Australia have thrown their support behind keeping live sheep exports, including the Labor Premier of Western Australia – Roger Cook,” he said.

“Yet our five Labor Senators have refused to stand up to the Prime Minister and defend what is a viable and important trade that provides jobs and supports many regional families and communities across Western Australia.

“Senators are elected to represent the interests of all Western Australians, whether they reside in Perth or in the bush,” he said.

“They are certainly not elected to represent the interests of East Coast inner city elites who have no understanding or consideration of the impact that banning live sheep exports will have on regional communities throughout Western Australia.

“It is disappointing that our elected representatives are more interested in ensuring they remain in the Labor caucus rather than standing up for Western Australia.”

Keep the Sheep campaigner Ben Sutherland said senators had the chance to save the livelihoods of 3000 people and a trade which has the world’s best animal welfare standards.

Mr Sutherland said the trade was imperative, not just for Western Australia but also for Australia’s trade and economy, which made the visit to the east coast crucial.

“We are in Canberra asking Senators to support our trade, to keep our rural businesses and communities going and to keep farmers farming as the live sheep phase out Bill is tabled and likely voted on in the Senate today.

“We are also warning that banning live sheep will lead to banning live cattle next,” Mr Sutherland said.


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  1. Lyn Smith, July 2, 2024

    Where has democracy gone? Labor has no idea how to manage the taxpayers’ money. One hell of a week. The ban on sheep exports will leave families on million dollar farms with millions of sheep and their staff unemployed and feeding live stock. Wow.
    On Wednesday our government shut down all vape shops by Sunday. Chemist and doctors uninformed My doctor doesn’t have any idea how to write the prescription and pharmacists have no idea when they will get stock.
    Chemists don’t want tobacco products and farmers want to sell their sheep. What happens next? Thousands are now unemployed. Mortgage payments that can’t be made and families that can’t eat. We the people don’t get a say. Democracy is every Australian should have the opportunity to vote on the things that greatly affect our lives. 1200 houses needed to be built while we have record highs in immigration. Unemployment will be a lot worse after this week and the black market is thriving thanks to the Labor Government.

  2. David Griggs, July 1, 2024

    As a sheep producer from another state, it is staggering to read the absurd comments coming from politicians to get votes. Everyone else has moved away from this trade. Go and talk to sheep producers in other states who have got runs on the board in this matter. I would challenge politicians to travel on a livestock ship before making uninformed comments.

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