RETIRING Western Australian senator Chris Back has listed efforts to keep the Federal Coalition united against the 2011 live export ban among his livestock industry achievements.
The long-time live export trade supporter has announced his retirement from Federal Parliament and will participate in his last sitting of the Senate next week after eight years of service.
“Labor had believed there would be a significant number in our ranks who would support the ban.
“The fact we did not, ended up placing significant pressure on Labor to re-institute the trade,” he said.
“I developed a raft of policies when in Opposition which we adopted in Government to support the livestock industries in general and live exports in particular.”
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Last month, Senator Back defended the trade against comments made by Australian Greens senator Lee Rhiannon – see video above. Senator Back was also the architect of legislation designed to thwart extended undercover activist campaigns against livestock cruelty.
His Criminal Code Amendment (Animal Protection) Bill 2015 required a person who obtained visual images of what they believe to be malicious cruelty to animals to report it to a responsible authority without delay. It also discourages trespass and interference with lawful animal enterprises and sought to protect livestock workers from intimidation, threats or attacks.
Senator Back yesterday said he had advised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of his intention to retire from the Federal Parliament. Next week will be my last sitting week in the Senate.
“It has been a privilege to represent the people of Western Australia during my eight years in the Australian Senate.
“I thank the members of State Council of the Liberal Party for preselecting me in 2008 and the State community for electing me.”
Senator Back said he has been especially honoured to represent the many groups with which I have had long-term involvement and who have supported him, including: the agricultural and agribusiness community; the resources sector; bushfire and emergency services personnel; education representatives and the equine industry.
“The value of any contribution I may have made was largely due to the quality and timeliness of information shared by the many people in each of these sectors who were willing to trust me with their advice.
“As the first veterinarian elected to the Senate, it has been a special privilege to represent my profession including in the face of deaths of colleagues caused by Hendra virus in Queensland.”
Senator Back said over a 50-year career since commencing veterinary school in 1967, he has placed work ahead of family.
“However my personal circumstances have changed recently and it is now time to redress that imbalance.
“Travel from Western Australia to meet our commitments in the Parliament in Canberra and the heavy workload of Senate and joint committees around the country places a heavy burden on members and senators,’ he said.
“I am no longer in a position to continue this commitment and meet my obligations to my family.”