Labor's Position on Key Issues

Live Exports

December 19, 2018

Labor Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon, spoke about the matter in Parliament on October 18.

 Mr Fitzgibbon told the House:-

 “Today we have new reports of animal cruelty both inside and outside supply chains, and as usual the Deputy. Prime Minister has responded through a spokesperson. The sector needs more than a minister who runs to the cameras when there is good news but hides when there is bad news. A robust response is needed”

In government, Labor implemented the Export Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) – a regulatory regime that forces exporters to show they have a plan to treat animals humanely and provides monitoring and auditing all the way from port to abattoir. The industry has trained over 7,500 people in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe in approved animal welfare practices.

 Protecting animal welfare and boosting agricultural profitability aren’t competing aims – they support one another. The growing demand for high quality food produced in an ethical way means Australia’s agricultural producers must embrace the highest animal welfare standards to stay internationally competitive.

 When last in government, Labor put in place a comprehensive animal welfare strategy and took a lead role in coordinating this through the Australian Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and the Standing Council on Primary Industries (SCoPI). Since coming to office, the Abbott-Turnbull Government has abolished both the advisory committee and the SCoPI. Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce has also washed his hands of delivering the animal welfare strategy, instead shifting responsibility for this to an external industry body. This has left a vacuum of leadership and direction when it comes to protecting and improving animal welfare in this country.

 Ahead of the 2016 Federal Election, Labor released a six point strategy:

  • Labor committed to a review of the ESCAS regulatory framework– including its sanctions – to determine whether it is working as effectively as it needs to in order to balance a strong live export industry with protecting animal welfare.
  • Labor also committed to appoint an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare, who would have responsibility for overseeing the implementation of laws concerning live export, investigating alleged breaches of them, and providing independent advice to the Federal Government on reforms where the need for these arises.
  • One of the key tasks of the Inspector-General would be to work with the States and Territories to establish an Office of Animal Welfare to provide independent, rigorous regulatory oversight of animal welfare in Australia.
  • Renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy.
  • Provide more transparency and accountability.
  • Ban animal testing for cosmetics within Australia and the importation or sale of new products tested on animals overseas.Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and the Turnbull Government have refused to commit to any of these important steps to further improving raising animal welfare standards in the live export industry.

 Labor will continue to argue the case for their adoption of our policies.

Please feel free to lobby the Morrison Government MPs who have spoken out against animal cruelty and must now stand by their convictions by helping us get the Bill through the Parliament.

You might start with the Members for Farrer, Sussan Ley, [email protected] and the Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, [email protected] who have been the most outspoken.