16 August 2018

I rise today to speak about the government's abject failure to deal with live sheep exports. This is an issue that hundreds if not thousands of my constituents have contacted me about, expressing their horror at the ongoing torture of live sheep through the export trade. Today I want to add my voice to theirs and ask: when is the government going to act? Malcolm Turnbull said he'd show leadership. He hasn't. He said he'd follow the science on live sheep exports. He hasn't. The science is in. The northern summer sheep trade and animal welfare expectations cannot be reconciled. As the Australian Veterinary Association and the RSPCA have told us, no matter what standards or stocking densities are applied, sheep will continue to suffer in the searing heat on these long summer voyages. For too long we have watched the systemic mistreatment of sheep in the mistaken belief that the live export trade is a natural, acceptable and economically necessary form of agricultural export. It's none of these things.

Unlike the government, Labor has shown leadership on this issue. I'm incredibly pleased that Labor have announced we will phase out live sheep exports. We have also said that we will support a total and immediate ban on the northern summer live sheep trade. Incredibly, the government is refusing to allow the parliament to vote on Labor's proposal. The industry has had plenty of chances to clean up its act, and it's failed. The government has had plenty of chances to properly regulate the industry, and it's failed. I want to thank everyone who's contacted me about this.