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Monday, 4 July 2011
Page: 7406

Mr HAASE (Durack) (20:36): What a wonderful opportunity it is to bring back a sense of rationality to this House. This proposition, put to us by the member for Melbourne, would have us believe that all animals bred for food production should somehow be kept alive because Australians will be appalled to know that they are slaughtered before they are eaten. There is so much ill-informed nonsense being spruiked by this member that it is difficult to contain one's incredulity. There is simply no basis for the statements he makes, unless one concedes that we should not eat animals. If that is the argument, why doesn't the member come to this place and declare that he is vegan and wants all Australians to be vegan and for there not to be a livestock production industry.

There is no way that one can espouse a point of view in this House that says that we should breed animals for slaughter but that they should not be slaughtered. What this member does not realise is that the majority of viewing Australians, were they to sight videos of abattoirs in Australia, would be horrified. They did not realise that meat did not come from a packaging factory called Coles and Woolworths. They thought that it was somehow mysteriously presented to their refrigerator without it ever having been alive. They were suddenly reminded five weeks ago that those things that we eat were once alive. It came as a great shock.

Can I bring a great shock to the member for Melbourne? There are whole families, whole communities and whole industries around the world dependent upon live animal exports from Australia. If we are going to be part of livestock production, we first need to face up to the fact that those animals are being produced as a food source for Australians and for the world. To suggest that the actions of the likes of the RSPCA, Animals Australia, Pew, PETA and other high-flying organisations, whose institutions depend on donations from the public, are not self-interested in receiving those donations to maximise their executive salaries is to be blind to reality.

I am talking about hard-working Australians, who have created their livelihoods in inhospitable circumstances to develop an industry, paying an umbrella group to develop a marketing system with our nearest relation, Indonesia, over a period of 15 years or more to the point where Australian northern pastoral regions now have a purpose. They can breed Bos indicus cattle well, which are not suited to southern climes. Bos taurus are not suited to export to Indonesia, quite frankly, because they do not sweat. We now have a purpose for those pastoral lands. There is no other purpose as they are not able to be cleared for agriculture. The only thing that can be done is the raising of Bos indicus cattle for export. If we cannot do that, on the basis that those cattle are going to be killed for consumption, for that reason alone it is just an absolute nonsense. It is the sort of stuff you would expect from wet-behind-the-ears schoolboys. If we are going to come into this House and have the livelihood of thousands of Australians and the economy affected by the loss of billions of dollars because of some fanciful minority group having sway in this place, then it is a sad day for democracy. Australians, and hardworking Australians especially in my patch of Durack, deserve better treatment than that.

Until such time as this government realises what they have done most recently to attempt to destroy this industry permanently and the Prime Minister, in league with Kevin Rudd if necessary, goes to Indonesia with cap in hand, tugs the forelock and says, 'We are sorry we insulted your nation intern­ationally,' and gives a genuine apology, we will not see the recommencement of this industry, and we will continue to see real hardworking Australians suffer unnecess­arily.