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Monday, 20 June 2011
Page: 6580


Ms HALL (ShortlandGovernment Whip) (19:27): This is an issue I have spoken on before in this parliament, and it is an issue that has engaged an enormous number of Australians. In the last speech I made on this issue before this parliament, I quoted Mahatma Gandhi: 'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.' The first part of this motion states that it deplores the inhuman treatment of cattle at some abattoirs in Indonesia, and it noted that it was unacceptable. In the entire time I have been a member of parliament, and that is nearly 13 years, there has never been an issue that people within my electorate and throughout Australia have engaged with me on more. When the Four Corners program finished, within 30 seconds I had three emails from people within my electorate. This just demonstrates how the people of Australia—because I do not think the Shortland electorate is any different from anywhere else in Australia—believe that this is an issue that we as a nation have to resolve.

I think it is also important to state that this resolution that we have before us was introduced in the Senate and was voted down in the Senate. The reason it was voted down, and the reason that it is so important that we address the issues, is that, if we allow live export to recommence to Indonesia at this stage, there are no guarantees in place that the same thing will not happen.

I think it is really important to note that Paul Holmes a Court backs ban on live exports. He has put out a media release. It is also important to note that he is one of the biggest cattle exporters to Indonesia in Australia. He states that there is no way that this live export should start until the issues that were identified in that Four Corners program have been dealt with. He points out that there needs to be a much tighter surveillance system. He also points out that Australian producers currently cannot guarantee that the standards that the industry and Australians would like to see will be met. He also says that the ban should only be lifted—I emphasise that—once we have an independent, auditable system which can allow that to happen. And that does not exist. He says that there needs to be an improved surveillance system to the extent that the National Livestock Identification System can be put in place to track animals in Indonesia.

These are very tangible things that need to happen before the live export of Australian cattle can ever be thought of. Currently we are in a situation where that cannot be guaranteed. Australians demand that animals that leave Australia be treated humanely, and that Four Corners program demonstrated very graphically that Australian cattle were being mistreated. We cannot support that. The motion we have before us today wants that trade to commence immediately to identified abattoirs; but, as I have already pointed out, the tracking system for the safety of the animals cannot be guaranteed. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms K Livermore ): Order! The time allotted for this debate has expired. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting.