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Thursday, 18 August 2011
Page: 8528

Mr BANDT (Melbourne) (09:34): In conclusion, the Greens took a position to this election, as we have to other elections, to end the live export trade. We did so because we have known for many years what many campaigners and many members of the public have also known for many years—that is, that the live animal export trade is not a trade that we can defend ethically, it is not a sustainable trade and it is not a trade that delivers bang for the buck to the Australian economy that domestic meat processing would. Now, thanks to the fantastic, continued and tireless work of campaigners like Lyn White, the RSPCA and Animals Australia, many more people know what a number of us have known for years—that is, that the boats that take animals overseas for killing in ways that we cannot control are shiploads of cruelty.

We know that tens of thousands of these animals die in transit. We have seen a graphic reminder of what happens to over 60,000 animals when they are stuck dockside and stranded. I must say too that I spent my university years in Fremantle where one could see on a regular basis the shiploads of sheep and other animals sitting on the dockside and the stench that wafted over the whole of the town as they were stuck there—

An incident having occurred in the chamber

Mr BANDT: I did get a motion passed yesterday for a 10 per cent energy efficiency cut, but I did not realise it would be implemented quite so quickly!

Honourable members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! The member for Melbourne has the call and those members that are conducting conversations out of their places should either return to their places or conduct their conversations outside the chamber.

Mr BANDT: One of the things that became very clear to me and many others as we could see the truckloads of animals being taken down to be loaded on the docks was that these animals were not in for a humane end to their lives. ne of the things we can also be in no doubt about, either as a parliament or as an Australian people, is that we cannot control how animals are killed in other countries. The basic standard that applies here in Australia of stunning animals before they are killed may not be applied universally, much to the chagrin of many, but it is the basic standard. It is to the government's shame that not even the basic standard of stunning an animal before it was killed was insisted upon when resuming the live export trade.

If we do not stun animals before we kill them, we know that they can be alive for many minutes before they finally die. It is fanciful to believe that we can somehow control the way in which every animal is killed in abattoirs in other countries. We are not going to be able to have an Australian government inspector standing by watching the slaughter of every animal. The way we can exercise maximum control over how animals are killed is by having the processing done domestically. We know that processing animals domestically will mean a 20 per cent greater return to the Australian economy than exporting them.

The member for Denison has also presented a bill and I will be supporting that because I think it is better than the status quo. But if we think it is cruel to kill animals in this way and if we think it is going to have a better return to the Australian economy then we should be ending the trade now, not in three years time. We should not allow three more years of this cruel practice to continue.

I have been inundated with messages of support since bringing Greens policies to this place. It is extraordinarily disappointing that we are about to have a vote where Labor and the coalition will vote together without offering any solution of their own as to how to ensure humane slaughtering of animals. In doing that not only are they continuing an unethical and unsustainable practice but they are also thumbing their nose at public opinion. Every opinion poll and every member of this parliament would agree that the strong outpouring of public support has been in favour of ending live exports. To all those people who have contacted my office and contacted the offices of other members in this place, who are here in the gallery today, who have been campaigning for many years, my message to all of you is to keep it up. Despite the darkness in this chamber right now, you have shone a spotlight on this issue that will not be removed.

For our part, the Greens will keep up the campaign here and elsewhere to end this trade. We currently have an inquiry in the Senate into our bill to ban live exports. We will await the outcome of that Senate inquiry with great interest. We will return to this place during the life of this parliament to continue to press this issue. I commend the bill to the House. I would hope that those members from both sides who have spoken up against this cruel practice over recent months will be able to support me and the member for Denison in supporting this bill.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The question is that this bill be now read a second time.

A division having been called and the bells having been rung—

The SPEAKER: As there are fewer than five members on the side for the ayes in this division, I declare the question negatived in accordance with standing order 127. The names of those members who are in the minority will be recorded in the Votes and Proceedings.

Question negatived, Mr Bandt and Mr Wilkie voting aye.

The SPEAKER: I indicate to the member for Melbourne that I am not sure that the mood lighting in the chamber is as a result of his successful motion yesterday. I would like to believe that the parliamentary administration has immediately stepped in, but I am not sure that that is the case.