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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3505

Live Animal Exports

Mr WILKIE (Denison) (14:17): My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister you have repeatedly ruled out ending live exports despite repeated revelations of systemic cruelty. Prime Minister, if you will not end the trade, will you give an unambiguous guarantee that there will be no further animal welfare abuses like this image that I have here.

The SPEAKER: The member for Denison will stop with the props. The member for Denison will remove the prop.

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:18): To the member for Denison's question, I think all members of this House and members of the Australian community in general are appalled by animal cruelty. We all share those sentiments. To the extent that we ever see images of animal cruelty, we are all revulsed by those images. I understand that, and the live animal export industry understand that as well.

We have worked with industry, once animal cruelty came to light—most particularly on a Four Corners program. It became clear to me at that point that this industry, which is important for jobs, particularly in the north of Australia, was one where self-regulation was not working. I formed the view that if we did nothing it would become inevitable that Australian people would withdraw the social licence to this industry, and the industry would be no more.

We have worked with industry to put it on a sustainable footing and also to ensure that there are tracking and tracing systems for where animals from Australia are exported to, and the circumstances in which they are then dealt with in countries to which they are exported. We did that following a review led by Bill Farmer, and we have implemented the measures.

To the member for Denison's question and his request for a personal guarantee from me, I think the member for Denison, like other members, would understand that as a matter of common sense we regulate many aspects of life in many aspects of business. We have road rules to regulate conduct on the road; we have our taxation system and the rules associated with it to regulate tax. Overwhelmingly, people do the right thing. There are times when people do not do the right thing and the purpose of having regulation and then having tracking and tracing is so that you can find instances where people have done the wrong thing and you can act on those instances. That is the approach we are taking to the live animal export industry, and the approach that we will continue to take.