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Monday, 20 August 2018
Page: 7899

Mr GEORGANAS (Hindmarsh) (18:29): I'm very proud to be joining with other colleagues in this place to support this private member's bill, the Live Sheep Long Haul Export Prohibition Bill 2018. As I've said in this place many times, for too long we've been witnessing the mistreatment of our animals through the live export trade. It's not just and it's not necessary, and it should never be acceptable. In a nation like Australia, where we're proud of the treatment of our animals, to see the images that we've seen on our TVs—in all sorts of documentaries and in current affairs—and in newspaper reports is unacceptable. The cruelty to these animals should not be happening.

Opposing live exports has not always been the popular thing in this place. Nevertheless, like other members here, I've stuck by my values. I've spoken many times on the issues for many, many years. I've advocated for a ban for over a decade on this particular topic. I've attended rallies and made many speeches in this place—and private members' bills and private members' motions. This atrocity has always had the potential, though, to become a success story for our animals and our Australian workers. I have to say, when we talk about decimating industries, at the Gepps Cross meatworks throughout the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s there were nearly 2,000 workers working within an industry just on the outskirts of Adelaide—let alone all around Australia. We decimated that industry and put people out of work by exporting live animals.

As a representative of a community, I've led this fight for a change for many years. Labor is committed to seeing a transition out of the trade and ending the live sheep exports. We've listened to the Australian public and to calls from concerned Australians and live exporters. Even farmers have called my office and spoken with me and told me that they do not want to see the inhumane treatment of their animals. As I said, I'm proud to have opposed live animal exports and have been part of this movement for well over a decade. I'll continue to do so and I'll continue to advocate for this important change to happen as quickly as possible—ending the atrocities and cruelty to these poor animals.

We all saw the footage on TV of those sheep trampled, dying of thirst and dying of diseases. It is just not right. It's clear that the northern summer sheep trade and animal welfare expectations cannot be reconciled. No matter what the standards or stocking densities, sheep will continue to suffer in that searing heat. We didn't need a review to tell us this. All you have to do is look at that footage on TV and it tells you right there and then, and we seen plenty of that sort of footage. No doubt, if we don't stop this cruel trade, we'll see more images on our TVs.

We know there are large parts of the industry that support the transition away. Labor will stop the summer trade at the first opportunity. We have to be able to phase out the balance of the trade over time and impose the high standards recommended during the transition period. When we look at nations across the world, we see, for example, that New Zealand has been able to phase out its live export, and New Zealand exports far more meat around the world than we do. It manages to have a market, and it does so in a humane way. It does so in a way that treats animals properly, and in a way that doesn't lower its standards by being inhumane to animals. It does so in a way which value-adds to the industry, which we could do here as well. It value-adds to its workforce—creating jobs and creating other industries and businesses here onshore. It ensures that it has control over the meat that does leave the country, and it's doing quite well out of it. New Zealand is doing quite well out of it. And in the last couple of months we saw other nations in South America planning to go exactly that same way.

We had a great industry. As I said, in South Australia, in Gepps Cross, many, many people worked in the abattoirs. That's all decimated not just in South Australia but across the country, costing thousands of jobs. We could re-create that. We could do that again, and we could do it in a way that ensures that we stop the trade, stop the cruelty, stop the inhumane practice, and we create jobs here for people who are looking for work—workers who will work in these places—and create an industry right here onshore. This is an industry that we could absolutely value-add to.

Opposing live exports, as I said, has not always been a popular choice but, nevertheless, many members, like the member for Farrer and others on my side, have stuck with our values and the decision that it is cruel and inhumane.

Federation Chamber adjourned at 18:35