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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 3288


Mr BROAD (Mallee) (15:54): Humanity makes a pact with animals. We raise them, we treat them humanely, we kill them in the least painful way we can and we eat them. The lessons of human health tell us that, when the pilgrims came to the Massachusetts colony in the Mayflower in 1620, they drastically increased their red meat protein and, within three generations, life expectancy had increased by 20 years, and the height of the population had increased by 20 centimetres. Red meat protein plays a very significant role.

What we have here is the same old Labor. We need to go back to our history. In 1974, 40,000 dairy cattle and beef cattle were shot and put into pits, subsidised by the Whitlam government. In 1992, when the Keating government was there, I as a 17-year-old—because my father couldn't bring himself to do it—had to shoot sheep because we couldn't get anything for them. The markets had collapsed. The live trade has come along and has underpinned that marketplace. If you want to see a broken farmer, if you want to see someone who actually sees the futile waste—he said to me: 'Can't we give these away? Can't somebody take these? Isn't there a market somewhere that will take these?' Well, there was, and it has become a market for us.

We supply 80 per cent of the red meat needs for the country of Bahrain through live exports. When there were some restrictions, in Bahrain they did not stop buying sheep; they bought them from another country. If you run true to the principle that the welfare of animals is of great concern to Australia, that also means the welfare of animals from other countries. One of the great things that I have found, having looked at the live export industry, is that, when we participate in this trade, we lift animal welfare standards globally. We lift animal welfare standards in countries that we need to develop good working relationships with. When I was in Indonesia in 2014, I visited the largest receiver of Australian live cattle and they said to me: 'Can you guarantee that no government is going to shut down this trade? If you can, we will continue the further investment into better animal welfare practices and newer facilities.'

The contrast between our side of parliament and the other side of parliament is that we know that a phased shutdown stops investment. A phased shutdown stops investment in better ships, in better processing, in the transition to better animal welfare. This is the contrast. The Labor Party chooses to take away some of the market opportunities for Australian farmers, take away some of that investment in animal welfare. It is proving to be the same old, same old Labor—40,000 cattle under the Whitlam government, thousands of cattle under the Keating government and cattle under the Gillard government. This just goes to prove that, if you trust Labor to look after animal welfare, it ultimately translates to perverse effects.

We believe that people in other countries deserve to have access to food. We believe that in other countries they deserve to trust us that we will honour long-term contracts. The great thing that we learned out of the 2012 shutdown by the Gillard government was that they were prepared to break that nexus of long-term contracts because of a reaction to a TV program.

My table grape growers—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr BROAD: Listen to this, because you'll find this interesting—still have trouble getting market access in Indonesia because of the way we treated that market. So this principle does not just run through to the live animal husbandry and live export industry; this actually runs through to all our agricultural industries. That is to say: we believe our customers have a right to food; we are going to provide that food for them; we are going to ensure, wherever possible, we can lift the standard. We want to ensure that we are consistent with our values, but we believe that markets should stay open.