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Thursday, 31 May 2018
Page: 5245

Ms HUSAR (Lindsay) (13:13): It's a disgrace that this morning we had this government shutting down and gagging debate in this parliament on such an important issue. The 60 Minutes footage that we all saw shook me to my core, and if it didn't shake those on the opposite side, it should have. I, along with many members of my community, were dismayed to see the animals suffering in such inhumane conditions.

My electorate of Lindsay has spoken up. They've approached me at train stations, at my mobile offices and on their doorsteps when I'm doorknocking, and they have asked me to act. They have asked me what I am going to do about this to make sure it never happens again. There have been thousands and thousands of emails and phone calls. This government gagging the debate today is absolutely disgraceful.

I applaud the courage of the brave whistleblower who brought this inhumane and tragic suffering to light, as well as the ABC and 60 Minutes for their continued exposure of these horrible practices and for their investigative journalism over the last many, many decades.

Australia is the world's largest exporter of sheep and its second-largest producer of lamb. Around 200,000 people are employed in the red meat industry including in on-farm production, processing and retail. The gross value of the lamb and mutton production, including live exports, in 2016-17 is estimated at just under $4 billion. Labor understands the importance of live export and the meat industry.

Mr Wallace interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Fisher.

Ms HUSAR: Jobs and livelihoods rely on the live export sector and this is why we're not calling for an immediate and complete and immediate shutdown of the sector, but we know the welfare of the livestock and success of the export industry are not mutually exclusive. The government needs to do more to make sure that we are ethical in the way that we treat our livestock.

A government member interjecting

Ms HUSAR: Labor has a plan of action, unlike this government who think their plan of action is to shut down debate and interject while a woman is speaking. Labor has a plan of action and our shadow minister for agriculture will succeed where this government continues to fail. This out-of-touch Liberal government is deaf on this matter and simply not doing enough to make sure that what we saw from the Awassi Express does not happen again. Labor plans to work with all those across the sheep and lamb sector to ban live exports throughout the northern summer months to ensure that the safe and humane export of sheep is possible.

Mr Broad interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Mallee.

Ms HUSAR: Labor's plans on increasing our high-value chilled and box export markets to encourage the creation of more Australian jobs in the red meat sector. And we are committed to eventually fully phasing out the live sheep export industry entirely, once the appropriate infrastructure and support are implemented to ensure those who rely on the industry are not left out in the cold.

Mr Broad interjecting

Ms HUSAR: Deputy Speaker, those interjections from those opposite are pathetic, given you all had the opportunity today to debate this down in the House of Reps but you chose to gag the debate.

Mr Wallace interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Fisher

Ms HUSAR: When will this government, an out-of-touch government, show leadership and act on this live sheep export crisis that is not meeting community expectations? This is not just a problem that belongs to the industry, with thousands of sheep deaths, but is the responsibility that falls directly on the shoulder of those opposite. We need real and meaningful action, and the community demands it.

Mr Broad interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Mallee.

Ms HUSAR: Why has this government defunded our regulations from the sector?

Unsurprisingly, the government's agriculture minister has ignored scientific and expert advice from the Australian Veterinary Association, even though he did say that he would follow this advice and the science. Well, the science is in, and this government should be doing more in the wake of the information that was revealed during the TV program and subsequent McCarthy review. This minister and the government must act or we will continue to see sheep suffering inhumane and unspeakable treatment.

I say this to the Turnbull government: the people of my electorate want to see real and meaningful action. And I make this promise: Labor will not ignore the scientific evidence and the expert opinions that are glaringly available to all those who seek them out. We will not ignore the community's expectations or the voices of the thousands of people who continue to be outraged by the treatment. We will fight against the inhumane treatment of Australian livestock. We have a commitment to stopping the northern summer sheep trade at the first opportunity and we will phase out all live sheep exports over time.

This is a matter of ending animal cruelty, whilst also supporting our sheep farmers and those who rely on the red meat sector to be sustainably profitable into the future. The lack of action from this Liberal government makes it clear where they stand on this issue. I implore the Australian people and my community to continue to stand and call for action against this government to send this out-of-touch government a message at the upcoming by-elections and at the next general election because they will not act on this matter. Deputy Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to make my contributions and ask that the unparliamentary remarks made during it are withdrawn.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I didn't hear any unparliamentary remarks. Would anyone like to withdraw any remarks? No. I call the member for Bonner.