The Commonwealth Government’s decision not to appeal a Federal Court ruling which found a ban on live exports to Indonesia in 2011 to be illegal, has been described as common sense by the Nationals Senate team.
Attorney General Christian Porter confirmed on Wednesday night that the government would not appeal Justice Steven Rares’ decision in a case involving the Brett Cattle Company and then Labor Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig.
In 2011, the Federal Government overnight suspended all live cattle exports to Indonesia after the airing of an ABC TV Four Corners program, which exposed animal cruelty in overseas abattoirs.
The ban imposed by then Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig devastated the industry, resulting in a class action by cattle producers seeking $600 million in compensation from the Federal Government.
Justice Rares found then Senator Ludwig had committed misfeasance in public office when he made the ban order.
“The Nationals see the decision by Justice Rares as vindication of the argument we have put forward since 2011 on behalf of our live export industry and regional communities it supports,” Nationals Senate Leader Bridget McKenzie said.
“It was The National Party in 2011 who really fought the Labor Party’s decision which decimated this important billion-dollar industry.”
Queensland Senator Matt Canavan said the 2011 ban had caused enormous, unnecessary pain.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Senator Canavan said.
“People in the live cattle industry have been waiting nine long years for justice.
“I welcome confirmation the Liberal and Nationals Government will not jeopardise the outcome they have won in this case.”
Queensland Senator Susan McDonald said it was impossible to put into words the hardship people suffered as a result of the ban.
“A very reckless Labor government banned the live cattle trade overnight with no consultation and we saw family farms and regional communities severely impacted for many, many years, not just economically but socially,” Senator McDonald said.
NT Senator Sam McMahon said Labor’s 2011 live export ban served as a reminder of what to expect from any Labor Government.
“The economy of the Northern Territory is deeply dependent upon the live cattle export industry
“It is positive to see this Coalition government is ending this costly, drawn out saga so this industry can focus on doing what it does best – create jobs and boost the economy,” Senator McMahon said.
NSW Senator Perin Davey said the role of government was to support industry not ban it.
“This issue has been in and out of court rooms for far too long. Those impacted by the reckless live cattle ban finally have the issue brought to an end,” Senator Davey said.
“Live export is not just a northern industry but a national one, we must ensure its ongoing security.”