Here’s why the bill to end live sheep export did not pass.

On 10th September 2018, a landmark bill to end live sheep export passed the Australian Senate... but didn't get through parliament. The reason why should anger every voting Australian. 


PUBLISHED ON: 11 September 2018

That’s right, a majority of Australian Senators voted to bring an end to Australia’s cruellest trade.

This was VERY exciting news – and a huge step forward in the fight to end live sheep exports. Then, just hours later, the Morrison government stepped in and stopped the bill from even being debated in Parliament — effectively turning its back on the vast majority of Australians.



So … what does this mean?

In Australia, getting a bill like this passed is a two-step process. Once the bill passed the Senate, it was sent to the House of Representatives to be voted into law. The only thing stopping this from happening was Scott Morrison’s government. In order for the bill to be passed, the Liberal/National government needed to allow the bill to be brought to a vote in the House of Representatives.

The new Morrison Government refused to do this.

Why? Because they feared that by allowing a vote that some of their own would have ‘crossed the floor’ and voted with the Australian Labor Party and crossbench members to pass the bill — the motion was defeated by a slim margin, 72-70.


So, despite Scott Morrison promising he would govern for the people when he became Prime Minister, his government has prevented this bill from even being brought before the parliament... blatantly disregarding the wishes of most Australians who want live export to end.

What’s next?

While this outcome is disappointing, it’s not entirely unexpected. Events in the weeks leading up to this have led to accusations of a shambolic government and the truth is… it’s hard to predict anything at this point. We’ve been fighting this fight for decades and yesterday was both a huge step forward and a bump in the road for the campaign to end live export cruelty. This is far from over.

To put things in perspective, back in 2011 when another live export bill was voted on in Canberra, only two Members of Parliament – Adam Bandt and Andrew Wilkie – voted in favour of animals. Opposite them in the parliament, casually chatting as if they were deciding on nothing more important than what to have for lunch, sat everyone else.

In stark contrast, this year-- not only was a bill passed in the Senate — we also know that if the government allowed all Members of Parliament a vote on this issue, then those two compassionate politicians would be joined by scores of others.

We are so close to ending this.

With Labor committing to end the live sheep trade if they win the next federal election, yesterday’s events officially make live export a powerful voting issue. 

Animals Australia continues to pursue every avenue to free animals from the extreme, routine suffering of live export — our investigators, legal experts and campaigns team are continuing to work multiple strategies to this end.

This is a long game — it shouldn’t be, but it is. Over the past few months we have hurtled closer towards a day when no animal is subjected to the horrors of live export, and while that day is not today, we are confident that it has never been nearer. Animals need you more than ever -- so please make sure that your MP knows exactly how you feel about this, and remind them that they are paid to represent you …. not the short-sighted and self-serving interests of a few rich export companies that hold animal welfare, the Australian law and the public in contempt.

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