UPDATE May 2022: Australia has a new Prime Minister and government following the Federal Election on 21 May. The incoming Labor government, and most of the new and expanded crossbench, have publicly pledged to bring the cruel live sheep export trade to an end. Animals Australia will continue to speak for animals, and with the support of caring Australians, will ensure this hard-won election commitment becomes government policy as soon as possible.
Just over four years ago, the Awassi Express scandal shocked and appalled Australians – and caring people across the world – by revealing the routine suffering Australian sheep are forced to endure in the live sheep export trade.
The political outrage was fierce – not only from within parties long opposed to live export – but from Coalition and Labor MPs too. For the first time in the history of the trade, conservative and progressive MPs alike were ‘calling time’ on this inherently cruel industry.
The ALP went to the 2019 Federal election promising to phase out live sheep export, if elected. And they’re promising to do the same in 2022. Other parties are going further and calling for an end to all live animal export, namely: The Animal Justice Party, The Greens, The Sustainable Australia Party and Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party.
This is one of four key animal welfare reforms on the agenda this election that if supported, would drastically change the status quo for Australian animals:
- phase out live sheep export
- establish an Animal Welfare Commission (formerly known as an Independent Office of Animal Welfare) to among other things, remove decision-making on animal welfare from Departments of Agriculture
- create a Ministerial portfolio and Minister just for animals
- establish a National Animal Welfare Fund (to commit government dollars to improving the treatment of animals)
These policy reforms were put to major parties and key independent candidates. Here’s how the major parties responded: