A closeup of a sheep

Who's standing up for animals this Federal election?

Every election can be a catalyst for change for animals and that's especially the case this year - because this year’s Federal election will also decide the future of the live sheep export trade.
Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 9 May 2022

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:

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This scorecard was produced by the Australian Alliance for Animals – a new collaborative organisation of which Animals Australia is a founding member. Their remit is to progress legislative reform for animals in Australia and break through the regulatory capture that has impeded change for animals for far too long. Head here to download this scorecard or view others that have been produced for individual electorates.

What about Independent candidates?

There are also many independent candidates running this election who have animal-friendly policies – including supporting an end to the live sheep export trade. See where key independents stand on animal welfare in the electorates of WentworthWarringah, Clark, Goldstein, Mackellar, Indi, Kooyong, and Flinders.

Where do your local candidates stand on animal welfare?

Don’t see your local electorate or candidates among these scorecards?  Send an email to your local candidate to seek their views on animal welfare reform or ask if they will support a phase out of live sheep export. You can find your local candidate here. Just click on your electorate then scroll down to see who the candidates are –  you’ll find a link to their website and contact details.  

What does ‘partial support’ or an ‘amber tick’ mean?

It means the party or candidate support the intent of the policy, with some detail yet to be determined. For example, the ALP will end the live sheep export trade but want to consult on the timeline for a phase out. Here’s their full animal welfare policy. They also support independent representation for animals at a senior government but have fallen short of committing to a Ministerial portfolio.

Why do animals need a National Commission for Animal Welfare?

There’s a real issue with our current laws – and the system, charged with the responsibility to protect the safety and well being of animals and ensure their welfare, is broken – animal welfare is all too often compromised by industry and profit.

A National Commission for Animal Welfare will give all animals, including farmed animals like pigs, chickens and sheep, a voice at a senior level of government,  finally giving them the independent representation they deserve. Find out more about why we need it, and just how much a National Commission for Animal Welfare will help animals, here.

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Three piglets

All animals deserve kindness

Whatever happens on May 21, it’s clear that there are many politicians and aspiring politicians who understand just how much Australians care about animals.

And that’s thanks to the work of compassionate Australians between elections – in keeping issues like live export and factory farming squarely on the political agenda. It’s these tireless efforts that have helped put animals on the election agenda too.

Of course, we don’t have to wait for election cycles to roll around – we can each cast a vote for kindness all year round. Check out our 5 Minute Guide to Compassionate Living to see how you can be a hero for animals, every single day.

VIEW COMPASSIONATE LIVING GUIDE

Authorised by G Oogjes, Animals Australia, 37 O’Connell Street, North Melbourne, VIC 3051