Credit: Edgar's Mission
Two sheep in a grassy field touch their heads together affectionately.

Labor’s election win marks a historic moment for animals.

What does the 2022 election result mean for animals in Australia?

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated May 25, 2022

As of 21 May 2022, Australia has a new Prime Minister and government. While the Labor party’s win means something different to each of us, for animals, this election result is an extraordinary marker of positive change.  

By keeping issues like live export and factory farming squarely on the political agenda, compassionate Australians helped put animals on the election agenda too. 

And our collective voice for animals has been heard.

Major animal welfare reforms have not only been embraced by the new government, but the vast majority of the new and expanded crossbench endorse a kinder and more compassionate Australia for animals. The Senate is also shaping up to be the most animal-friendly we have ever seen. Never before in Australia’s political history have so many incoming MPs made such significant commitments for animals.

Cruel live sheep export will end

The Labor Government has publicly pledged to bring the cruel live sheep export trade to an end. Such an announcement is cause for celebration for the gentle and sensitive sheep who deserve protection from this inherently cruel industry, and for Animals Australia’s community of dedicated supporters who have persevered for them.

Arriving here has been no easy feat. It was nearly two decades ago that Animals Australia conducted our first live export investigation, exposing the brutal treatment and killing of Australian sheep in Kuwait.

Little did we know it would take dozens of further challenging investigations across the Middle East and North Africa, multiple media exposés, and the bravery of a whistle-blower risking his life to document the suffering onboard live export vessels, to change the political tide against this industry.

What’s next?

For the live export of sheep to be phased out and stopped, legislation needs to be introduced and voted on in both houses of parliament. The Albanese government hasn’t indicated a timeline for this to occur, however, Animals Australia will be lobbying for this important election commitment to be passed into law as soon as possible.

What about live cattle export?

While acknowledging this monumental win for Australian sheep, our efforts will not waver to bring all live animal export to an end.

Over the years, Animals Australia’s investigations have shone a light on the suffering of other animals who are exported alive, including goats and cattle, in destination countries. We haven’t for a second forgotten them. Our ongoing investigations, political lobbying, and campaign work, fuelled by our compassionate supporters, continue to make live export harder, more expensive, and more scrutinised than ever.

Labor’s commitment to ending the live sheep trade may be just one step on the long road to end live export completely, but it is a huge step that sets a powerful precedent for cattle and all other animals.

The strongest representation for animals in the Federal Parliament in Australian history

Whether Labor forms a majority or minority government, animals will have more allies in the Federal parliament than ever before. The new and re-elected Independents join long-time champions for animals; The Greens, Centre Alliance, and Tasmanian Independent, Andrew Wilkie, who has never let animals slip off the political agenda.

As well as a phase out of live sheep export, the incoming Labor government – with near universal support from the crossbench – also committed to inject much-needed independence into decisions that impact animals. In particular, the ALP has pledged to:

  • Establish an Inspector-General for Animal Welfare with $1 million in annual funding
  • Renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy with $5 million in funding over four years

Never before in Australia’s political history have so many incoming MPs made such significant commitments for animals. 

We’re entering a new era of animal welfare reform that holds the potential to be paradigm-shifting for all animals in this country. 

Positive change for animals

We all wish to see change that shapes a kinder future where animals are extended the respect and protection they so deserve. And now meaningful change is not only possible, but the 2022 election result has delivered a clear pathway to a more compassionate Australia for animals.

As the new government addresses its commitments to animals in the coming term, thankfully, we don’t have to wait a minute to help create a better world – we can use our power as individuals every single day. Head to our 5 Minute Guide to Compassionate Living to see how you can help pave the way forward for the animals who need us.


This image contains content which some may find confronting

A hand reaches out to gently caress a young lamb's face.
The 2022 election result marks a new era for animal welfare.
Image credit: Edgar's Mission