Crossbench MPs rail against live exports

Crossbench MPs rail against live exports


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Centre Alliance member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie . Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

Centre Alliance member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie . Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

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Emboldened crossbench MPs are pressuring two Liberal ministers to support phasing out long-haul live sheep exports within five years.

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Emboldened crossbench MPs are pressuring two Liberal ministers to support phasing out long-haul live sheep exports within five years.

Centre Alliance's Rebekha Sharkie introduced a bill to parliament on Monday, mirroring legislation moved by Liberal MP Sussan Ley and seconded by her partyroom colleague Sarah Henderson before they were promoted to the ministry.

"You had the gumption to come in here and introduce a bill that you believed in," Ms Sharkie told parliament.

"I note that both members now have ministries, I hope that's not the reason for their change of mind and change of heart."

Ms Ley and Ms Henderson oppose the trade but their elevation to the frontbench means they must vote with the government's position to reform live exports.

The Liberal MPs have committed to agitating for a change in coalition policy to end live sheep exports.

Independent Kerryn Phelps said the five-year end to the trade would give the time to boost meat processing to create jobs and export opportunities for chilled meat.

"The live sheep export industry has had plenty of chance to lift its game and in my view is beyond redemption," Dr Phelps said.

"It is shocking and cruel that these animals spend weeks in extreme heat and overcrowded conditions with many dying on the way to their destination."

Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie introduced his own legislation that would end all live sheep and cattle exports within three years and put tougher safeguards on the industry in the meantime.

"There is systemic cruelty in the live animal export trade and the only way to end the cruelty is to end the trade," Mr Wilkie said.

Australian Associated Press

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