IN THE NEWS: On MAY 10, 2018
Another federal Liberal MP is backing moves to ban live sheep exports amid growing anger at the cruelty to animals revealed in secret television footage, building the numbers in Parliament to stop the trade.
Victorian MP Sarah Henderson revealed she would support Liberal colleague Sussan Ley's move a bill in Parliament to ban live sheep exports in the belief Australians will no longer tolerate the "horrific" conditions on the export ships.
The move comes after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tried to persuade Ms Ley to abandon her bill, a plea she rejected.
Ms Henderson, who represents Geelong and the surrounding district in the federal seat of Corangamite, said she believed the farmers in her electorate would "strongly support" her decision.
"If any person in Australia crammed sheep into a transport vehicle for 25 days in the searing heat with limited access to food and water, standing in their own excrement, that person would be charged with animal cruelty," she said.
"The cessation of long haul live sheep export must occur over a period of time and in consultation with farmers and the industry.
"In no way will this bill impact on the export of cattle which traditionally are sent to South-East Asia."
Victorian independent Senator Derryn Hinch said on Thursday that the bill to stop live sheep exports had almost gained enough support to succeed but had been stalled by the latest twist in the citizenship crisis over Labor MPs.
While Labor appears ready to support the bill, it now has four fewer MPs in federal Parliament following the resignations of Justine Keay, Susan Lamb and Josh Wilson over their citizenship, as well as Tim Hammond for family reasons. Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie has also resigned.
This raises the bar for any attempt by Labor, the Greens, the crossbenchers and any Liberal MPs to gain a majority in the lower house to pass the private members' bill.
Television footage of the shipping conditions prompted Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to commission reviews of the trade, to be handed down next week.
Ms Ley, who also represents a regional electorate, said it was Mr Turnbull's job to "promote government policy" but individual Liberal MPs could always take a different position.
"I'm entitled as a private member to lodge this bill and argue for my case," she told Sky News.
Ms Henderson has been a strong supporter of Mr Turnbull and praised Mr Littleproud for working to fix the trade but she also declared that "enough is enough" after the latest revelations.
"Australians will no longer tolerate the systemic failures we have seen over many years from long haul live sheep exporters, including the failure of the industry to regulate itself in order to comply with basic animal welfare standards," she said.