US media reports that Australia may have broken Californian lobbying laws in an attempt to overturn the ban on kangaroo products highlights how far the Abbott government will go to benefit a handful of exporters, Greens spokesperson for animal welfare Senator Lee Rhiannon.
This story has broken in the US following a response from the Department of Agriculture to a question asked by Senator Rhiannon about lifting California's ban on imported kangaroo products.
The Los Angeles Times has reported this story under the headline ‘Australian government efforts to lift ban on kangaroo products under scrutiny'.
"In February the Abbott government admitted it provided A$143,000 to help pay US legal lobbying firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips to lobby Californian lawmakers against the ban on imported products made from kangaroos," said Senator Rhiannon.
"The government may have acted illegally as it failed to declare this payment and it did not register as a lobbyist employer, as required under California's disclosure laws.
"I believe most Australians would be surprised our government has spent A$143,000 to influence lawmakers in another country to support overturning a ban on what has been described as the largest slaughter of land-based wildlife in the world.
"The Abbott government is also manoeuvring to sidestep proper Californian legislative processes by inserting this bill inside an existing bill.
"I will be asking further questions about other payments Australia may have made in 2007 and 2010 to overturn California's import ban.
"The kangaroo industry continues to shoot our iconic wild kangaroos beyond their low reproductive capacity. Inflated government kangaroo population estimates that bear little resemblance to actual survey count data are used to support this slaughter.
"Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi and I recently signed an open letter to Californian lawmakers urging reinstatement of the ban on imported kangaroo products due to increasing concerns about sustainability, cruelty and contamination issues around the kangaroo shooting and export industry," Senator Rhiannon said.
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