On 31 July 2013 the Minister for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon announced that if elected a Rudd Government will establish “a new independent position to review and audit Australia’s live animal export trade processes and systems to strengthen our animal welfare assurance system”.
Comment from Greens animal welfare spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon,
“The Greens have long advocated for an Office of Animal Welfare and are ready to work with other political parties to pass the required legislation.
“We will examine closely what Labor is offering, however from the details released it is concerning that a key duty of the proposed office covers the live export trade. The government should be moving to end the live export trade and expand processed meat exports if it wants to be a voice for animal welfare.
“Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has no credibility on this issue. Labor have been all talk and no action on setting up this office.
“If Labor were committed to animal welfare they would have voted for the Greens the Voice for Animals (Independent Office of Animal Welfare) Bill when it was in the House of Representatives. Labor and the Coalition voted together to defeat Adam Bandt’s bill.
“Labor has weakened the original concept of an Inspector-General of Animal Welfare as they are linking the position with the failed Export Supply Chain Assurance System that they set up to try and legitimise the live export trade.
“Setting up an office of animal welfare has been Labor Party policy since November 2011, so the government had 18 months to pass the necessary legislation but they refused to work with the Greens. On the eve of the election Labor are attempting to resurrect a promise that they failed to honour when we could have had the required legislation passed by parliament.
“Labor’s election eve promise of an Inspector-General of Animal Welfare rings hollow as Labor refused to vote for Greens legislation to introduce effectively the same position.