Labor leader Bill Shorten and the Labor Party have been in the media recently trying to cast the blame for the downturn in cattle exports to Indonesia on Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s handling of recent diplomatic issues.
Mr Shorten’s empty rhetoric typifies the daily cheap political point scoring that Australians neither want nor need – especially from someone wanting to be considered as this country’s alternate leader.
The truth of the matter is that Indonesia’s decision to slash its import quota of cattle is a business decision - an economic move which aims to push the price of cattle down.
“Maybe Mr Shorten needs reminding about the damage his party and Labor’s former Minister for Agriculture, Queensland Senator Ludwig, did to this country’s business relationship with Indonesia during 2011 because of a lack of diplomacy and common-sense,” says, Family First Queensland Federal Senate candidate, Mr Rod McGarvie.
In 2011, a documentary aired claiming Indonesian abattoirs were cruelly treating cattle exported from Australia and the Labor Government reacted by banning live cattle exports.
This knee-jerk reaction was not what you would call a ‘diplomatic’ solution – which should have at least involved working with the Indonesian government to investigate the claims and ensure they were involved in finding a solution before any action was taken.
Instead, an industry which employs thousands of Australians was inexplicably halted overnight, effectively jeopardising the livelihood of an entire industry of Australians.
"We should be portraying a united front as a nation in order to welcome back foreign investment from our nearest major neighbour. Mr Shorten's naive criticism does nothing but exacerbate the problem," says Mr McGarvie
"A reasonable, considered approach is desperately needed when one is considering actions which could have implications, not only on a Billion Dollar Industry, but on the lives of some of our nation's hardest working people."
The decision to suspend live exports had support – especially from the Greens. The Greens took the move one step further by introducing bills calling on the Federal Parliament to phase out live exports altogether, bills which if successful had the potential to destroy a billion dollar industry.
“While Mr Shorten’s Labor and the Greens play political games and take cheap shots, the Agricultural Minister, Barnaby Joyce is getting on with business by signing a live cattle export agreement with China – well done Barnaby”.
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Rod McGarvie - Federal Senate Candidate for the Family First Party QLD