CALLS for the Federal Government to rule out appealing the court decision which found a total ban to live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011 was invalid, and to move swiftly on compensation, are coming fast and thick.
In the Senate yesterday, The Nationals supported a motion to that effect while cattle industry groups have spelt out the devastation the Gillard Government decision cause and those involved in the lengthy court case have pleaded for an end to legal proceedings.
Facilitator of class action Tracey Hayes, former Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association chief executive officer said of an appeal: "Please don't. Enough taxpayers' dollars have been spent. Enough heartache and pain has been endured."
After six years of court proceedings, including 18 months of deliberation, Justice Steven Rares this month handed down in the Federal Court his findings in favour of the Brett Cattle Company led class action against the Australian Government stemming from the 2011 export ban.
He found then Labor Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig committed misfeasance in public office when he made the ban order on 7 June 2011.
There has been no word yet from current Agriculture Minister David Littleproud on an appeal beyond assurances immediately after the court ruling two weeks ago that he did not intend for the process to be protracted.
While some law experts say an appeal is likely, political commentators have made the point today's Federal Government will not want to be seen to be defending a Labor decision which devastated an industry it has long supported.
The Nationals senate team yesterday called the 2011 Labor Party decision reckless and said it led to regional communities severely impacted for many, many years, not just economically but socially.
"As National Party Senators we see the decision by Justice Rares as vindication of the argument we have put forward since 2011 and claims of compensation is something we need to rectify swiftly because it has been nine long years," said Nationals Senate Leader Bridget McKenzie said.
Queensland Senator Matt Canavan said justice delayed was justice denied.
"The government should not appeal this decision because that would just prolong the pain for people who have done nothing wrong," he said.
NSW Senator Perin Davey said the role of government was to support industry not ban it.
"Our live export industry is the most regulated and the most committed to animal welfare in the world and I stand by it proudly," Senator Davey said.
Senator Susan McDonald said: "Graziers already battle the uncertainties of commodity prices and weather, so to have your own government attack you like this was entirely unexpected and - in the words of Justice Rares - was capricious and unreasonable."
Cattle Council president and NSW producer Tony Hegarty said the impact of the ban trickled right through the beef industry.
"When our political leaders act in a rash and unpredictable manner, our overseas partners lose confidence in our product and trading relationship," he said.
"This hurt our trading relationship with Indonesia by taking away surety of supply - something our industry prides itself on.
"At the same time, it hurt our relationship with other trading partners by undermining our reliability and world-leading animal welfare standards."
He pointed to the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System, saying no other country ensures animal welfare the way Australia does.
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