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There is a strong connection between the cattle export ban and Robodebt.


“Reckless” disregard of consequences has resulted in the Federal Court finding the Australian government guilty of causing financial damage to the cattle exporters affected by the decision.

Damages are yet to be determined.

The government has also admitted to being guilty of illegal action in imposing the Robodebt regime on Centrelink clients.

A class action has yet to be heard.

Court rulings and judgements are guided by many factors, one of which is precedent.

And there is now a clear precedent set in relation to the effect of government decisions on those adversely affected by them

Watch this space.

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  1. Jack Cade

    It was a Labor government wot done it. And as far as I can recall, there was universal approval in the community.

  2. New England Cocky

    Agreed Jack. It was a Labor government in 2011. We need another Labor government in 2022.

    Independent investigation by interested persons on the ground in Indonesia in 2001 found that the pictures were taken at an abattoir that WAS NOT part of the Australian supply chain. Indeed, an organisation like PETA was connected with this press release to Four Corners and sought to disrupt or destroy the Australian cattle market in Indonesia.

  3. Geoff Andrews

    Your memory is spot on, Jack.
    We, the vast majority of Australians, were (and still are) horrified by the cruelty that was presented. Labor’s response was quick & supposedly temporary, presumably until they could pressure those responsible to change their disgusting practices.
    Let’s assume that the graziers exporting the animals (particularly those involved in this recent action) were unaware of the inhumane treatment that the ABC program featured and were shocked by them as much as the general population. One would think that they would have welcomed the government’s temporary intervention and are probably not involved in the action. (Ha!)
    If the owners of the cattle were completely aware of the cruelty and were involved in the recent successful action, the Court has made us grate again but it would be churlish of me to recall all those tear-stained graziers mourning the suffering of their charges (that they all knew personally apparently) during and after some drought, bush fire or flood. Humanity has a half life of a financial year.

  4. Michael

    The industry must have known and collectively acted in its own interest?

  5. Socrates.

    All that was ever asked of livestock exporters was to spend a little money to ensure that livestock was exported humanely.

  6. B Sullivan

    Socrates, you can’t transport animals humanely in confined spaces on trucks, trains and ships. The entire experience is stressful, and Australia is a long way from its markets. Farmers accept that a percentage will die from the stress but that overall they will make a sizable profit from those people who are wealthy enough to buy their product. It has nothing to do with food security, Meat is a luxury product that most people in the world cannot afford even without the additional costs of live transport.

    The live export trade is tolerated by governments not for its questionable economic value but because the regional electorates that practise this industry are those that determine who governs in Australia. That is also why over clearing, water theft, chemical run off and other environmentally destructive practices are permitted. It always comes back to the over representation of seats that a tiny proportion of regional voters exercise over the rest of Australia.

  7. New England Cocky

    @Socrates: Sales at the farm gate make transport of the livestock a buyer responsibility. This problem was NOT transport but actions committed in an Abattoir by uncaring, sadistic workers probably fearful of the animals defending themselves. It remains totally inexcusable anywhere.

    @B Sullivan: There is a moth-balled Abattoir in NT that could provide for the export of carcasses. There is reportedly a shortage of abattoir workers prepared to work for the only six months of the year when roads are passable rather than totally unusable. These are not insurmountable obstacles.

    The other difficulty is that very few Indonesians have refrigeration of any sort necessary to hold meat or other farm produce, hence the necessary preference for fresh locally killed meat. There is a claim that worker wages are significantly cheaper in Indonesia that is used as a principal argument, but in the total cost of transporting this appears likely to be a furphy.

    Until the Federal government decentralises government jobs to a regional or electorate scale there will be lack of population planning and inadequate job opportunities as mechanisation sweeps away low paid i=unskileed labouring of all types.

  8. Bronte ALLAN

    Justice for anybody affected by these two decisions, it will NEVER happen under failed Slomo from advertising & his mob!

  9. Dave G.

    I lack the detail but the export cattle industry had a body who oversaw the treatment of the animals,this was funded by the cattlemen themselves.To my knowledge this body was never brought to account for it’s oversight of the cruelty in the Indonesian end of things.

  10. RosemaryJ36

    The main point I was trying to make is that this Court decision makes it more likely that the Court would also find the government guilty of illegal action in relation to Robodebt, so the class action due in Court on Friday may well not proceed, but there be instead a negotiated settlement of the matter to keep government misbehaviour out of the headlines.

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