Northern Territory Opposition Leader Terry Mills
Victor P Taffa
The Country Liberals have used Parliament to censure the Henderson Labor Government for its flaccid, ineffectual response to the Federal Government’s blanket ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia.
Opposition Leader, Terry Mills, said Chief Minister Paul Henderson’s meek response to Federal Labor has validated the Commonwealth’s appalling decision to ban live exports to our near neighbour.
“The Country Liberals demonstrated bi-partisan support in the wake of the blanket ban to send a very strong signal to the Territory community that Federal Labor’s intervention was unacceptable.” Mr. Mills said.
“The behaviour of the Territory Government since that time has been anything but bi-partisan.”
“Since the ban was announced in June, the Chief Minister has ranted and raved at Independent senators Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie, pointed the finger at the Meat and Livestock Association and flayed a Senate Committee charged with investigating the live cattle trade.”
“It’s noticeable, though, the Chief Minister has made no criticism of Federal Labor, the architects of the ban.” Mr. Mills said.
“Territorians will never forget the image of the Chief Minister, standing behind the Prime Minister, nodding compliantly like a little puppy dog while Julia Gillard addressed the media after announcing details of the ban.”
He has been silent about the inept performance of the Federal Agriculture Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig, for his mishandling of the animal cruelty allegations.
“He has been silent about the inept performance of the Federal Agriculture Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig, who dramatically bungled the Government’s handling of animal cruelty allegations.” Mr. Mills said.
“The Chief Minister has used the cloak of bi-partisanship as a shield to avoid conflict with the Federal Labor Government, instead of attacking the source of the ban to fast-track its removal.”
Under questioning in Parliament today, the Chief Minister admitted the ban could cost the Territory economy up to $200 Million a year while also saying today’s first shipment of cattle since the ban was lifted was the start of a very long process.
“In other words, as a result of Federal Labor ‘s intransigence and incompetence, the Territory economy could be stripped of up to $1 Billion over the next five years as a result of a knee-jerk reaction by the Labor Government.”
“What’s more, the ban has done immeasurable damage to Australia’s relationship with Indonesia a key friend and trading partner.” Mr. Mills said.