Court hears ev­i­dence on 2011 ex­port ban

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - News -

A FED­ERAL La­bor min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion to act in­dis­crim­i­nately in ban­ning all farm­ers from ex­port­ing live cat­tle to In­done­sia for six months in 2011 was not jus­ti­fied, a court has been told. Noel Hut­ley SC was giv­ing his open­ing ad­dress in the Fed­eral Court in Syd­ney in a class ac­tion brought by north Aus­tralian cat­tle farm­ers against the then-La­bor govern­ment agri­cul­ture min­is­ter Joe Lud­wig. They claim the ban cost them hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars, but the cur­rent hear­ing re­lates to the al­leged li­a­bil­ity of Mr Lud­wig who, Mr Hut­ley said, may or may not give ev­i­dence.

The group, led by Brett Cat­tle Com­pany, is al­leg­ing “mis­fea­sance in pub­lic of­fice” by Mr Lud­wig. Mr Hut­ley said the is­sue of live ex­ports had been con­tro­ver­sial for many years, but be­came “vol­canic” when an ABC Four Corners pro­gram aired footage show­ing the “ap­palling” treat­ment of an­i­mals in In­done­sia. Mr Lud­wig was fa­mil­iar with the live an­i­mal in­dus­try, hav­ing a long back­ground of in­volve­ment in ru­ral is­sues, and in Septem­ber 2010 told key stake­hold­ers he had no in­ten­tion of mak­ing any “dras­tic” changes within his port­fo­lio, in­clud­ing live ex­ports.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

LIVE EX­PORT: The de­ci­sion to ban live ex­port in 2011 is un­der the spot­light.

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