Daws quits Emanuel Exports to smooth way
Controversial live export boss Graham Daws has quit the board of the sheep export companies he founded in a bid to smooth the way for the departure of 60,000 sheep stuck in WA after Emanuel Exports’ export licence was suspended last month.
The Department of Agriculture confirmed this week that Emanuel’s sister company, EMS Rural Exports, had applied for export permits in a move that could allow movement of the sheep this week.
A statement from the Department confirmed an application had been made, and said it would be subject to the normal assessment processes. The Al Shuwaikh had been sitting off Kwinana since Emanuel’s license was temporarily suspended in late June, but moved into Fremantle port early on Tuesday and began taking on feed in preparation for a voyage as officials from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority began their own inspection of the vessel.
The EMS application came after negotiations between Emanuel and Harmony Agriculture and Food for the export of the sheep broke down.
It was preceded by the resignation of Mr Daws as a director of both companies, and from the third company in the group, International Livestock Exports.
It is believed to have been aimed at easing the department’s decision to issue a one-off permit to EMS allowing shipment of the stranded sheep.
Documents filed with the corporate regulator show the sole remaining director of EMS is Mr Daws’ son Nick following the departure in May of business partner Mike Stanton as a director.
The departure of the Al Shuwaikh is likely to cause a fresh political storm over the trade, however, with anti-live export MPs again weighing in on the issue when news broke of the EMS application on Tuesday.
Liberal MP Sussan Ley, who has moved a private members Bill that would effectively ban the live sheep trade, said the use of EMS as a vehicle for the shipment smacked of “cheating the system”, given Emanuel’s license is suspended.
Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said the application was “kicking sand into the Government’s face”. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud — a supporter of the trade — backed away from the application, issuing a statement saying he had no say in the department’s decision to consider and issue an export permit.
Animals Australia has flagged a potential court challenge, saying this week it would consider all of its legal options.
Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA president Tony Seabrook said the departure should have occurred three weeks ago.
“From an animal welfare point of view, this was probably the only outcome appropriate,” he said.
“It has taken us three weeks to get to where we are. This has been the irresponsibility of Canberra, for a zero result aside from costing the exporter a lot of money.
“These issues are historic so there was no pressing need and it was a typical bureaucratic response to take the licence.”
The Al Shuwaikh pictured at Fremantle port.