Live-ex appeal talk leaves a sour taste

Live-ex appeal talk leaves a sour taste

Beef
Live export producer Tom Stockwell, Sunday Creek Station near Katherine in the Northern Territory, says the government should support, not threaten, the northern cattle industry.

Live export producer Tom Stockwell, Sunday Creek Station near Katherine in the Northern Territory, says the government should support, not threaten, the northern cattle industry.

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Cattlemen's passionate letter to PM: Don't threaten us, support us.

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ANY move by the Morrison Government to wipe out the Federal Court ruling that the 2011 live export ban was invalid will not wash with the northern cattle industry.

Even if it comes sugarcoated in some innovative legal way to still provide compensation to those who livelihoods were devastated by the Gillard Government decision, an appeal will leave a very sour taste.

Prominent Northern Territory cattlemen and live export supplier Tom Stockwell, Sunday Creek Station at Katherine, has written to the Prime Minister and Attorney-General saying in no uncertain terms they should be supporting, not threatening, the northern cattle industry.

Justice Steven Rares this month handed down 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.

Since then speculation has been mounting about the possibility of an appeal against a backdrop of pleading from those involved in the very drawn-out lawfare to let it be.

Mr Stockwell's letter pointed out the Coalition Government, via the Attorney General's department, afforded every assistance to Mr Ludwig to mount a defence of his actions.

This happened despite "the long record of vociferous criticism of the decision while in opposition and then in office", Mr Stockwell said.

Mr Ludwig did not give evidence in the court case.

"Everyone knew this was as bad a decision as a government could make. Now, after a tortuous protracted process, the law agrees," Mr Stockwell said.

Along with many other producers, he expressed astonishment the current government might consider an appeal in the name of protecting the ability of ministers to make decisions while simultaneously paying compensation.

Mr Stockwell said that amounted to saying 'guilty as charged your honour - I'll give the money back but please don't record a conviction.'

"Just how bad does a decision need to be before it goes on the record?" he said.

The decision should be used to guide future ministers, he argued.

Cattlemen close to the case said the decision on an appeal was well out of current Agriculture Minister David Littleproud's hands now.

They said talk from politicians whose government was in power about 'standing by' the live-ex industry would ring empty if an appeal went ahead.

Queensland LNP senator Susan McDonald has been one of the more outspoken about just how much damage the Ludwig decision caused.

Immediately after the ruling, she called on the Federal Government to accept the Justice's ruling and compensate appropriately.

"It's impossible to put into words the hardship people suffered as a result of this ill-thought-out kneejerk ban," she said.

"In addition to graziers, transport companies, mechanics, suppliers and fencers just to name a few were smashed virtually overnight.

"All that live export beef flooded the domestic market, crippling prices and compounding the pain for beef producers across Australia."

SEE ALSO: Will the live-ex ruling stop knee-jerk reactions?

The story Live-ex appeal talk leaves a sour taste first appeared on Farm Online.

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