The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union is calling on Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to immediately answer questions surrounding his relationship with live export supplier Stanbroke. This call follows evidence uncovered by the AMIEU that could prove his position indefensible.
“Entries in the Register of Ministerial Interests by Joyce may explain his staunch support for live exports, a position he again confirmed today while responding to the issues raised in last night’s 730 Report expose,” said Grant Courtney from the AMIEU.
“The Australian public has had enough of the lies and misinformation perpetuated by the live export trade. Mr Joyce must come clean on whether his support for live exports is a product of his relationship with one of Australia’s largest providers of live export cattle.
“Joyce’s dedication to the continuation of live exports, through thick and thin, scandal after scandal, verges on the irrational.
“Even in the face of overwhelming evidence from the meat processing industry that live exports are destroying Australian jobs, and even when presented with shocking footage of systemic animal cruelty, Joyce has refused to back down.
“Joyce is no stranger to the odd controversial flight — he’ll charter a helicopter just to save himself a 90 minute drive, or to visit the pub .
“But unnecessary taxpayer-funded flights are one thing, jetting around the country at the expense of a large company that has your unwavering support despite the devastating effect it has on Australian workers is a completely different ball game.
“Joyce’s register shows no less than six private flights, paid for by Stanbroke, with highly suspect timing, that raises serious questions about his integrity and a potential conflict of interest that call into question his commitment to the electorate.”
Barnaby Joyce’s own New England region has a staggering youth unemployment rate of 19 percent more than twice the national average. It’s the biggest meat processing region in NSW, but meatworker jobs are disappearing as fast as our cattle, which are herded onto ships and sent overseas to be slaughtered in outrageously cruel and inhumane conditions.
“The Australian public are deeply concerned, and were a little confused, that Joyce is willing to sell off Australian jobs in favour of the live export industry,” said Mr Courtney.
“But it all makes sense now – he and his family are taking flight after flight around the country at the expense of one of the biggest players in the industry.
“The evidence is clear: Joyce cannot be trusted to put Australians first.
“The uncovered ‘gifts’ from suppliers are evidence of Joyce’s close relationship with Stanbroke and calls into question each and every one of his decisions on live exports.
“No wonder the Minister has doubled down on his commitment to live exports after last night’s revelations that industry figures pressured the Department of Agriculture into sacking its own veterinary staff for doing their job and reporting the simple truth about animal cruelty,” said Mr Courtney.
Get the facts
On March 11 2015, in the wake of yet another horrific animal cruelty scandal, Joyce rejected a call for live export suspensions to Vietnam. Days later on March 15, in what could be seen as a gesture of thanks, Stanbroke’s private jet picked him up from Tamworth airport and took him on an extended jaunt to Dubbo, then Cootamundra, then Canberra.
On August 25 2015, debate about the allegations raised in March still raged on. Animals Australia accused the live export industry of doing nothing, failing to respond to their calls for action or to their plans for additional animal welfare measures.
Barnaby Joyce weighed in again, saying that a suspension to Vietnam was not the answer. Perhaps the memory of his private chartered flight from Rockhampton to Tamworth earlier that month on August 6, paid for by Stanbroke, was still fresh in his mind?
Things got worse in February 2016 with some meat processing plants in Queensland shutting for months on end due to a cattle shortage that had been exacerbated by live exports growth.
The Meat Workers Union called on Joyce to do something about it, but, typically, Joyce declined. During that month Joyce caught no less than three private flights courtesy of Stanbroke.
Stanbroke paid for Joyce to take a return trip from Tamworth to Canberra, and then paid for he and his wife to travel together from Tamworth to Brisbane.
That wasn’t the first time Joyce’s friends at Stanbroke have paid to fly his family around the country, either — a Stanbroke company helicopter picked Joyce and his family up in Brisbane in November 2013 and flew them back home to Tamworth.
These ‘gifts’ are evidence of Joyce’s close relationship with Stanbroke and calls into question each and every one of his decisions on live exports.
No wonder the Minister has doubled down on his commitment to live exports after last night’s revelations that industry figures pressured the Department of Agriculture into sacking its own veterinary staff for doing their job and reporting the simple truth about animal cruelty.