This exchange between Joe Ludwig and the reporter is telling.
TARA BROWN: The Government’s decision to slap a ban on the live export trade to Indonesia stranded hundreds of thousands of cattle across the top end and left farmers here fighting for their very existence. It came out of the blue and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Now this latest back flip to lift the ban might sound good in Canberra – problem solved – but for the industry, the damage has already been done. You’ve crippled a billion-dollar industry, you’ve offended a major trading partner, you’ve stranded nearly 300,000 cattle across the Top End of Australia. You’ve really stuffed up, haven’t you?Note this statement which was regurgitated repeatedly by Ludwing in answer to the questions from Tara Brown on what the ban had done to the Australian cattle farmers in northern Australia:
JOE LUDWIG: What I’ve done is put in place a framework which ensures the industry for the longer term. What industry did was let itself down itself – a self-regulatory model didn’t work, unfortunately.
TARA BROWN: The Agriculture Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig says he had to act, and he has, demanding exporters know where and how their cattle die in Indonesia. While the ban has been lifted, no cattle will leave until exporters can prove that. In the meantime, cattle farmers – who are not accused of mistreating their animals – are left in dire straits, the collateral damage of his decision. So all those families struggling today let themselves down?
JOE LUDWIG: What we’ve ensured is that we’ve got a system in place now now which ensures this industry has a longer term.
TARA BROWN: Sorry, I’m sorry, did you hear the question? The question was all those families up there struggling today have let themselves down?
JOE LUDWIG: No I’m talking about industry, the industry that represents them.
TARA BROWN: Do you believe that most Australian cattle are treated in that way in Indonesia?
JOE LUDWIG: What I believe is what I’ve done is appropriate.
TARA BROWN: Yeah but I’m asking you…
JOE LUDWIG: …Just in terms of the suspension…
TARA BROWN: No, no no, I’m just asking you, do you believe that most Australian cattle are treated in that way in Indonesia?
JOE LUDWIG: And the way I’ve answered that…
TARA BROWN: Can you answer it, I mean just answer the question.
JOE LUDWIG: And I have.
TARA BROWN: No you haven’t. Do you believe that the majority of Australian cattle going to Indonesia were treated in this way?
JOE LUDWIG: Ah.
TARA BROWN: Simple question.
JOE LUDWIG: The difficulty always is that can you guarantee that no animals weren’t mistreated.
What I’ve done is put in place a framework which ensures the industry for the longer term.And with hindsight, and in light of the decision by the Indonesian government to cut imports of live cattle from Australia, Ludwig's sustainable live export framework into the future seems to have been made out of string, spit and knee jerk*.
The complete item which appeared on 60 Minutes in July 2011 is here.
Weekly Times "Beef ban signals end for Bullo River Station".
For Sale: Bullo River Station. So, how good will it be for Australia if the Chinese or the Indonesians buy the cattle properties forced to sell by the losses caused by the government's kneejerk cattle export ban?
The ALP is totally unaware of any business and how they work. It seems that they have no concept of what is involved, particularly in a rural type business.
Steve at the Pub mentioned the Darwin episode of QandA. Here's the quote, and a link.
DAVID TOLLNER: Look, there was a major disservice done to the industry, a major disservice. The fact is this industry has evolved over a long period of time. The cattle that are bred in the Northern Territory and right across Australia, for that matter, are brought up in world class conditions. People genuinely care about their cattle. When they're put on the ships to go to Indonesia, we've now got a mortality rate lower than that on P&O cruises.
DAVID TOLLNER: Cattle are putting on weight. I mean, you ask Luke Bowen. You ask Ian McBean, the gentleman who asked the question. Cattle are putting on weight.
TONY JONES: You wouldn't go on a P&O cruise to end up in an Indonesian abattoir
DAVID TOLLNER: No. No. No. Well, no, no.
TONY JONES: Let’s hear from...
DAVID TOLLNER: Hang on. No. No. Let me finish. Let me finish. Then the cattle end up in a feedlot. These feedlot - there’s been enormous investment put into those feedlots. They are first class luxury as far as cattle are concerned in Indonesia.
FIONA O'LOUGHLIN: Sounds like they're having a blast!
DAVID TOLLNER: But we focus on the last two minutes of a beast's life and for that the whole trade has got to be shut down. As a result of that...
TONY JONES: Well if it were only...
Q&A Darwin link.
*Did anyone expect anything else?
(Sorry about the formatting if there are big spaces between paragraphs, but every time you go into the post to change or add anything it seems to change the spacing. And the formatting of the Q7A quote won't change when I fix it. Arrgh!)