Author Topic: Prominent anti-live export MP appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Trade  (Read 973 times)

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Prominent anti-live export MP appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Trade
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 08:15:27 PM »
New trade role for live export opponent

  One of Federal Parliament's most prominent anti-live export campaigners has been appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Trade in the weekend ministerial reshuffle.

 Victorian Labor MP Kelvin Thomson takes on the role, after the resignation of two high-profile ministers prompted a reorganisation of the Federal Government's frontbench.

 Mr Thomson has long called for the export of live Australian sheep, cattle and goats to be phased out, but the Federal Government remains committed to the trade.

 The Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, says Mr Thomson's appointment doesn't indicate a change in policy on live exports.

 "The Government's position is established, and Kelvin and I and others will continue to implement that."

 Northern Territory cattle producer Rohan Sullivan says he's concerned about how Mr Thomson will deal with Indonesia, given his history of opposing the live export trade.

 "I guess on the face of it there would be a few concerns given he's been a fairly public opponent of the live export trade," he said.

 "But I would hope that (in his new role) Mr Thomson might start to appreciate the live export trade and the finer points of dealing with trading partners like Indonesia."

 The Parliamentary Secretary for Trade position became vacant because Labor MP Justine Elliot has relinquished the role to take on the coal seam gas industry.

 The Member for Richmond wants the NSW Government to stop the development of CSG in her electorate on the state's North Coast.

 Ms Elliot says continuing with the trade portfoilio, when one of the country's major exports is gas, would create a conflict of interest.

 "That's why I felt particularly uncomfortable because my priority is about the issues that are important to the people of the North Coast and so to be able to do that without any conflict at all I felt that this was the best way to approach it and to relinquish that role," she said.

 "I've always shared the community's concerns in relation to this issue and what really became apparent to me, towards the end of last year when we saw the State Minister (for Planning) come up to Lismore and just show complete disregard to what locals have said.

 "I really felt that I had to come out stronger in terms of what I was saying, particularly in terms of calling upon those National Party state MPs to tell Barry O'Farrell to stop coal seam gas mining on the North Coast.

 "I've become very disillusioned and angry that they were all just hiding out and being silent on this issue when the fact is that it's the State Government that regulates and licenses coal seam gas mining."

 Also in a new role is Queensland MP Yvette D'Ath, who takes on the role of Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change.

 The role includes responsibility for the Federal Government's Carbon Farming Initiative.

 The position's previous occupant, Mark Dreyfus, was promoted to Attorney-General at the weekend.

 The new parliamentary secretaries are expected to speak about their new roles once they have been briefed.

 David Stoate runs Anna Plains cattle station, three hours south of Broome in WA's Kimberley.

 He said this appointment "Just shows the contempt that this Labor Government has shown to the pastoral industry over the past few years."

 "In a trade secretary's position you want someone who's demonstrated a willingness to work with foreign countries, all Kelvin Thomson is has been hostile towards Indonesia, one of our largest trading partners and near neighbours."

By Anna Vidot, Matt Brann and Justine Frazier

 Monday, 04/02/2013