Kelvin Thomson’s appointment as Parliamentary Secretary for Trade by Julia Gillard rubs salt into the wounds of Northern Australia still recovering from the live cattle export ban, Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory Nigel Scullion said.
“This decision again shows Julia Gillard’s appalling judgement given that Kelvin Thomson led the Labor charge against the live cattle trade,” Senator Scullion said.
“It sends the wrong message to Indonesia, who will wonder why Australia has appointed someone to a trade portfolio who has actively worked to destroy a mutually beneficial trade arrangement.
“One of the main perpetrators of the live cattle export ban has been rewarded with a position where I fear he will do his best to push his own agenda of closing down Australia’s live trade industry.
“Minister Emerson said, ‘The Government’s position is established, and Kelvin and I and others will continue to implement that.’ And yet Mr Thomson told the ABC’s PM program on September 18, 2012: ‘we would be much better off if we transitioned out of live animal export altogether and moved towards domestic processing.’
“That is hardly the kind of talk Indonesia would want to hear from Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Trade. His appointment is a slap in the face to our neighbours and other countries involved in the live trade export.
“His appointment will send a shiver down the spines of hard-working Territorians still recovering from the trauma of Mr Thomson’s decision.
“With Mr Thomson’s appointment Labor has shown it does not care about the Northern Australia or trade relations with Indonesia and the Middle East,” Senator Scullion said.
Media contact: Russel Guse – 0438685645
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