live exports & other stuff

Sat 31 Dec 2011 03:00
Last day of the year
It’s too hot to move so I am gonna sit here in the shade and blog, with regular trips to the pool to cool off.
The live exports debate
We’ve seen road trains going north towards Darwin, loaded with Brahmin cattle.  We asked the man in the roadhouse out of Kakadu, he said they are on the way to Malaysia, and thence to Indonesia, where they will be halal slaughtered.  There is loads of debate about this trade and many objections, but the very powerful beef farmers’ lobby argue that it keeps hundreds employed.
On the other hand, Australia is very critical of the Japanese whaling industry.  If I had to ban things in order of magnitude of suffering (ignoring the extinction argument), I would get rid of the live exports first.
The asylum seeker debate
Another boat heading for Australia from Indonesia sank before Christmas, drowning most of the people on board. (reportedly over 200 people)  This fuelled the on going debate about where asylum seekers should be processed.  The government were elected on the policy that “processing offshore is unsustainable and wrong”, but now they are pushing for on Numeia as a compromise.  They wanted asylum seekers to be processed in Malaysia rather than on Australian shores but this was ruled illegal by the High Court.  The argument is that by processing off shore, fewer will risk the hazardous sea crossing from Indonesia .  We have heard a lot of chat shows and seen letters to the papers, showing very divided opinion and a great deal of xenophobia on this subject.  To add fuel to the fire, the press have just been banned from showing pictures of illegals arriving on Australian shores “to protect the privacy of these vulnerable people”. This is a blatant act of censorship by the Labour Govt upon which some papers have commented upon but generally only very mildly.