I'm no puppet of Greens: Saffin

FEDERAL Page MP Janelle Saffin has hit back at Liberal claims her notice of motion to debate the live animal export issue in Parliament next week was influenced by the Greens.

Ms Saffin, who once worked in an abattoir herself, said it was about jobs and the economy, as well as animal welfare and, due to the contentious nature of the issue in the electorate, needed to be debated in the Federal arena.

“The Coalition can harp on all they like about Labor and the Greens, but it's absolute nonsense – I didn't even know the Greens had this in their policy,” she said.

“This is to do with me as a local member being responsive to my constituents.

“There's a clear view, particularly from meat workers and the Australasian Meat Industry Employees' Union, that live exporting is the equivalent of exporting jobs.

“I put it up there for discussionbecause in our electorate we have a lot of people who are deeply concerned about it – deeply concerned about exporting jobs and deeply concerned about humanitarian issues.

“We shouldn't be frightened to have this debate and I won't be silenced on this.”

While Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig recently reiterated Labor's support for live exports, two Liberal senators believe Ms Saffin's motion is the beginning of a shift in the Government.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Rich-ard Colbeck said it was proof of the Greens' influence on Labor.

“The Greens have been talking about this for some time and I'm surprised that local members who represent rural electorates want to go down this track,” he said. “It would kill the additional market and effectively support the big (processing) companies against the farmers.”

WA Liberal Senator Chris Black said live exports of cattle in Queensland had had no bearing on the number of livestock being processed and therefore no effect on jobs.

Ms Saffin dismissed Senator Colbeck's claims yesterday, saying her notice of motion was put forward in the last Parliament before the current balance of power.

“A notice of motion is a mechanism for us to have a discussion on an issue of concern to the community,” she said.

“I'm not frightened of discussion on an issue, but it appears the Coalition is.”

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