News Federal government rules out appeal against live cattle ruling

Federal government rules out appeal against live cattle ruling

Sheep are transported by road to the Al Kuwait live export ship in Fremantle harbour in June. Photo: AAP
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The Morrison government will not appeal a ruling against the 2011 live cattle export ban, despite disagreeing with some of the legal principles applied in the decision.

On June 29, the government was ordered to pay almost $3 million in damages to a Northern Territory company after the previous Labor government’s decision to ban live cattle exports was found to be invalid.

“While the decision raises some important issues of legal principle, they are far outweighed by the very real pain and hurt that the live export ban inflicted on our cattle industry,” Attorney-General Christian Porter’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr Porter has been under pressure to let the decision stand with Nationals senators lobbying against the appeal to ensure justice for the agriculture industry, and the decision opens the door for further compensation claims by other cattle farmers.

Last month, the Senate narrowly carried a motion in support of the government abandoning the appeal.

The government on Wednesday said it would not jeopardise the outcome the cattle industry had won in the case.

However it said it disagrees with some of the legal principles applied in the ruling, claiming they challenged the court’s role in interpreting government legislation and misfeasance in public office.

It reserves the right to press its view if similar cases arise in the future, it said.

Justice Steven Rares had earlier in the month ruled that then-agriculture minister Joe Ludwig had acted recklessly and committed misfeasance in public office when he banned farmers from exporting live cattle to Indonesia for six months.

The ban followed a Four Corners program on ABC TV that exposed cruelty to Australian cattle.

The Federal Court class action of about 300 members was led by Brett Cattle Company.

The decision opens the door for further compensation claims from other cattle farmers.

-AAP