So says Tom Stockwell (at left), “family man, live export producer” and president of the NT Cattlemen Association from 2015 to 2018.
He sent an open letter to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister for Primary Industry who have indicated they may appeal a Federal Court decision declaring the ban on live cattle exports in 2011 illegal, and awarded $3m in compensation.
Mr Stockwell writes: “The principles and persistence of northern cattle industry people have provided our democracy and parliament with a benchmark for ministerial performance.
“A reckless, destructive, knee-jerk ministerial decision has been proven just that, after nine long years of expensive lawfare.
“Despite the long record of vociferous criticism of the decision while in opposition and subsequently in office, the LNP government through the Attorney’s General department, afforded every assistance to the Minister in question to mount a defence of his actions,” writes Mr Stockwell.
“To be clear, from the outset you and everyone else knew this was as bad a decision as a government could make. Now, after a tortuous, protracted process, the law agrees.
“I am astounded that you are considering an appeal to protect the ability of Ministers to ‘make decisions’, while simultaneously saying you might pay compensation and court costs which seems to me to be ‘Guilty as charged your honour. I’ll give the money back but please don’t record a conviction’.
“Just how bad does a decision need to be before it goes on the record?
“You should be hailing this decision as a principle of good governance to guide future ministers, rather than running a protection racket for the under-performers of the political class at further expense to the people.”