IN THE NEWS: On MAY 11, 2018
Labor wants to see live sheep exports phased out but leader Bill Shorten is yet to decide if the party will support a Liberal MPs proposal to make it happen.
Former cabinet minister Sussan Ley intends to pursue a private bill to phase out the controversial trade despite the Turnbull government's position.
Mr Shorten said Labor was having constructive discussions with Ms Ley but had no final position yet.
"Industries which rely upon cruelty as part of their business model, you've got to question their viability," he said.
"But of course if there is any transition out of live export you've got to look after the farmers, work with them."
Victorian Liberal MP Sarah Henderson has declared her support for Ms Ley's bill.
"The live export of sheep to the Middle East is inhumane and must come to an end," Ms Henderson said.
"The cessation of long-haul live sheep export must occur over a period of time and in consultation with farmers and the industry."
She joins party-room colleague Jason Wood in supporting an end to the trade, while WA Liberal Ian Goodenough has also raised concerns.
Ms Henderson's support comes after Ms Ley insisted she was entitled to present her private bill in defiance of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Both backbench MPs have country electorates.
"As a rural Victorian Liberal MP representing a large farming constituency, I believe the vast majority of my constituents, including farmers, will strongly support my decision," Ms Henderson said.
She said Australians no longer tolerated the industry's animal welfare failings after shocking revelations of cruelty on ships bound for the Middle East during the height of summer.
The Greens and independent senator Derryn Hinch are also pushing for the trade to be wound down, drafting a bill of their own.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud is expecting the findings of a review into the northern hemisphere summer trade late next week.
He says the government will get to the bottom of the matter and "clean it up".
Labor has pledged to end the trade if it wins government but refuses to put a timeline on phasing out live exports.