Animal Justice Party
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Animal Justice Party (AJP) is a political party in Australia representing an animal rights perspective in the Australian political arena. On 3 May 2011, the Animal Justice Party was approved by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and AJP was federally registered as a political party under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, making the party eligible for federal funding. AJP is the first political party in Australia formed to advance animal rights issues.
The preamble of the AJP charter says the party "has been formed as a response to growing public concern about the neglect of animals and animal protection issues by political parties" and states its mission is "to promote and protect the interests and capabilities of animals by providing a dedicated voice for them in Australia's political system". The party aims to give animals constitutional protection based on their sentience, as opposed to their instrumental value. The sole purpose of the AJP is to provide a focal point for people who feel there is a lack of action taken by political figures that concerns the wellbeing of animals.
The AJP position
The AJP is highly against the export of any live animals for profit, especially slaughter. They want an international ban of all live animal hauling throughout the world. "We demand an end to the export of live animals from Australia at the earliest possible time, taking into consideration any domestic welfare issues exceeding those faced overseas, that the animals previously earmarked for live export would suffer in the event of a ban" says Steve Garlick, previous president of AJP. The group realises that their government will not put a ban on the live animal export because it brings in so much money for the country even though countless instances of cruelty have been blatantly proven. The exported animals usually go to countries that have no animal welfare laws or protection codes that ensure their protection and well being.
In 2011, in the light of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's television footage showing abuse and the slaughter of cattle from the Northern Territory in conditions that would not have been permitted in Australia, as well as the consequential nationwide protests by supporters of animal welfare, AJP, along with Animals Australia, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union (AMIEU), The Greens and a range of other NGOs sought a ban on live animal exports. Steve Garlick, president of the Animal Justice Party, said that rural Australia has been adversely affected by the export of live animals and argued that the export ban would result in economic and social benefit in the country.
At the 2013 federal election, the party was criticised for preferencing the Liberal Party ahead of the Greens in the ACT Senate. They did this because the Greens had supported the culling of kangaroos in the ACT. This preferencing decision had no impact on the result. The party was a member of Glenn Druery's Minor Party Alliance but failed to win a seat. The AJP recorded a 0.70 percent national Senate vote.
Mark Pearson, the lead candidate of the Animal Justice Party won the final seat in the New South Wales Legislative Council at the 2015 state election, giving the party its first parliamentary representation. At the 2016 federal election, Lynda Stoner, the Chief Executive of Animal Liberation and a former television actress, was endorsed by the party as its candidate for the Senate representing New South Wales. She was one of a total of 55 Animal Justice Party candidates across both houses in the 2016 federal election. The AJP recorded a 1.15 percent national Senate vote, an increase of 0.46 percent.
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