Labor is developing a policy to work with the states and territories to implement a national, domestic ban on Australia's commercial trade in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn.
A proposal will be considered at Labor’s National Policy Forum in December.
This commitment supports the recommendations of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement’s inquiry into the trade, which has been tabled in the House of Representatives this morning.
Labor initiated this inquiry to examine whether Australia should take more legislative, regulatory and enforcement measures to restrict, or even close, its domestic trade in these products.
The existence of legal domestic markets around the world continues to fuel the poaching crisis of elephants and rhinos in Africa.
In 2017, 1,028 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa while between 20,000 and 50,000 elephants are killed each year to supply the illegal ivory trade around the globe.
Earlier this month, the fresh and recent carcasses of 87 elephants were discovered in Botswana, killed and stripped of their tusks by poachers.
Australia is not immune from contributing to the global problem as a consumer market and, given our close proximity to Asia, a transit route.
Labor’s support for a domestic ban follows the UK Government’s recent efforts to ban its domestic trade in elephant ivory. China, the United States, Hong Kong, and the European Union have all banned or are moving to ban their respective domestic trades.
When Galaxy Research conducted a poll last year, it found that 77 per cent of Australians thought that trading in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn within Australia was illegal.
In fact, we have no domestic laws that currently police this insidious trade in Australia.
Australia, as a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), prohibits the import or export of ivory and rhino horn but once an item finds its way into the country the commercial market is unregulated.
Domestic sellers do not need to provide any evidence at the point of sale demonstrating a specimen's legality, where it was sourced from or its age.
Decisive action is needed to implement a domestic ban on Australia’s commercial trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn, to help save these iconic species for future generations.