House debates

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Constituency Statements

Cowan Electorate: Halal Foods

9:44 am

Photo of Luke SimpkinsLuke Simpkins (Cowan, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I recently presented a petition in parliament calling for all meats that had been slaughtered in the manner of the Islamic religion to be clearly labelled as such. The petition, which was presented to me by the Barnabas Fund, stated that, while they support the freedom of religious groups to access food and other products that meet with the requirements of their faith, they are concerned about the massive growth of sharia-compliant products being sold to Australians, whatever their faith, often without being informed or consulted. As a result of the petition, I investigated in my electorate in Western Australia and found that almost every animal, apart from pigs, is killed in accordance with the Islamic religious requirements known as halal. So, when you go to Coles, Woolworths, IGA or other supermarkets, you cannot purchase the meat for your Aussie barbecue without the influence of this minority religion. You have no choice. And the point is that almost no Australians are aware of this, because it is not labelled.

Why is this the case? Why is it that we are being provided with meat that is slaughtered in accordance with the practices of the Islamic religion? I expect it is convenience and marketing for these meat providers, but it is important that everyone should also be aware that Mohammed, the prophet of Islam—as reported in the Hadith, the traditions of Islam, the book second only to the Koran—talked of how Islam would be furthered to those parts of the world that had not yet embraced it. He reportedly said, 'The non-believers will become Muslims when, amongst other things, they eat the meat that we have slaughtered.' This is one of the key aspects to converting nonbelievers to Islam.

As many people would be aware, halal forms part of the sharia system. Most people know sharia to be a system of laws relating to the Islamic religion. Any religion's adherents, of course, can make personal choices about the way and the standards by which they live their lives. This is as true for Christians as it is for Muslims. We should have no trouble with personal standards. But a religion is not a social or a political system, and those who believe it to be so, by implication stand against our great democracy.

Consumers are being denied information about meat. Meat killed in accordance with the Islamic religion's requirements should be labelled accordingly. By having Australians unwittingly eating halal food we are all one step down the path towards the conversion, and that is a step we should only make with full knowledge and one that should not be imposed upon us without us knowing. What is happening is wrong. Too often the minorities in this country are looked after without regard to the majority. The time has come for this to stop. I call upon the following businesses in Western Australia and every business in Australia to clearly label halal meat and stop deceiving Australians: V&V Walsh, Western Meat Packers, Harvey Beef, WAMMCo, Hillside Tender Meats, Inghams and Steggles.

In closing, I would like to recognise two Western Australian companies, Mount Barker Free Range Chickens and Dardanup Butchers Company, who have not yet yielded to the pressure to impose halal food on everybody regardless of their faith.

Comments

Damien Kelly
Posted on 25 Nov 2011 5:36 pm (This comment has been reported to moderators)

If the Halal process doesn'te effect the quality of the meat does it really matter? The reason behind the Halal process is to avoid as much as possible any animal pain or discomfort. Surely even christians would agree with that motive?

John Clapton
Posted on 1 Dec 2011 9:49 am (Report this comment)

I know that Luke is a committed Christian - I refer him to the writings of St Paul in 1 Corinthians 8 where he says that food offered to idols does one neither good nor harm.

If you actually try to understand what Halal means it involves the recitation of prayer in the act of killing an animal that gives thanks to God for the life. It is an act of utmost respect for the animal whose life is sacrificed for our welfare. Just because we have been show some appalling images of animal abuse in Indonesia does not not permit us to extrapolate that Halal is a bad thing.

Luke is playing to a red-necked audience that is fundamentally prejudiced against Muslims, regardless of who they are. Not a good look Luke.

Nathan Campbell
Posted on 2 Dec 2011 1:34 am (Report this comment)

I respect that everyone has their right to their own religious beliefs but I agree with Luke. Let Muslims eat Halal meat. I don't want to.

Penelope Bell
Posted on 3 Dec 2011 11:41 pm (Report this comment)

I don't consider that whatever Halal means is even relevant, regardless of whether it be humane, lovey dovey or whatever. What IS relevant is that a minority group, yet again, has presumed too much and abused the moral right of the majority. It is the moral principle, (or lack of) involved here, which must be questioned, rather than the slaughter process itself.

John Clapton's all too emotive remark that, "Luke is playing to a red-necked audience..." is purely ignorant and unnecessary aggression, ignoring the wider implications.

Luke Simpkins is right to voice his objection to the ignorance of the greater public regarding this; a custom which is not accepted as a Western cultural practice. Worse, given that we open our Australian Parliament with Christian Prayers, observe Christian public holidays at both Christmas and Easter, swear oaths on a Christian Bible, etc. etc. and live in a nation with its origins founded upon Christianity, it begs the question, what right of presumption does Islam believe it has to dictate how meat for general consumption must be slaughtered in this country?

Who the hell do the Islamic co-ordinators of this practice think they are? It is the sheer audacity and effrontery of it which raises my ire, particularly given it has obviously been arranged by stealth. Why? Because they know the wider Australian public would not agree to it, no matter how harmless it may prove to be. There lies the moral perniciousness of the whole thing and THAT is the reason it should not be condoned and should be stopped.

By the way John, your ignorance abounds - Islam does not worship idols - so the Biblical text you quote is irrelevant.

Thanks should go to Luke for his clarity of foresight and balanced principles, including publishing the weak meat processors engaging in it. Are the being 'paid off' to do it? Why else would they bother and want to incur the additional expense invovled in the process?

Get some sense of nationhood and patriotism those of you who think this type of manipulation of your nation's customs by immoral stealth is OK.

Patricia Norman
Posted on 11 Dec 2011 12:22 am (Report this comment)

The issue is one of choice whether it bee the ritual slaughter of the animal which is barbaric and belongs in the dark ages or whether you do not want to eat ritualised meat. The fact that you are christian or atheist or any other belief you should be able to choose for yourself if you want to partake of that food. Muslims would not eat Kosher for instance even though it meets all their requirement for killing because it is Jewish meat why then should we be forced to do it. It would not be an issue if companies were not making a dollar at the expense of Australians. They do not want to spend money doing up their plant to run two systems so e are all paying the price. The Muslims are quick to rub their hands in glee that we are becoming Islamic, I know this because they have told me.

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