House of Representatives 3 June 2015

Mr FITZGIBBON (Hunter) (13:58):  I acknowledge Nuffield scholars with us in the gallery today, as I remind the House that the Abbott government's response to the drought has been an abject failure. Nowhere is that more true than in South Australia, where not one drought concessional loan—not one loan—has made its way to a drought stricken farmer. So you can imagine how bemused I was when, earlier in the week, I heard the member for Barker trying to blame the South Australian government for this policy failure—for the fact that not one farmer in South Australia has received a drought concessional loan. This is the state which Minister Joyce took money away from to help farmers in other states. We all know that the South Australian government administers the program on behalf of the Commonwealth, on terms agreed to by the Commonwealth. If the member for Barker, who I understand might be going through a bit of a preselection process, wants to attribute blame, he should look at the person who, to use Gina Rinehart's son's words, 'sits two down from the Prime Minister'. It is this failed minister he should be talking to, rather than ridiculously trying to blame the South Australian government for this policy failure. There is a reason that South Australian farmers are not getting drought assistance: because this government is an incompetent one.

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