Barnaby Joyce has not explained why he attempted to abolish the independent position of Inspector-General of Biosecurity in his Biosecurity Bills 2014 currently before the Senate.
With the Senate vote on the Bills looming, Barnaby’s partial back-down on the position makes it even more important he does so.
We know through the Senate inquiry process the Abbott Government did not adopt the recommendation of the Regulation Impact Statement which was to establish is a statutory officeholder in legislation responsible for the independent audit, review and assessment of the department’s biosecurity activities and processes. [Explanatory Memorandum, pg 404].
Surely such a significant change to Labor's Biosecurity Bill which provided for a stronger food security and safety system demands an explanation.
Barnaby Joyce should also explain why he won’t fully restore all the independence, powers and security of tenure the Inspector-General under Labor's legislation.
In the absence of an explanation, the Australian community will be left with only one conclusion - it was an attempt by Barnaby Joyce to avoid scrutiny and accountability.