PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA SUBJECT/S: NATIONAL PARTY BEING CONNED, DROUGHT FUNDING AND LANDCARE 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIION
E&OE TRANSCRIPT DOORSTOP THURSDAY, 5 JUNE 2014 PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA SUBJECT/S: NATIONAL PARTY BEING CONNED, DROUGHT FUNDING AND LANDCARE 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIION
JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE: You know something is wrong when Barnaby Joyce is out doing the doors. I suggest that something is rotten in the Coalition and the Nats have well and truly been caught with their moleskins down. This is an indictment on the National Party, it’s a reinforcement that this Budget that disproportionately falls on rural and regional Australia. And we know now the Libs aren’t just lying to the Australian people but they are lying to their Coalition partners.
It comes after yesterday’s debacle with drought policy, Barnaby Joyce three months ago said he would deliver drought funding for struggling farming families, now three months on he holds a Press Conference only to announce that soon farming families will be able to apply for drought funding. Now there is a long gap between applying and receiving drought funding we know that from past experience.
Today I will be going out of the building to attend the 25th Anniversary of Landcare, despite invitations to many senior Government members, including Barnaby Joyce, I will be the only member of Parliament there, which is great for me, as I get to cut the ribbon. So happy birthday to Landcare, but it’s a sad birthday given the Government has cut $480 million out of Landcare funding.
This is bad news for the bush today, this is a very bad Budget for rural and regional Australia and I think the National Party needs to start standing up for the bush electorates they represent.
JOURNALIST: In the lead up to Budgets in the last five, six years there has always been rumours about the Diesel Fuel Rebate being cut and they never eventuated. What’s different about what happened this time?
FITZGIBBON: There has never been any doubt in my mind that the Diesel Fuel speculation was a “straw man”, something created by someone to make the Budget less, if you like, distasteful on the night of the Budget. What I could not have envisaged was a plan cooked up by Liberals to dupe National Party members into supporting a Fuel Tax increase which will hit rural motorists hardest. Thanks everyone.
JOURNALIST: But far as being “caught with their moleskins down” Barnaby Joyce says he has gone and sought assurances from Mathias Cormann, Joe Hockey and he says he’s been told it is not true and he trusts them.
FITZGIBBON: Barnaby Joyce has come out on doors this morning to tell us, and the Australian people, that he’s been to his colleagues, those that have been rumoured to have duped him and sought an assurance they didn’t trick him. Well, I am not reassured and I will be very surprised if anyone living in rural and regional Australia will be feeling assured by those comments. Thank you.