In the Senate today the Turnbull-Joyce Government tried to vote down Labor’s reference for a Senate Committee inquiry into the outbreak of the White Spot virus in Australia’s prawn industry.
Government Senators were trying to kill Labor’s broad reference which seeks to test the effectiveness of the Commonwealth’s response to the outbreak and the impact on the wild and farm prawn sectors, and the retail and wholesale sectors.
Government Senators wanted to defeat Labor’s reference so they could replace it with their own. The Government’s reference was a whitewash and an attempt to protect Barnaby Joyce and the Government from the exposure of their failings.
Barnaby Joyce has consistently said that while his Department knew and was investigating biosecurity failings associated with the outbreak since August 2016 and possibly before, he was not told until December. That is very hard to believe.
Prawn farmers who have lost millions of dollars and face an uncertain future deserve answers.