Barnaby Joyce's response to the current drought crisis has been confused and chaotic, leaving farmers with little confidence that the Abbott Government is capable of addressing their needs.
Since his appointment as Minister, Barnaby Joyce has had three positions on drought:-
First he said farmers would have to wait 12 months while his White Paper was being written.
Then he argued current drought policy was adequate.
And today he has said that more needs to be done to address drought issues but can’t say what he will do, what proposals he will take to the Federal Cabinet, and if the Cabinet would even support it.
And Treasurer Joe Hockey’s response to the drought crisis this morning? – He told the struggling farmers:
“Well they should speak to the people that they owe the money to.” [ABC Brisbane – 3 February 2014]
Given the Treasurer’s slap-down of Minster Joyce and in the wake of the Coalition’s callous disregard for jobs at Holden, SPC or Qantas, Australian farmers won't be holding their breath for support from this government.
As the drought grows worse, farming families are understandably frustrated by the mixed messages and tin ears in Canberra.
If Barnaby Joyce has zero solutions for farmers, he should just front up and say it.