Defence Minister Marise Payne has questions to answer about whether she has misled the Parliament.
Her testimony before Senate Estimates on May 6 was evasive at best about the Government’s plans to compulsorily acquire high-value farming land in Queensland as part of arrangements to expand military training areas for use by the Singapore Armed Forces.
As Deputy Prime Minister and a Member of the National Security Committee of the Cabinet, Barnaby Joyce must have been fully aware of the situation but chose to say nothing. Yet he was happy to be part of the investment announcement, hailing it as a great thing for nearby economies and communities.
It is clear the Government hid the need for land acquisitions until after the July election. Minister Joyce is yet to front the graziers, businesses operators and workers who will be affected by the expansion of the two Queensland training areas. He may regret the delay - the welcome is unlikely to be a warm one.