MINISTER MCKENZIE’S DAIRY ANSWER AS CLEAR AS MUD
“Who asked for the wording to be changed”?
That’s the question Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie refused to answer four times on ABC Radio this morning, when asked about the Government’s latest draft of its proposed Mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct.
The Minister was given another opportunity to explain changes to the draft Code, during Senate Question Time today, when Senator Ayres asked:-
“On ABC’s AM this morning the Minister refused four times to make clear who had requested this change. Will the Minister now make clear which stakeholders requested this change of wording?”
The Minister’s answer was as clear as mud:-
“The principle that was consulted on, which goes directly to your question Senator, was to prohibit prospective step-downs unless in specific circumstances such as force majeure or exceptional market circumstances or major changes in global market circumstances.”
When pressed on repeatedly failing to answer the question, the Minister responded:
“There were no stakeholders requesting a change.”
It is unclear whether Bridget McKenzie means it was the Government’s idea to water-down the Mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct or someone consulted, but she did say “there were no Stakeholder requesting a change”.
If no stakeholders requested a change, why was the Government consulting on a watered-down Code?
It’s now 19 months since the ACCC recommended a Code of Conduct to protect our dairy farmers and to help them secure a fair price for their product. Yet Coalition MPs and Senators are still having a fight over the Code’s design.
Having allegedly promised One Nation she would bring forward the implementation of a Code from July 2020 to Christmas 2019, the only thing Senator McKenzie has produced is chaos. Our dairy farmers are still waiting for some support from their Government.