NATIONALS DESERT OUR DAIRY FARMERS, AGAIN
National Party Senators Perin Davey, Susan McDonald and Sam McMahon have today deserted Australia’s dairy farmers by voting against a Bill which would give farmers a fairer price for their milk product.
The bill, which would have bolstered Australia’s dairy industry, missed being passed in the Senate by one vote – 31 to 30.
Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said the Dairy Industry bill – brought by Pauline Hanson One Nation – would have established a minimum farm-gate price for milk and ensured swift adoption of a Dairy Code of Conduct, long-promised by the Government.
“If the non-Cabinet Nationals Senators had stuck to their guns and crossed the floor to back this bill, it would have passed,” said Mr Fitzgibbon. “Today the Nationals had a chance to stand up for dairy farmers but instead they chose to sell-out and stick to the Prime Minister’s plan to do nothing.”
Mr Fitzgibbon said the vote on the Dairy Industry Bill failed by 31 votes to 30, with the Liberals and Nationals being assured of a win with the support of Rex Patrick from Centre Alliance.
He said the retail price of milk had remained unsustainably low while farm input costs had grown, and “tough talk” by Coalition Ministers about action against the big supermarket chains had proven weak and ineffective.
“Labor took a dairy policy to the 2019 election, which included the consideration of a Minimum Farmgate Milk Price,” said Mr Fitzgibbon. “As dairy farmers face a price-squeeze during a terrible drought, we needed some political leadership on the dairy industry.”
With the dairy bill defeated Mr Fitzgibbon called on the Morrison Government to accelerate the implementation of an effective Mandatory Code of Conduct to address market power imbalance.
“The Nationals talk a big game when it comes to supporting farmers and regional communities but today they again allowed themselves to be bullied by a Liberal Prime Minister who has shown no care for our dairy farming families. Black Jack McEwan will be turning in his grave”.