SUBJECTS: Queensland sugar industry dispute.
THURSDAY 2 MARCH 2017
JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, FORESTRY AND RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA: Well another day and another full-court-press from the Nats, the LNP and I noticed on this occasion a few Liberals as well. I looked at each and every one of them and I could see that each of them is a Member of Parliament who currently feels under threat. There is something in the air when the conservatives in the bush are having a full-court-press on a daily basis. Yesterday it was to announce a website. Today, as I understand it, is to announce a review. What I thought I was coming down here to respond to was Barnaby Joyce on the Queensland sugar dispute. Barnaby Joyce went to talk with growers last week and he said that if the Queensland Parliament didn’t sort the problem out this week, then he would act at the federal level. I will share with you exactly what Minister Joyce said last week - he said, “We have options at the federal level.” He also said, “I’ve got other cards up my sleeve and I will play them at my will.” He also described what he is about to do as something that would hurt Wilmar.
Well here we are into the afternoon of the day after the Queensland Parliament vote and Barnaby says nothing about the Queensland sugar dispute. Barnaby Joyce is all hat, no cowboy. He’s all spin, no substance. Queensland growers today will be asking where is the Barnaby Joyce who came to speak with us in Central Queensland last week and said, if the Queensland Parliament fails to act, he would act? Today he spent half an hour in a press conference without making any reference to sugar. He and his colleagues have deserted Queensland growers and I suspect that’s why George Christensen wasn’t in the media scrum you just saw here this afternoon. Barnaby Joyce is on the run, but George Christensen has already bolted.