SUBJECTS: Decentralisation Inquiry, Barnaby Joyce avoiding scrutiny
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 1 JUNE 2017
JOEL FITZGIBBON MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY: After the debacle of the relocation of the APVMA to Barnaby Joyce’s electorate, now the Government is going to announce an inquiry into decentralisation. But it’s a Clayton’s inquiry. It’s a squib, it’s an inquiry you have when you’re not having an inquiry. Independent Cathy McGowan and I have been calling for a Joint Select Committee into decentralisation so we can properly examine both what the Government has already done and where, if possible, we could secure some benefits from decentralisation. But the Government won’t have a joint committee, it wants a House of Representatives Committee where it has the numbers and can totally control the inquiry and its recommendation and of course it can protect Barnaby Joyce from the expected attacks which will be coming in on him as a result of his various pork barrelling and boondoggle exercises.
I call upon the Government to join with us and have a real inquiry- a Joint Select Inquiry. They are doing this in the House today because they are fearful that we have the numbers to secure a Joint Select Inquiry or had the numbers because we know that National Party members were prepared to cross the floor if the Government hadn’t agreed for an inquiry. Now they have cover of course - we have a House Committee Inquiry we don’t need to be crossing the floor and we don’t any longer need a Joint Select Committee. They should establish a Joint Select Committee and let Senators and Members both properly scrutinise the Government’s actions so far their intentions and of course have to have a proper look at what decentralisation may be able to do in rural an regional Australia.
He is an extraordinary guy Barnaby Joyce. He might have set a new record yesterday in the Federation Chamber where for the first time to my knowledge, a Minister in the Appropriations in Detail debate process refused to answer any questions asked of him in that debate. That is extraordinary for a Minister to turn up to Budget debate and refuse to answer one question in his area of portfolio responsibility. He is so weak Barnaby Joyce, so hopeless in his portfolio that he is not prepared to face the scrutiny of the parliament and this decentralisation program of his should face the scrutiny of a Joint Select Committee.