SUBJECTS: Government Inaction on Drought; Michael McCormack
JONES: Joel Fitzgibbon is the Member for Hunter. He got into a dog fight yesterday, and I don’t want to go through the dog fight, but this bloke McCormack – and everyone knows my views about McCormack, I think he’s completely incompetent – McCormack started shouting at Joel Fitzgibbon, but I just wanted to talk to Joel Fitzgibbon for two minutes, really, this morning because he then, across the despatch box kept on saying two words – this was about the rural crisis. Joel Fitzgibbon, forget everything else. He kept on saying, “do something, do something” to the National Party leader and they’re supposed to representing these people who are on their knees. Joel Fitzgibbon, good morning.
FITZGIBBON: Great to be with you, Alan
JONES: Thank you. Well, I mean, that’s my concern – is everyone’s concern out there – do something. I mean nothing, nothing is happening.
FITZGIBBON: They are doing nothing, Alan, and that’s what makes me so angry when the Deputy Prime Minister stands at the despatch box in the National Party – sorry, National Parliament – patting himself on the back for what they’re doing for our farmers, our farming communities, when we all know they’re doing two fifths of nothing.
JONES: Yes, well that’s right, I mean I looked at the, I looked at the Hansard of the Tuesday when they met, and they were talking about everything. You talked about the bush situation and so did Bert van Manen, and no one else, and the people I talk to – I mean, you’ve got these dust storms at the weekend, the you’ve got the drought, then you’ve got the bushfires.
People are saying “listen.” We’ve got one farmer said to me the night before last, “My – I’m 1.3 billion; I’m 1.3 million in the red, just to keep my stock alive.” 1.3 million in the red. He said “we’ve got no financial muscle left, and no psychological muscle left,” and there was McCormack telling the Parliament, “oh we’re behind you. We’re doing all sorts of things,” and you kept on shouting, “do something.” I’m saying, Joel, that I believe Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese should join together in a united front to say, “together we’re going to keep rural Australia alive,” because if they go under, we all go under Joel.
FITZGIBBON: And we’ve made that offer, Alan. Anthony Albanese did an extraordinary thing at the Bush Summit – he publicly said to Scott Morrison, “Prime Minister, whatever you want to do we are up for it. I don’t care how much money is involved, we will support you.” That’s an extraordinary thing for an opposition leader to say – to write a blank cheque like that.
But we’ve had the drought envoy, the drought coordinator, the drought summit, the drought, drought taskforce, but no action, Alan, and it’s a calamity out there, and like you, I speak to farmers on a regular basis they are desperate, they need help, and I just get so angry when ministers stand there in the Parliament praising what they’re doing, when farmers – I don’t know who they think they’re kidding because farmers know that they’re not getting any assistance.
JONES: Nothing, nothing, nothing. Not some, nothing. Alright, Joel, keep at it.
FITZGIBBON: Okay, Alan.
JONES: Nature has declared has declared war on us, I’d like to think we’d respond more to a situation if it were a genuine war than we are responding now. This is war; farmers have nothing left to give. I said on Tuesday, they feel condemned to death row. If rural Australia goes under, we all go under. We going to start importing, are we? Food stuffs.