SUBJECT: Barnaby Joyce debate stunt

JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE:  Morning all.  I am here to talk about my favourite subject, Barnaby Joyce. Well Barnaby Joyce is on the run today, refusing to debate me on his half-baked and ill-considered foreign investment policy for agricultural land.  I call upon Barnaby Joyce again to make room in the Parliament today to debate me on this issue.  An issue which is so important for the agriculture sector.  It has been a bad week for Barnaby Joyce.  Red faced in the Parliament over coal mining in his electorate yesterday.  Revelations in Senate Estimates about his potential involvement in the doctoring of his own Hansard last October, a matter I will continue to pursue.  Barnaby is just one part of a dysfunctional and incompetent government.  He needs to come in and defend his foreign investment review policy as it applies to agricultural land.  I am ready to take him on.  He should call it on today.

JOURNALIST:  Can you give us the reason why you wouldn’t travel out to see him on Friday?

FITZGIBBON:  Well this is a stunt by Barnaby Joyce.  Barnaby Joyce has met my challenge by organising a fictitious debate in northern NSW on Friday night in a week where the Parliament is sitting.  I look forward to some footage of Barnaby in the hall all on his own. We’re here in the Parliament today. I am ready to debate Barnaby Joyce on this issue.  He should come forward and have that debate.

JOURNALIST:  It would not be fictitious if he turned up would it?

FITZGIBBON:  Barnaby Joyce can run but he can’t hide.  I am here today in Canberra.  He is here today in Canberra. The organisation of a meeting in northern NSW without any consultation with me is a stunt and it just shows that Barnaby Joyce is on the run and unprepared to debate me on this important issue.

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