SUBJECT/S:. Berry contamination, Hansard, Katter concerns

JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE:  Well, relevations in Senate Estimates yesterday make it clear now that the Prime Minister’s first response to the berry contamination was to protect himself rather than to protect the Australian people.  We now know it was five days before the Prime Minister and his Minister acted at all. And six days after the event when the Prime Minister finally spoke in detail on the issue, he misled the Australian people by indicating they were now screening 100 per cent of berry imports.  That was patently untrue.  It is now time the Prime Minister showed he is serious about this issue, that he is prepared to act and act quickly to protect the Australian consumer.  In Senate Estimates yesterday also we learned more about Barnaby Joyce’s failed attempts to doctor the Hansard last year, you will recall that answering a question from me on drought he chose to mislead the Australian people, to mislead the Parliament and of course he embellished the outcomes of his drought package.  He later came back to the Parliament and admitted the “error” as he described it, and blamed a member of his staff.  It has taken two Senate Estimates sessions, and months, and two FOIs- one to the Department and one to the Minister’s Office, before we learn there are documents relating to this issue that are yet to be handed over.  The Secretary of Barnaby Joyce’s Department was forced to come back into Estimates last night and admit, having considered the matter over the dinner break, that there is a document that hasn’t yet been released.  I beli