House debates

Thursday, 21 February 2019


Dairy Industry

9:41 am

Photo of Stephen JonesStephen Jones (Whitlam, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government) Share this | Hansard source

It is. I see the member for Kennedy waiting to make some contributions, so I'll keep mine short. Yesterday and today, the minister across the other side of the table accused us of base politics for sticking up for dairy farmers. It's not about politics but it is about the base. It's about their base, the base that they have deserted.

They were elected to this parliament to look after dairy farmers and the people on the land. Yesterday, they had an opportunity to stand up for them, to vote for a set of policies which would deliver some relief for dairy farmers—dairy farmers who are being crippled by drought, crushed by the retailers and deserted by the National Party. Did they vote in favour of the motion? Did they vote in favour of the policy? No, they deserted them, because they are lions in their electorate and they are absolute lambs when it comes to Canberra. They can't convince the Liberals to support decent agricultural policies.

I saw the member for Page. His electorate was named after a decent member, a decent former Prime Minister, who knew what it was to be an independent national. The member for Page thinks it's actually a good idea that we introduce a floor price, but he didn't have the courage to do it here in parliament when he had the opportunity. That's because he's a Clayton's National, not a real National, and that's why he sits over there on the crossbench.

There was the member for Gilmore. Farmers in Gilmore are destocking, and so is the Liberal Party. They've got three candidates in the field. The current member for Gilmore voted against today's proposition. The one who wants to be the new Liberal member for Gilmore is running around locally saying it's a good idea, the National Party candidate for Gilmore is saying it's a good idea, but their own member here is voting against it.

We actually have a good candidate, who comes from four generations of dairy farmers and knows how it is to struggle. If she comes here, she'll vote for the legislation which will see this policy made law. The message to the Nationals is: you can't hope one way and vote the other. You've got to back your dairy farmers.


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