Senate debates

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Ministerial Statements

Dairy Industry

3:43 pm

Photo of Murray WattMurray Watt (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Northern Australia) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Madam Deputy President, for your guidance. This is the minister who shows no contrition for failing to quickly respond to this dairy crisis. This is the minister who is part of the government that, back in 2016, ignored the plight of our dairy farmers when Murray Goulburn clawed back the milk price. This is the minister who stood with her colleagues and voted against the dairy code of conduct. In fact, my father was a dairy farmer so I know a little bit about this topic, if not the Victorian dairy market.

National Party senators who claim they support our dairy farmers had yet another opportunity to show real support for Australian dairy farmers and to send their coalition partners a message they cannot take their support for granted. Instead, they voted against Senator Hanson's bill. Yet Senator Susan McDonald last week told Radio National: 'We're losing a dairy farmer a week from the industry Queensland. We're down to 311 and it has to stop today.' She also said this is a complete market failure. She said: 'I have long talked about the complete imbalance of power between Coles and Woolworths, and, you know, to an extent, Aldi. They hold so much market share. I think there are more steps to be taken to address supermarket power.' Isn't it funny—you'd almost think the government wasn't in power, that they hadn't been here for six years and actually could have done something about this. There's irony in a new senator who has just arrived here, after six years of this government, having to point out the failures of her very own government. At any point over the last six years National Party members could have stepped up and supported our dairy farmers, but they chose not to.

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