Thursday, 4 August 2022
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for—wait for it!—Trade and Tourism, Senator Farrell. I refer the minister to the importance of technical innovations in land management, agronomics and seed varieties. Will the minister guarantee that trade agreements and negotiations will not contain any provisions that detrimentally impact Australian farmers' ability to access the most modern farming techniques?
Well, I certainly will stand up for Australian farmers—and manufacturers, wine producers, barley producers, meat producers, crayfish producers, all the people that you failed to look after over the last nine years. What a disgrace. We lost those markets. The sorts of farmers that Senator Brockman is talking about on the Eyre Peninsula or the Yorke Peninsula—they make amazing products, and we are going to look after them. And I can assure Senator Brockman that, in every single free trade agreement that we enter into, we will ensure the interests of our farmers are protected in a way that was never done—that was never, ever done—by the former government in the last nine years.
Now, I can tell you a few things about this, Senator Brockman. This opposition, when they were in government, negotiated a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom which would have very significantly benefited both farmers in your state, Senator Brockman, and farmers in my state. What happened? That was negotiated last December. There are requirements under our legislation to implement those free trade agreements—
I thought they were being so well behaved. I wasn't sure why it was.
An honourable senator interjecting—
I can tell you. That free trade agreement was negotiated last year, and by all accounts it was a very good agreement. I'm not criticising the agreement. But not a single step—
A point of order, President, both in terms of relevance to the question asked by Senator Brockman but also in terms of honesty, seeing it was members of the Labor Party on the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties who wanted more hearings, and delayed conclusion of consideration of—
Senator Birmingham, resume your seat. I am going to remind senators that a point of order is not an opportunity to debate points. You make your point of order; I make a ruling, which you may or may not agree with; and then we continue. I believe the minister is being relevant. He has five seconds remaining. Please continue, Minister.
Will the minister guarantee to protect the right of Australian farmers to use important agricultural chemicals, such as glyphosate and atrazine, that have been approved by the Australian regulator and are used by Australian dryland farmers to prevent erosion and preserve soil moisture?
Thank you, Senator Brockman, for your question. We'll continue to do exactly what we said we would do in opposition—we are now in government—and that is to ensure that we negotiate the best possible enterprise—what am I saying?—free trade agreements—
Honourable senators interjecting—
Minister, I have asked you to resume your seat. And I would ask senators, particularly on this side—
Senator Brockman, I will come to you. I ask senators to listen quietly and not be so disorderly that it took me about four times shouting to sit the minister down. Senator Brockman.
I believe the minister is being relevant, but, quite frankly, with the disorderly shouting and carrying on, particularly from the left, it was impossible for me to hear the minister. Minister, you have 21 seconds remaining. I believe you have been relevant and I would expect you to remain relevant to the question. Please continue.
Thank you, President, for that exhortation, and I certainly will continue to remain relevant.
Senator Cash, calm down. Calm down, Senator Cash. We will do everything we can in terms of our international negotiations. This morning, I met with all of the ambassadors— (Time expired)
CKMAN () (): Will the minister guarantee to protect the right of Australian farmers to use GM technology, such as genetically modified canola, which is approved by the Australian regulator for use by Australian grain farmers?
ator FARRELL (—) (): I thank Senator Brockman for the question. I won't disappoint Senator Cash. I met with all of the European ambassadors this morning to discuss the very subject matter that you're talking about in terms of a European free trade agreement. These discussions allow both parties to raise issues.
From our point of view, we'll be seeking to represent the best interests of all our agriculture producers, as well as manufacturers, our miners and everybody else—all of those groups who've got an interest in this free trade agreement. We intend to get the best possible results for this country, and that includes everybody who works in the farming sector.
You can take it as a guarantee, Senator McGrath, because all of the skills— (Time expired)
Honourable senators interjecting—
Time's up! I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.