Leader of The Nationals – Transcript – Doorstop, Canberra Press Gallery
The Hon David Littleproud MP
Leader of The Nationals
Shadow Minister for Agriculture
Member for Maranoa
Transcript – Doorstop Canberra Press Gallery – Monday 25 July 2022
David, the first sitting week of the 47th parliament. How are you feeling about sitting on the other side?
Well disappointed but still honoured to be here. We’ve got a job now to try and convince Australians that we need to be re-elected as a government in three years time. And that starts today and that starts with hard work but it also starts with listening, understanding and rebuilding that trust.
In terms of this week there’s lots of talk that’ll probably be overshadowed for the new Government by the Treasurer. An update on Thursday. I guess what are your constituents telling you? How much of a challenge lies ahead?
Well, cost of living and labor constraints are the biggest, biggest things that people in my electorate and right across Australia are telling us is that that’s what the Government needs to address. Cost of living is killing our households out there. Mums and dads are having trouble putting tucker on the table.
And it’s time the Government understood their role in this in making sure that the spending pressures that they put out there are ones that are targeted that grow the economy and they’re not just wasting it like they did last time in 2007 when they last had a crack at owning the cheque book. So it’s important they get this right. And that was the move that we were taking. We got us through the pandemic and we were taking this economy to a new gear, we’ll be taking it down slowly.
And this Government’s got to make sure that when they give updates and they get to the budget, they’re making targeted spending that doesn’t have shock effects not only on households, but the entire economy
And the latest on foot-and-mouth, obviously this is a big thing for the Nationals and people in your electorate as well. Anything else you think we can do or should be doing?
Well look we’ve been saying that not only have these matters been in three weeks ago, it took it took Murray Watt three weeks to make a decision, even though he he said it was absolutely crap to start with.
There has been tens of thousands of people who have come through those airports that have had nothing on their boots that could have made foot and mouth disease because of his indecision. What we’re saying now is to take the pressure off the borders, no one should be allowed in this country from Indonesia bringing food product. That would that would leave a real opportunity for our biosecurity officers to do even more screening at the airport. So this is just common sense. But this Government has lost control of the borders.
We’re hearing people being waved through after declaring that they’ve been on farms is just scandalous. This is a biosecurity crisis that they’ve created in just eight weeks, have been in government. This is a Government that’s lost control of its borders. Just imagine what’s going to happen in eight months.
Mr. Littleproud, the Farmers Federation says it’s happy with the current biosecurity measures. Do you not think you Fiona Simpson knows best?
No. I’m not saying that Fiona Simpson knows best. I’m not saying I know best. What I’m saying is you have to have a suite of measures, including increased screening. And to do that, the best way to be able achieve that would be to stop all people coming in from Indonesia to bring in food products with them.
That would make the biosecurity officers job a lot easier. New Zealand has done it. Yet we’re still dithering with a bloke from the Gold Coast who knows nothing about agriculture. And quite frankly, this job’s a bit of a stretch for him.
But what he’s doing is leaving at risk an $80 billion hit to our economy. That’s just as good as JobKeeper. But then as the hit to you is, every time you go to the check-out, you should think of Murray Watt and Anthony Albanese because of their indecision.
Tens of thousands of people come through these through this border without putting their feet on mats because they didn’t think it was a great idea three weeks ago. That’s the indecision. That’s the lack of knowledge that’s bringing our economy to its knees.
Is it Murray Watt’s indecision or is the issue the advice he’s getting?
Well, it took me within 15 minutes of sitting down with a department three and a half weeks ago to come to the determination that we needed foot mats and foot baths. I made that very clear. I also said that we had to have full screening. That was three and a half weeks ago. Murray Watt got the same advice I did. But because he doesn’t understand agriculture, he’s not prepared to tell his department about mitigating the vulnerabilities and the risks that are there.
He’s left us open and left tens of thousands pour through the border without anything. And basically, he’s now creating chaos at our border with no one getting pulled up with any real substance whatsoever meaning that we’re putting the Australian economy at risk and we’re putting Australian agricultural risk. Thanks guys.