April 23, 2019 – Table of contents
Not my job
“Not my job,” Barnaby Joyce thundered down the line to Patricia Karvelas in yesterday’s radio interview. Mr Joyce had been pressed to say if he knew Eastern Australia Agriculture had links to a tax haven in the Cayman Islands before he signed off on the record payment of $80 million for water licenses. He responded by saying he trusted the department to do the right thing.
Nicole Hasham reported, “Former water minister Barnaby Joyce signed off on a controversial water buyback deal without questioning key details, including links to the Cayman Islands, because it was “not my job” to know who would benefit from the decision, he says.” ‘Not my job’: Barnaby Joyce angrily rejects criticism over controversial water buyback.
The Cabinet Handbook appeared to have been thrown out the window. With it went it ministerial responsibility, one of the fundamental principles of the Westminster system of parliament. Now in its eleventh edition, The Department of the Prime Minister produces the Cabinet Handbook which lists ministerial responsibility at section thirty-two.
In an interview with Virginia Trioli this morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked about Mr Joyce’s comment that it was not his job. Mr Morrison backed Mr Joyce’s approval for the licenses saying he acted according to the legislation.
Anna Vidot reported in 2015, that Barnaby Joyce had declared, “There is not one thing that can go through Cabinet without the cabinet minister responsible having the say. I’m actually responsible for it if it goes wrong. Responsibility resides with me.” Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says water responsibility rests with him.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud told the media that he had asked the auditor-general to review all water buybacks since 2008 and he didn’t see any need for a royal commission into the Murray-Darling basin scheme.
Also during the radio interview, Mr Joyce insisted he was against the purchase and inferred he’d been pushed into it by Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Anthony Lynham.
Mr Joyce fronted the media today to point the finger at the Queensland government, inist the sale was conducted at arm’s length and strongly believed the Auditor-General would find no problem with his involvement.
Minister Lynham responded today with a statement declaring support for potential purchase of the Eastern Agriculture Australia (EAA) properties in 2015. However, the Queensland government ceased discussions on the matter in late 2015. The Commonwealth dealt directly with EAA and the purchase of water rights was finalised in August 2017. Statement from Natural Resources Minister re: EAA purchases.
Hello again, Helloworld
The controversial travel company partly owned by Liberal Party treasurer, Andrew Burnes, has popped into the election to say hi. Helloworld Travel hit the headlines earlier this year when it was revealed Finance Minister Mathias Cormann had not paid for international travel booked through the company. Weeks after the travel, a $1 billion contract for Mr Cormann’s department was awarded to Helloworld. Former federal treasurer and current Australian ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, was also revealed to be a shareholder in the company.
Mr Cormann said he was unaware the cost had not been charged to his credit card and contacted the company to ensure the $2,700 was paid. He also stated that he had no involvement in the tender process for his department.
Today it was revealed Mr Burnes made a large donation to the Liberal Party during the government tender process. A spokesman said everything was fully complied with under donation laws.
Patrick Begley reported, “A private company co-owned by the Liberal Party’s federal treasurer donated $200,000 two weeks into a government tender process for an accommodation contract worth nearly $1 billion that another of his companies ultimately won.” Helloworld chief made $200,000 donation to Liberal Party during government tender.
Climate denialism and conspiracy
Queensland Liberal National Party (LNP) senate candidate Gerard Rennick has been revealed as a climate change denier. He believes there is a conspiracy by the weather bureau to tamper with data.
Dan Conifer reported, “The weather bureau has been tampering with temperature data in order to “perpetuate global warming hysteria”, according to an under-fire Coalition candidate.” LNP Senate candidate accuses weather bureau of fudging data to suit ‘global warming agenda’.
The conspiracy theory that the Bureau of Meteorology is fudging figures is not new within the Queensland LNP. In 2014, MP for Dawson, George Christensen, told the parliament he was going to get an inquiry going into them.