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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1181


Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong) (13:51): It does not take the coalition to tell the Australian public that the Labor Party has had a bad couple of weeks. They know all too well. Labor Vice President, Tony Sheldon, called his New South Wales factional colleagues 'cockroaches'. The stunned caucus was not consulted about the 14 September election date. Trish Crossin was unequivocally dumped and there was a quick dash to the exit by two senior cabinet colleagues. But, rather than boosting her team with a reshuffle, the PM has weakened it. The member for Wills has been appointed as Parliamentary Secretary for Trade, and it could not be a stranger choice.

In a speech as a backbencher in Melbourne, on 18 July last year, the member for Wills criticised foreign investment in agriculture, saying it is 'entirely predictable that my raising this issue will be greeted with attempts to intimidate and shut down debate by dark mutterings of Hansonism, racism and xenophobia'.

Would you believe the Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, said just one month later, in August last year, 'The only product Hansonite opponents of foreign investment in Australian agriculture are interested in is harvesting votes'? There you have it: the Minister for Trade calling his parliamentary secretary a Hansonite for chasing votes. What a farce. How can Australia's trading partners in our $300 billion export sector take this government seriously when their minister and their parliamentary secretary do not even agree? This government is a joke, both at home and overseas.