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Labor urged to stand up for Australians, not US wheat lobby.



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De-Anne Kelly MP

Federal Nationals Member for Dawson Parliamentary Secretary to the Media Release Deputy Prime Minister and Minster for Trade

Labor urged to stand up for Australians, not US wheat lobby

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

THE Labor Party should stop championing the US wheat lobby’s propaganda and start looking out for Australian growers and their families, according to Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minster for Trade De-Anne Kelly.

Mrs Kelly said Labor’s shameful comments regarding the Deputy Prime Minister and Minster for Trade, Mark Vaile’s recent visit to Iraq displayed complete and utter ignorance of diplomacy and trade negotiation in the real world.

She said if Labor Leader Kim Beazley had read the diplomatic language contained in the joint statement issued by Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Chalabi and Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile he would have seen the commitment to our future wheat trade was an iron-clad guarantee - not just a capricious quote in a news report.

She said in the real world, governments dealt face-to-face on the important issues, not through the media.

“It appears the only people who wanted Mark Vaile’s mission to Iraq to fail were the Australian Labor Party and the US wheat lobby,” Mrs Kelly said.

“To suggest Mark's trip did not achieve anything highlights Mr Beazley's incredible inexperience and lack of understanding of economic affairs.

“Mark Vaile is committed to maintaining market access in Iraq for the more than 45,000 Australian wheat farmers and their families who depend on exports for their livelihoods.”

Mrs Kelly said Mr Vaile’s successful outcome was another example of why The Nationals were staunch supporters of the single desk for bulk wheat exports.

She said Australian wheat growers needed to be able to compete in a distorted world dominated by huge subsidised competitors.

“Single desk delivers real benefits to growers, rural communities and the Australian economy,” Mrs Kelly said.

“The single desk gives Australian wheat growers access to two billion consumers in more than 50 countries.

“It also ensures Australian growers are not ‘played off’ against each other in international markets.”

Media contact: Sharon Davidson 0419 401 214

Suite R2-85 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Phone: +61 2 6277 4818 Fax: + 61 2 6277 8516