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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 10267

Senator SIEWERT (Western AustraliaAustralian Greens Whip) (15:55): I have been so controlled over how the coalition has handled this debate—and I am not going to waste too much time—but Senator Nash has no understanding of the industry in, for example, WA and what has been going on with the farcical situation with the coalition there. She embarrasses herself. We have spoken to all the players in this. We know we have worked very hard to try to come up with a solution that moves us forward, because the coalition's solution is no solution and entrenches the industry in a mire.

Senator Nash: Mr Chairman, I rise on a point of order. The senator is misrepresenting me. If she had heard the beginning of my speech, she would know that I acknowledge the differences in Western Australia.

The CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order. That is debating the matter. Senator Siewert, you have the call.

Senator SIEWERT: Instead of sitting on our hands and watching the industry stagnate for two years, we have sought to find a solution. I do not usually take offense and raise the matter in this chamber when they continually attack us. They have an obsession with us—and that is fine because they are obviously worried about us. But, when they seek to denigrate the work that the industry has put in to try to find a solution here, that is when it presses my buttons. When she says we have rolled over when we have worked to try to find a solution, yes, I take offense. If you call me soft-skinned or thin-skinned, yes, I am on this one. Senator Nash may like to know that the very producers and organisations she has been talking about have contacted us and said they like the letters and the response that we have had from the government.

So let's get serious and talk about the real issues instead of trying to denigrate the work that has been done in this chamber, the very serious work that, I must say, has been put in on all sides of the chamber. There are other coalition members who do take this issues seriously and have been looking to find a solution so that we can move this industry forward and take a serious opportunity to look at the real issues to find a way forward with those sticking points that have been there for a long time and need to be resolved if we are really going to see this industry overcome the barriers to it proceeding effectively and efficiently.

Senator Ludwig, before you came into the chamber I was seeking your assurance that the wheat industry advisory task force would be as independent as possible from both the minister and the department.