Julia Gillard’s re-allocation of portfolios has exposed the hypocrisy of Labor’s election campaigning on the Murray Darling Basin, Coalition Basin spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
Under the new arrangements, South Australian Senator Penny Wong will no longer be Water Minister, a role to be taken by Sydney’s Tony Burke.
Senator Wong’s South Australian colleague and factional heavyweight Don Farrell is to be appointed as a Parliamentary Secretary with responsibilities including water.
“Today’s claims that Senator Farrell’s appointment ensures consideration of South Australia’s interests in the Murray stand in stark contrast to Senator Wong’s own campaign statements belittling a Parliamentary Secretary’s significance,” Senator Birmingham said.
”If Tony Abbott wins the election, Barnaby Joyce will decide the fate of the Murray, so he’s the person South Australians need to hear from … What Simon Birmingham thinks simply won’t matter when Barnaby Joyce takes the Murray back to days of parochial control by the Queensland National Party.”
Penny Wong, The Advertiser, 5 August 2010
“…the Prime Minister was very clear when she rang me on the weekend to offer me this position that she wanted somebody from South Australia involved in the Water portfolio. I think she understands how important it is for South Australia, and to the extent that I’m able to influence the issue I’ll certainly be making sure that the South Australian point of view is heard and heard clearly”
Don Farrell, 891 ABC Adelaide, 13 September 2010
“Senator Wong during the campaign repeatedly described Senator Joyce as being from Queensland, clearly playing a parochial dog whistle that highlighted her role as a South Australian based Water Minister,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Labor’s election day posters even went so far as to pose the question whether South Australians wanted
‘a Queensland farmer in control of the River Murray?’
“In contrast to Labor’s attempts at divisive parochialism, we’ll judge Minister Burke on the basis of whether he achieves more with his portfolio than Senator Wong’s mountain of missed opportunities, not on the basis of where he lives.”