Labor can't stay on the fence

All the analysis of the political ramifications of the wheat export issue has centred on finding a solution acceptable to the current government.

Debate has been between the feuding Libs and Nats - but Labor has deliberately stayed out of it - sensing it is a not a vote winner for them. Instead they have been content to watch the Coalition partners slug it out.

However, with the polls suggesting that Kevin Rudd's early popularity shows no sign of abating, with potentially damaging issues bouncing right off with no impact at the polls, the agriculture community has to seriously consider the fact it will be working with the ALP once a new government is formed.

And, as such, we need to know more about what Labor thinks about a range of issues, but wheat exports in particular.

The official line is that Labor supports a single desk, but that sheds about as much light as a pencil torch at the MCG.

Farmer lobby groups need to sit down with the ALP and go through the government's decision last week and find out where Labor stands.

With so much of the government's plan contingent on actions further down the line, a clear understanding of ALP policy is crucial.

Date: Newest first | Oldest first

READER COMMENTS

Grain Farmer
31/05/2007 10:05:10 PM

Why would Kevin Rudd even comment on wheat marketing - there are no votes in it for him. When he wins the election he will make an informed decision based on purely independent advice as John Howard should have done.
Andrew Farran
1/06/2007 2:54:06 PM

Things have got this way as there is no unity around the silos - partly because certain major parties won't accept the retention of a "single desk". But if a coherent proposal is not put to government the outcome will be their's alone to decide. I can understand the NFF saying that this is not for them to fix. A coherent proposal should be built around a strengthened Wheat Export Authority (with teeth and answerable to Parliament) and the demerged AWB- International as operator. Afterall AWB-I has the infrastructure and the money - and surely grain growers don't want to be subjected to yet another surcharge for funding?)
Mr 59
4/06/2007 5:25:42 PM

The Federal Government has had a national 'Competition Policy' for some time now and has withheld monies from State governments, where they have not encouraged competition. Due to this, many industries have de-regulated in various states, including areas of agriculture such as de-regulating the export of course grains (barley) and oilseeds (canola). Now that the Federal government has the opportunity to follow its own policy and de-regulate the wheat industry, it has failed to do so. It is time the State governments now ask why de-regulation was encouraged at a state level and why monies have been withheld in various industries and demand they cough up any that has been held back in the past.
NSW farmer
6/06/2007 4:48:12 PM

Arguments like those of Mr 59 are common amongst the minority of industry people asking the Government to deregulate wheat marketing. They ask Government even when Government tells farmers to come to them with a workable single desk system. Clearly the Government would not make such an offer if only a minority wanted it that way. Why do they those from the minority keep attacking the Government? Well it is obviously because they do not have sufficient stength of reasoning to convince the vast majority of their fellow farmers to go down their selfish, short sighted path.
Grain of TruthRural Press grains writer Gregor Heard on the big issues facing the broadacre farmers today.

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