THE shotgun rhetoric of Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce was turned full-blast on the carbon tax at last week's Ebor Beef Steakholders Forum.
Senator Joyce pulled in animal liberationists, the bovine genome project and a frying pan in his attack on the tax, "the most absurd idea I've ever heard in politics".
In his estimation, the tax is lost opportunity cost; a redirecting of effort and finance that could otherwise be used to build the nation's long-term economic capacity.
"By 2050 you will be paying $56.9 billion a year in carbon credits ... you could build a freeway from Newcastle right through the New England to Brisbane - and keep it going, with all that money up your sleeve, all the way up to Gladstone."
The tax on a "colourless, odourless gas" is being driven by a political agenda hostile to the 200-strong audience of mostly beef producers at the forum, Senator Joyce told the crowd.
"The political form of this carbon tax debate, and make no mistake about it, is to move the agenda and the financing to a form that will work against your interests. It comes hand in glove with animal liberationists and everything else that's part of it.
"The Green Energy Fund, which we passed the other day - I voted against it - apparently allows us to invest $10 billion into green schemes. They are not out there to help you. These people come hand in glove and work in a mob with PETA and whole range of other organisations.
"They'll deny that, but I sit next to them, I understand how they work, and I understand exactly, politically, where this is heading to."
The Senator wielded his gift for metaphor to position the tax as a broad-based consumption tax. "It's impossible to get around it."
"You wake up in the morning, you look at the clock radio, and you see a little red light to remind you that you've been paying the tax all through the night. You go out and put on some bacon and eggs, and the tax is in the frying pan. You go the fridge and it's cooling itself."
Senator Joyce dished on the "moral crusade" that will "do nothing to change the temperature of the globe", but didn't propose alternative solutions to climate change, a phenomenon that he has expressed scepticism over in the past.
His alternative is to build on investments like Armidale's University of New England (UNE), from which he graduated as an accountant.
"We can't do if we start taking the money from investment in real outcomes and start putting it into spurious causes."
The Senator cited the Bovine Genome Project, which he said should be completed "pretty soon" - apparently unaware that it was completed in 2009 - as the sort of investment that yielded relevant outcomes.
"It will give us the capacity to test for tenderness, marbling, yield, in the paddock," Senator Joyce said. "That's a great outcome, and it can be driven by an area such as Armidale."
Among the many objectives of the Beef CRC, headquartered at UNE, has been to use DNA technologies to identify cattle that produce less methane, and to drive the breeding of more productive cattle in general, delivering more beef for less emissions.