IF newly appointed Labor Agriculture Minister Murray Watt turns up in Western Australia wearing an Akubra hat, RM Williams boots and moleskins, we are in big trouble.
You've all seen them - metropolitan-based members of parliament turning up at ag field days or country shows attempting to fit in by wearing the big hat and boots and proclaiming their deep love and understanding of the bush because great uncle George and great aunt Molly were farmers and we used to visit them at Christmas every third year.
Mr Watt has already got off to an interesting start, stating "I've got farming in my blood" in a Farm Weekly article last week.
"I grew up with the stories about running farms and the challenges farmers face," he went on.
As always, we should pay more attention to what MPs do than what they say.
And, thankfully, so far Mr Watt has not done anything.
But, despite what he professes to have pulsing through his veins, he has promised to end the WA-based live sheep trade.
Let us check in on Mr Watt's self-proclaimed rural credentials via Wikipedia.
He was born in Brisbane and his parents were both school teachers from working-class backgrounds.
He grew up in Brisbane's southern suburbs.
He went to school in Brisbane and graduated from the University of Queensland with degrees in commerce and law. A solicitor, a judge's associate, a public servant, he went on to the heady heights of working as chief of staff for former Queensland premier Anna Bligh.
He might not know his way around a shearing shed or a boomsprayer but evidently Mr Watt is handy in a political stoush.
According to Wikipedia, in a bruising preselection battle in 2017, a Watt-backed candidate got up against the wishes of local branch members.
One member of the branch claimed, "factional politics prior to Murray coming to the Gold Coast didn't happen".
His career path has been more modern Labor than Sidney Kidman. And now Mr Watt finds himself as the Agriculture Minister in the Albanese Labor government.
The best agriculture ministers do not necessarily have to have a strong background in the sector - but they do have to be willing to listen, leave the ideology at home and be a promoter of agriculture.
Shutting down a viable, well regulated, and vital export trade would be a poor start for Mr Watt.
And the Minister's justification for the decision?
"The live sheep export industry has been in decline for some time," he told Farm Weekly.
I hate to be the first to break the news to you Murray, but have you had a look at the decline in the levels of trade union membership in Australia recently?
The live trade is in rude good health in comparison.
I hope Mr Watt makes an effort to quickly get to WA to meet with sheep producers and other stakeholders in the live sheep industry.
They do not need to hear anymore about your deep connections to farming.
They need to hear that you are willing to listen to industry, look at the facts and data collected over the past decade and that you support the future of this industry.
Growing up hearing stories about farming is one thing.
The sheep industry is real life for WA farmers and it deserves your support.
And even if you're tempted Mr Watt, leave the Akubra at home.
I'm sure you'll find the WA sheep industry more interested in what is between your ears than whatever sits on top of your head.
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