Sep 13, 2012

Barnaby’s Cubbie revolt ends with a whimper, not a bang

Crikey Canberra intern Sally-Anne Curtain writes: It started off with Senator Barnaby Joyce describing the sale of Cubbie Station as a “bloody disgrace”, and that Wayne

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Crikey Canberra intern Sally-Anne Curtain writes: It started off with Senator Barnaby Joyce describing the sale of Cubbie Station as a “bloody disgrace”, and that Wayne Swan had “snuck this decision out with the garbage on Friday”, but his colourful crusade against the decision seems to have come to a grindingly dull halt. After calling a media conference today on other matters, Joyce was predictably bombarded with questions about the sale of Cubbie Station to Chinese-led interests, which had whipped the Nationals, and Senator Joyce in particular, into a frenzy. In response, Joyce declared that the Nationals had “passed a motion through the Senate… that calls on Mr Wayne Swan, the Treasurer of Australia, to come out and clearly explain his position.” Ironically, this comes after both the Coalition and the Government voted down a motion put to the Senate by the Greens calling on the Government to halt the sale of Cubbie Station. Despite the rather inconclusive nature of the Nationals motion, Joyce maintained that “the National Party was absolutely instrumental in making sure that we got that motion through. We have to be realistic, we have to bargain for what we can get, and the motion was what we got.” Joyce also took the opportunity to hit back at criticism he’d received for his outspoken disapproval of the sale, as well as criticising the government for their handling of the Abel Tasman "supertrawler." “We had the ridiculous position where only a matter of days ago I was getting absolutely pilloried by the Labor Party, and others, because apparently my position on Cubbie station was a sovereign risk, that it was populist.” “Then literally days later, they make a decision which is populist and a sovereign risk. Now the difference between the two positions seems to be seals and dolphins. So if we can get seals and dolphins into the dam at Cubbie Station maybe we’ll get a different outcome.” As comical as that juxtaposition was, Joyce sounded gloomy and defeated when he admitted that despite all of his efforts, there was nothing more he could do to alter the outcome of Cubbie Station. “The point is, I can’t stop it. That’s the reality.” What did Shakespeare write? A tale "full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing"?

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5 thoughts on “Barnaby’s Cubbie revolt ends with a whimper, not a bang

  1. Recalcitrant.Rick

    I agree with Barnaby, foreign ownership off Australian assets shouldn’t be allowed! We should buy the Australian and other foreign owned newspapers back from that foreign owner… Oh wait, the Australian isn’t an asset!!!

  2. dazza

    @eric.. News ltd are going for the Greens more so Eric. The editorial from not so long ago asked for the Greens to be destroyed. Ever since that remark, Murdock hacks have been on the job making sure anything they say/do is reported in a negative fashion. Even the insider Jack column is full of hatred towards the left.

  3. Holden Back

    Once you start calling the FIRB rulings into question, and suggesting that regulations might need changing, all sorts of possibilities come to mind.

    Ownership of 70% of a nation’s media outlets in the hands of a foreign national? I wait with bated breath to hear Mr Joyce’s complaints about that.

  4. eric

    Murdoch and his gutter rags are running a massive anti Julia/ALP hate campaign and even blind freddie would see it.

    Its just a pity that others like the ABC fall in behind the screeching tabloids that past as newspapers these days

    The sooner they die the better!

  5. Steve777

    Of course the Murdoch tabloids didn’t miss a chance to use the sale of Cubbie Station to advance their campaign for regime change. The headline on the front page of both the paper and electronic versions of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and its stablemates in other cities was “Labor sells off the farm to China”, for example:
    w w w.couriermail.com.au/news/national/labor-to-sell-the-farm/story-fndo1uez-1226462753550

    This linked to what was actually a balanced story on the sale, indicating that the Treasurer had given the sale a tick after it was OK’d by the Foreign Investment Review Board. In fact the headline is ridiculous when you consider that the station was sold by private owners and not by ‘Labor’ (meaning the Australian Government? The ALP?).

    Of course if the Telegraph thought the FIRB guidelines needed reform, for example, to block or limit Chinese investment, or if they thought that the Treasurer should have overridden the FIRB approval, they could have written an opinion piece and linked it to the story. In fact I would be surprised if the proprietors or management of the Murdoch media were in favour of more government intervention in private business decisions.

    But they did see an opportunity to advance their agenda, one where they could use their dog whistle. The reader comments on the story indicate that the Telegraph got the reaction they wanted. Many had apparently not read the story. The Telegraph would claim to be balanced, but the headline gives the game away.

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