Labor's 'country caucus' kicks off

15 Jul, 2014 03:44 PM
Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.
Labor will fully contest every rural and regional seat at the next election
Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.

LABOR has today backed the establishment of a "country caucus" to tackle rural and regional issues.

The move comes a month after Shadow Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Joel Fitzgibbon flagged the plan.

In a statement, Mr Fitzgibbon said the country caucus would be "a clearing house for government legislation and Labor policy development, ensuring the interests of rural and regional Australia is fully and properly considered and promoted."

He said it would also develop and deploy campaign strategies in rural and regional electorates.

"The recent Budget demonstrated that the Abbott government is taking rural and regional residents for granted," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"Labor will fully contest every rural and regional seat at the next election and that robust competition for the hearts and minds of country Australians will be a good thing for their interests.

"Labor has a proud history of active involvement in the bush and I look forward to increasing our engagement and effort through both my portfolio responsibilities and as spokesman for the country caucus."

The country caucus plan has already faced criticism from the Coalition.

Last month, Victorian Liberal MP Dan Tehan labelled the plan “an absolute joke” during a fiery exchange between Labor and Coalition MPs in the House of Representatives over regional Australia's policy and budgetary fortunes.

“They are starting, in the year 2014, a rural and regional caucus and they are in here telling us who should stand up for regional and rural Australia," Mr Tehan said.

“This is a shocker.”

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16/07/2014 12:04:19 AM

Great move. Labor has its origins in the bush, started by shearers. And we all know the Nationals are just Liberals in moleskins who treat regional Australia with contempt. Labor's values are much closer to the values of country people than the big business servants in the LNP.
16/07/2014 12:33:03 AM

It's about time someone stood up for the bush, Nationals gave up doing it years ago. Now all we've got is Mining all over the productive land stealing the water, and polluting the air. I don't recall them paying for any of the dams or wells in the past. I am sick of Politicians thinking they can continually kick the farming and rural communities, and getting away with it.. It worries me though ... I have a question? Why did Labor side with the LNP when the greens put up a bill for a Federal ICAC type of inquiry in corruption? Is it because you know you won't come out looking squeaky clean?
16/07/2014 10:34:41 AM

Great Joel. But you have said nothing about what you plan to do to improve the lot of farmers and rural communities. Your Labor Party record is not too good. You killed our live export cattle industry to appease your Green ABC mates. You legislated to divide and destroy wheat industry in 2008. You presided over the most highly inflated and corrupt industrial award system in the world driving up costs and regulations which are a massive burden on all rural business and has been driving jobs and business off shore. Not sure how much more you could have done to destroy rural and regional Aust.
Bruce Watson
16/07/2014 11:46:50 AM

Brian, you make a good point - in essence. Farmers are physical workers and once we could appreciate the Mick Youngs and Tom Urens in the ALP. But today's ALP is infested with time serving union hacks, young nonentities coming straight out of uni into political offices or acting as legal reps for unions, etc. Very different viewpoint among such people from the old ALP men and women who actually knew what work was, and had a genuine appreciation of the people doing it.


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