Letter to Editor - No truth in LNP assertion
Treasurer Hockey, at the Cloncurry Cattleman’s dinner June 12, 2014, stated that ‘we (the LNP) had reopened the Indonesian live export market.’ Sorry Joe, you’re a good bloke but there’s not the slightest scintilla of truth in this assertion.
To take the credit away from the 500 people that attended the crisis meeting in Richmond on May 7, 2013 and from there, the Cattle Crisis Committee (CCC) is outrageous.
The committee (at their own expense) flew to Canberra. It was not the LNP, ALP nor the Trade or Agriculture departments, nor the ML Authority. It was the CCC executive that negotiated with Indonesian Ambassador Nadjib Kesoema. I personally opened and continued dialogue with Nadjib, leading up to the CCC’s visit and can verify that nothing had been achieved until the CCC’s trip to Canberra.
Two days prior to Ambassador Nadjib’s departure to brief President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Najib flew (in a generously donated jet) to The Gulf with CCC executives, led by Barry Hughes, Fred Pascoe, Russel Lethbridge and Rob Atkinson. These were the heroes and no fly in fly out politicians will take the credit off them.
The CCC gave me the job to brief PM Rudd. PM Rudd phoned me the day after his meeting with the president and told me to advise the CCC there would be an announcement made in a couple of weeks and we would be very pleased. Within a week or so an announcement was made that the live export market (which was closed) would be reopened for some 300,000 ox. After this announcement the PM advised there would be a further statement.
Prior to the PM’s phone call, the CCC had flown to Brisbane (again at their own expense) for a meeting with Indonesia’s Agriculture Minister and Ambassador. There were no LNP people present at this meeting; their ministers and spokespeople gave speeches and had left soon afterwards.
The negotiations took place at a private dinner that night with the Indonesian Minister, Ambassador Nadjib and Dr Sunati - representing Suntori - the dominant live cattle trader.
The terms and conditions for a full opening of the market – were discussed. The full opening of the market was announced some weeks after this second round of negotiations.
At all times the reopening of that market was being negotiated and driven by the CCC. I can verify this because I attended each of the meetings.
The North Qld Cattlemen with their backs financially to the wall, did all of these negotiations and representations when the MLA, The Government, the Opposition, the Trade and Agriculture departments on huge budgets never lifted a ‘bloody finger’.
No wonder people hate we politicians.
Bob Katter MP
Member for Kennedy