One Nation strike over sugarcane dispute to derail Government agenda
By political reporter Julia Holman
Updated about 3 hours ago
Photo: Pauline Hanson says she is just sticking up for the people who voted for her. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)
Related Story: Cane growers consider strike as marketing stoush continues
Related Story: Sugar intervention in Queensland on Federal level not far away: Deputy PM
Related Story: Why Queensland's sugar marketing dispute is giving politicians a bitter taste
It is the final sitting week before the May budget, but the Coalition's attempts to pass legislation could be derailed because of an unrelated dispute involving Queensland sugarcane growers.
One Nation senators say they will effectively go on strike until a dispute involving Queensland sugarcane growers, sugar mill Wilmar and sugar marketer QSL is resolved.
Arriving in Canberra, Pauline Hanson said she was just standing up for the people who voted for her.
"I've made a stance that myself and One Nation senators will not be supporting any Government legislation or any legislation before Parliament until the Wilmar dispute is sorted between the cane growers and Wilmar," she said.
Senator Hanson wants the Federal Government to intervene to help growers have more of a say in the marketing and sale of their crop.
"I believe that they need to actually have a code of conduct, a mandatory code of conduct," she said.
"The Queensland cane farmers are my constituents, they have come to us asking for our help and assistance, the Prime Minister plus also the Labor and the Nationals and especially Barnaby Joyce, have done nothing to sort out this disagreement."
Her comments come almost one month after Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce warned the companies the Federal Government would intervene if they didn't "fix up" the business.
Mr Joyce told reporters the Federal Government could act after the Queensland Government failed to pass laws on the situation.
The sugar dispute explained
Cane farmers are concerned about a payment dispute and it is creating a bitter taste for the National Party.
"Nothing is going to happen today, but if they [Wilmar and QSL] think for one second we have taken our eyes off the ball and will let it go through the keeper, we haven't," he said.
"I say to QSL and Wilmar: if you don't want clumsy fingers in your business then fix up your business and fix it up today."
Fellow Queensland One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts supports his leader's stance, and denies One Nation is horse trading on Government policy.
"We're not asking for anything in return other than the Government do its job, and we'll just abstain," he said.
"We're not seeking anything in particular, we just want them to listen and work for the farmers, that's all we want."
'Don't blackmail', Williams warns Hanson
Nationals senator John Williams says he shares One Nation's concerns about the growers, but he does not like Senator Hanson's approach.
"I instigated a sugar inquiry a couple of years ago now about this very issue of the Wilmar and their [basic] monopoly of these sugar mills. It's a real problem," he said.
"But Pauline, don't blackmail, I think just work on each issues as it comes along, let's work together to fix up the sugar industry and that monopoly and the problems they face."
He said he supported One Nation's call for a code of conduct.
"When you have monopolies, and monopolies holding a gun basically at your head in business, then you need regulation. And a mandatory code of conduct I would welcome," Senator Williams said.
"I think that Pauline should work with the legislation, deal with one issue as it comes through, not just hold a gun to our head in the form of blackmail, that's my position."
Is this blackmail, is it
Hanson grandstanding, big-mouthing or is it genuine concern for 'her"
There is no doubt that the masses if they care to follow the story at all will say 'Good onya Pauline. Go girl!. " The Pickering Post " mob would be on that bandwagon. It is Hanson playing the populist card yet again, baying as she does the 'my people, my supporters, my responsibility" mantra.
Morrison makes the point as others have done behind the scenes that others have taken up the issue and are addressing it without all of the 'single mother trumpeting pantomime ', all be it slower than the Hanson quick fix, achieve nothing approach.
Whilst I have no doubt that the Prime Minister is not the competent leader that country needs what Hanson has emulated by her 'shoot from the hip rhetoric' is not too far removed from a militant unionist. Pauline hand your party over to Brian Burston, for he does not said a word ...and become the fiery leader of a new Union. There you will be in your element.
There was a time when some of your most ardent supporters saw you as a Beacon of Hope. Today you have morphed into taxpayer funded 'show pony', whose one shining feature is your ability to never be far from a microphone, a camera or a journalist. Without them you would be not be seen. And that would be a blessing for us all. Your mouth is going to be a price we will all have to pay for. STRIKE! The language of militancy.