BARNABY Joyce is using his role as Special Envoy on drought relief as a platform to raise his profile, in a bid to become Deputy Prime Minister again, Labor’s New England candidate says.
Yvonne Langenberg believes the New England MP was only placed in the role to “keep him too busy to cause trouble from the backbench”.
“The elephant in the room is that everyone knows that Mr Joyce thinks he’s on the come-back trail,” Ms Langenberg said.
“Every time he hits a drought-affected region and blows in the ear of farmers, and National Party candidates and sitting members, it is another nail in the coffin of Michael McCormack.”
However, Mr Joyce said he wasn’t touting for the top job.
“It’s disappointing when Labor shows cynicism rather than policy,” Mr Joyce said.
“The Labor Party really only has one policy and that’s to complain about our policy. I will push agendas to try and get a better deal for those living through this record drought.
“She is right about one thing, I am using it as a platform, a platform to assist people battling the drought.”
Recently, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said he would “sit back and listen” to Mr Joyce in his new role as a drought policy adviser.
However, Ms Langenberg doubts any of his “thought bubbles”, such as re-purposing environmental water to grow crops, would become anything more than “hot air”.
“Mr Joyce takes the biscuit. Having been virtually mute about the massive and blatant theft of water by his political friends in the upper reaches of the basin, to the detriment of legitimate users downstream, he now wants to plunder what little that was allowed to proceed down the basin,” she said.
Mr Joyce said Labor’s opposition to the idea was because the party was more concerned about losing the Greens preference vote than helping farmers.
“I understand why they wouldn’t want people talking about the drought, because then we could be just like them,” he said.