RAIL and water are their shared passions and will stay a priority with Barnaby Joyce representing the New England, the Prime Minister said in Tamworth last week.
Speaking at Mr Joyce’s byelection campaign launch, Malcolm Turnbull said he and his ex-deputy were “the closest, best team” between Liberal and National leaders.
In a speech that named Mr Joyce as the quintessential Australian – despite his New Zealand citizenship necessitating the campaign in the first place – Mr Turnbull was effusive with his praise.
Watch our full Facebook Live coverage of the speech here
“I don’t know anybody that is more Australian than Barnaby Joyce,” he said.
“I don’t know any electorate that is more Australian than New England; any city in our nation, in our state, which better epitomises Australian values than Tamworth.”
Agriculture policy and supporting infrastructure were front and centre of Mr Joyce’s achievements, Mr Turnbull said, referring to his two sheep and cattle properties in the electorate.
“They are actually making money – and that hasn’t always been the case, as I’m sure all the graziers know – and that is because of the outstanding job you did as agriculture minister and deputy minister … and as the temporary agriculture minister pending your return, I’m doing my best, I’m doing my best, mate.”
Mr Joyce replied: “Just don’t stuff it up.”
Rail and dams
Mr Turnbull said “nobody is more committed” to building infrastructure such as the Inland Rail and dams.
“Barnaby Joyce has got under way the Inland Rail, from Melbourne through NSW up to Brisbane,” he said.
“Let me tell you, lots of governments and politicians have talked about the Inland Rail. Do you know when they started talking about it? In the 1890s … They’ve been talking about it for over a century; we are actually getting on and building it, and it is because of Barnaby’s commitment and my commitment, our shared passion for the infrastructure that builds the future property of Australia.”
Mr Turnbull said the two could talk about water infrastructure for hours.
“We want to build dams, we want to build water infrastructure, because we know that is how you drive your agricultural production throughout the nation … We’re committed to making those investments.”
'As the temporary agriculture minister ... I’m doing my best, mate.' - Malcolm Turnbull. 'Just don’t stuff it up.' - Barnaby Joyce.
Mr Turnbull said Australia was “a big nation [and] you need a big heart to lead it”.
“Barnaby and I together have been the closest, best team you’ve seen between a Liberal and a National leader for many years,” he said.
“We both know how to muster cattle, we both know how to build a fence … we both know that ‘manual labour’ is not a Mexican bandit, and we’ve both done it, and we know how important hard work is and we know how important it is to back the people that work hard.”
Mr Turnbull said that, “as Prime Minister, as Barnaby’s friend and colleague, I support him to the hilt”.
“He is an outstanding member of the Australian parliament, he has been an outstanding deputy prime minister, he has been an outstanding representative of New England,” he said.
“Barnaby Joyce is needed back in Canberra, and I’m asking the people of New England to send him to serve you and serve our nation.”