UPDATE: Barnaby Joyce has declined to take Gina Rinehart’s money, which was gifted to him as part of an award at the National Agriculture Day gala dinner on Tuesday.
Ms Rinehart presented Mr Joyce with the event’s inaugural award accompanied by a cheque for $40,000 acknowledging his advocacy and leadership for the Australian agricultural industry.
A spokesman for Mr Joyce said because the former New England MP didn’t know was going to receive the award and its associated money, didn’t decline it on the night.
“He has now declined the money and is taking official steps to do that,” the spokesman said.
“The reason it’s not going to charity is because Mr Joyce would still be eligible for a tax dedication, so that’s not the appropriate avenue.”
EARLIER: MINING magnate Gina Rinehart has singled out and acknowledged Barnaby Joyce’s “champion” efforts serving the farming sector with a $40,000 award at the National Agriculture Day gala dinner.
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Ms Rinehart is also a part owner of the iconic Kidman and Co cattle empire and has been a driving force behind the Ag Day campaign that’s seen an array of farming and food promotions held throughout the nation by different groups, acknowledging the sector’s significant contribution to Australian society.
Her speech at the dinner, held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, spoke about the economic and social contribution that farming makes to the nation overall.
But she also praised Mr Joyce - the former Agriculture and Water Resources Minister who was disqualified from parliament due to dual NZ citizenship - for taking a brief break from his New England by-election campaign to attend the signature event for the farming promotion that he initially launched while still in parliament earlier this year.
“I know something of the very long hours you are doing right now,” she said while describing him as a “friend” and “champion of our industry”.
“And to take time out of your campaigning schedule to come here – to be here for the industry you love and support and to recognise the dedication that 1.6 million Australians have to agriculture – thank you.
“What a great voice for Australian agriculture.
“The agricultural industry is fortunate to have had such a dedicated, understanding and enthusiastic minister – one with years of first-hand experience – a real Aussie country boy and boy, do we hope you return.”
Ms Rinehart also prompted the crowd to stand and applaud the Nationals leader.
Her talk also highlighted the volume of different taxes paid by the agriculture sector like the GST, saying if there was no sustainable agricultural industry, who’d be paying the “missing taxes” to support public services like police, roads, defence, elderly care, health, and sporting facilities.
Ms Rinehart also presented Mr Joyce with the event’s inaugural award accompanied by a cheque for $40,000 acknowledging his advocacy and leadership for the Australian agricultural industry.
Mr Joyce - who also gave an impassioned speech - said he was glad he attended the Ag Day dinner and was “incredibly humbled” by the award.
The former Deputy Prime Minister said he understood why Ms Rinehart was “so keen for me to come down here tonight”.
“If it goes you some insight, I was just looking at it then, thinking, all I’m thinking about now is the all things I’m going to do on my own farm,” he said of the prize.
“I’m sure anybody else could have won.”
Mr Joyce’s speech implored agriculturalists to be proud of the job they do serving the nation producing food that feeds Australians and others throughout the world while generating economic activity and income.
“Don’t be embarrassed – you be proud of what you do – you tell people about what you do,” he said.
“Never, ever be ashamed to wear the big hat – tell people what it’s all about,”
“Never be embarrassed about wearing the big hat or...boots – noone in Texas is – why are we?
We’ve got to be proud of the product that we sell to the world.”