CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | Contact
In great news for drought-stricken farmers, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dusted off the old Akubra and made his way west of the Sydney Fish Markets for the first time since Barnaby Joyce’s frenzied by-election win.
But this time, it wasn’t to help ensure Barnaby Joyce was gainfully employed before he revealed to the world that he had a bun in the oven, it was to witness the dire conditions and hardship in many farming communities.
Mr Turnbull on Sunday promised to do more to help those under intense financial strain due to relentless drought conditions, signing off on emergency “special” payments for eligible farmers, to be made through the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) scheme.
During the emotional announcement, Malcolm Turnbull was quick to find an agriculturalist within arms reach to hug for the cameras.
After making a move for his own Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud MP, Turnbull was met with a “no no no no!” as Littleproud pointed to his clean hat. A common way for politicians to identify themselves when out bush.
The Prime Minister then side-stepped Littleproud and went for an embrace with the next person he saw, a regionally-aesthetic junior Liberal Party staffer named Amy – who he didn’t recognise due to her Akubra and drizabone jacket.
As the camera’s flashed, Amy whispered to the Prime Minister, identifying herself as in fact a member of his own entourage.
“Ok” said Turnbull.
“Just be natural. I’ll pull out of this embrace with a few tears. The last thing we want these bushies thinking is that I’ve pulled a Barnaby”
Turnbull’s announcement will provide households up to $12,000 in additional lump-sum payments for couples. Single households will get $7,200.
The first payment will be made on the first day of next month. The second payment would be made on March 1, next year. The package will also include extra funding for mental health support, and is costing $190 million in total.
Farmers are being encouraged to take the money and stop being too proud because this is what it’s there for.