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If someone else was Agriculture Minister would the backpacker tax have been fixed by now?

Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens Treasury spokesperson, provides the following comments about the government’s ongoing backpacker tax saga.

“Yesterday Barnaby was talking bulldust on the backpacker tax start date, today he’s playing the xenophobia card about foreign workers undercutting Australian jobs. He’s gone from spreading misinformation to ungrounded fearmongering.

“You have to wonder if government would have done better if anyone other than Barnaby was the agriculture minister. If Richard Colbeck was still around then I am sure this would have been killed two years ago.

“It must be cringeworthy for farmers to watch Barnaby Joyce defend this policy position which is so detrimental to their industry.

“And it’s not just the policy position that must infuriate farmers, it is the entire way that the Government have bungled the process. Minister Joyce has been missing in action while the backpacker tax survived two consecutive budgets and a double dissolution election. It’s a joke that he is trying to blame the Senate for his woes.

“Barnaby Joyce now has a simple choice. Is he going to persuade the government to pass a backpacker tax rate of 10.5% or is he going to get the ATO to audit the tax returns of 150,000 backpackers?

“If he wants to move from being a laughing stock to being a credible Minister, he needs to back the 10.5% rate and move on,” Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.

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