Media Release

Inspector-General powers intact, despite Labor fear-mongering

11 March 2​​015

The Inspecto
r-General of Biosecurity’s powers are being enhanced and backed by legislative force for the first time, according to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Minis
ter Joyce was responding to the latest piece of misinformation on the role of the Inspector-General by Opposition spokesman, Joel Fitzgibbon.|

"
As I pointed out last week the tenure of the Inspector-General is secure and his independence is intact,” Minister Joyce said today

Recent Senate Estimates committee hearings confirmed, through the Labor Opposition, the new improved powers of the Inspector-General of Biosecurity.

Labor Senator Joe Bullock (WA) in cross-examining the Interim Inspector-General, Dr Michael Bond, before the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee asked: 

“Talking about independence ... do you think that your function of providing independent assessment of Australia’s biosecurity arrangements can be carried out as effectively as it should be under the terms of the new Bill?”

Dr Michael Bond responded: “The reality is that, as I understand the terms of the new Biosecurity Bill, I think my position will be strengthened if anything.”

Minister Joyce said Labor was continuing to revel in innuendo, falsehoods and conspiracy theories, including the ludicrous claim that the role had been abolished.

“Now Mr Fitzgibbon is pledging to “save” the powers, independence and tenure of the Inspector-General,” Minister Joyce said. 

“You can’t save something that is being made even more secure and embedded into the nation’s biosecurity arsenal.”