Wheat deregulation bill passed House of Representatives

A BILL to deregulate the Australian wheat export industry passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday night.

Division in Coalition ranks was laid bare during the vote on the bill, with West Australian National Tony Crook crossing the floor and two Coalition MPs, Dr Dennis Jensen and Mal Washer, abstaining from the vote.

The Bill now only needs to pass through the Senate where the Labor Government, with the Greens, holds the majority.

It was finally made possible after a deal was secured between Labor and the Greens to create a new quality standards body and port access code of conduct for exporters to ensure the bill's passage through the upper house.

Mr Crook told parliament he had received a lot of criticism because of his support for the bill.

"I am not supporting a Labor bill, I am supporting Western Australian wheat growers and the Western Australian wheat industry," he said.

"Many MPs have also criticised me for crossing the floor in a minority parliament.

"To those MPs, I say: as a member of parliament I have an obligation to stand up for my constituents, and this obligation to my constituents must come before any obligation to any party room.

"What are we doing as elected representatives if we are not brave enough to stand up for the interests of the good people who had the faith to put us in these positions?"


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