APVMA move a fiasco as expected

By July 3, 2018Australian Politics

When the ludicrously inept Barnaby Joyce demanded that the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) move to Armidale in his federal electorate of New England, he was told by just about everybody, except his coalition colleagues, that it was a fiasco waiting to happen. Even at the time it was clear that it was going to cost a bomb, many people would resign rather than go to Armidale, the disruption would impact the organisation’s work, and would make its liaison with industry groups more difficult. Indeed, the Agricultural Chemical Industry peak body CropLife asked the government to reconsider the move. These predicted shortcomings came to pass1.

As if this fiasco was not stupid enough, Joyce instructed that the staff remaining in Canberra were to be banned from having an office anywhere in Canberra or having anywhere else they could meet1. The purpose-built offices in Armidale should be completed in about 12 months, when the majority of staff will move from Canberra. However, it turns out that the APVMA will allow about a quarter of its staff (up to 40 people) to keep working in their Canberra office building, while subletting the extra space. Between the time of announcing the move, in 2016 when the authority had 198 staff, and now, over 110 of its employees have left the organisation, including 33 regulatory scientists.

This disgraceful pork-barrelling by Joyce demonstrates that he does not realise or care that organisations such as the APVMA are composed of people, people who have partners with careers, a circle of friends, children in school and university, with their own circles of friends. Still, that attitude should surprise nobody, given how unconcerned Joyce was with his marriage and the reputation of his current partner3. His only concern in the world is the advancement of Barnaby Joyce. The electors of New England should be embarrassed that he represents them in the federal parliament.


  1. http://www.blotreport.com/australian-politics/pork-barrel-joyce/
  2. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-02/apvma-allows-some-staff-to-remain-in-canberra/9930670
  3. http://www.blotreport.com/australian-politics/the-hypocrisy-of-barnaby-joyce/



  • Jon says:

    It’s *possible* that someone (David Littleproud and/or Michael McCormack?) with more common sense, economic responsibility and less ego than the it’s-all-about-me Joyce has used his intelligence to arrive at the compromise but it’s equally possible that this was a decision to put The Beetroote back in his box and publicly embarrass him. Either is a good outcome for democracy and a blow to ideological porkbarrelling stupidity.

    • admin says:

      Even the idiotic current ‘solution’ has damaged the work of the APVMA, and I expect has damaged people’s careers, just so Barnaby could try to supposedly ingratiate himself with his mates in Armidale.

  • Jim says:

    There is no doubt that the move of APVMA is old-fashioned pork-barrelling. However, the real disgrace here is the precious Canberra-based public servants and their families who refused to move to Armidale. It is suggested that moving to Armidale would result in the loss of friends, the need for children to change schools, etc. This is an insult to people in country towns and reflects a typical capital city disdain of country people. How do the self-centred Canberra public servants think that people (e.g., teachers, police, bank managers, etc) who are regularly transferred in their jobs get on? One of the problems in Australia these days is that many city dwellers have lost all connection with rural Australia.

    • admin says:

      That is rubbish. It is not disdain for country people, it is about concern for people’s lives, for which Joyce has none; he is only concerned about himself. If I’d have been a vet, and was chosen to go to Armidale, do you think I’d tell my wife: ‘bugger your career [which was more highly paid the mine], we’re off to Armidale, where there are no jobs in your profession, so you may have to get a job in a shop or an office’. Should I tell my kids: ‘bugger your group of friends and your school, we’re going to Armidale’. I have made my life in a city, just as my wife and kids have. I also would note that most people tend to stay put because of careers, family, friends and professions.

  • jim says:

    I stand by my statement and hence we will have to agree to disagree. However, I am speaking from personal experience. You state “should I tell my kids ‘bugger your group of friends and your school, we’re going to Armidale”. When I was thirteen, and my brother was eleven, that is precisely what happened to us. We moved from suburban Melbourne to country Tasmania. Hence we left all our friends, schools, sporting clubs etc and started out again. You simply go to a new school, you make new friends and join the local sporting clubs–the best way to get into a country community. Certainly there were some problems, but in the long run it worked out extremely well. Incidentally we maintained contact with some of our friends in Melbourne–late last year we had dinner with a guy (and his wife) whom I have known since 1949 when we were kids together in Melbourne. If people are not willing to move to the country then it is hard to have much sympathy with their whingeing. People are too focussed on their “careers” which in retrospect may not be that important.

    • admin says:

      I know it happens all the time. If you are in the armed forces, you move around every few years. However, to be forced to do so at the whim of someone as despicable as Joyce is just beyond the pale. As you probably know, a similar thing happened to the NSW Geological Survey. They lost a lot of people at the time, as has the APVMA, may of whom were scientists. It was mooted that my organisation was to be moved to Albury or Orange (cannot actually remember where), some 15-20 years ago. Given my situation at that time, I would have refused to go, and therefore would probably have been forced to resign. By the way, all the ‘public servants’ I know work hard and are not self-absorbed as you seem to think they are; you have just fallen prey to the LNP rhetoric, which started in earnest during the Howard years. I suspect it is because the ACT hasn’t elected Liberal members to the HOR for thirty years or more.

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