Madam Speaker, at a time when relations with our neighbours warrant improvement, the Prime Minister has shown both disregard and contempt for our relations with one of our greatest friends and largest trading partners, the United States of America.
With many issues now present to discuss, the Prime Minister has found it timely to host the Prime Minister of France. Given our current relations with the Americans and their own current difficulties with the French government, this was a display of ignorance and blatant disregard of our own national interest. While relations with France are important, now is not the time to concentrate on them.
Let me tell members about the farmers and ranchers in my area and most of the west who do not care that the Australian prime minister was invited to the Bush ranch and that the Canadian Prime Minister was not. What they do care about is re-opening the U.S.-Canada border to beef.
The Prime Minister's blatant “thumb in the eye of the Americans” is all about timing. Let me repeat, it is about timing and now was not the time to host the French prime minister.