During Estimate Committee hearings this week, Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie raised conflict-of-interest concerns with the chair of Dairy Australia, Mr. Geoff Akers, who admitted that his wife was on the board of Australia’s largest dairy manufacturer Murray Goulburn.
“Normally I wouldn’t enquire about the personal lives of any person in organisations that receive taxpayer funds – however given that hundreds of Tasmanian Dairy Families are facing ruin because of the way the Australian dairy industry has been managed – I stand by my questioning of Mr Akers during Estimates Hearings,” said Senator Lambie.
“Conflict-of-Interest can also be another form of corruption, and given the dangerous mess that our Dairy industry is in – farmers right now must be given a guarantee that their representatives, running Dairy Australia are acting solely in farmers’ best interests – not the interests of other parties.” said Senator Lambie.
“Just as Mr. Akers answered my questions honestly about conflict-of-interest when the special Senate Committee on the Dairy Crisis begins its hearings – I will also expect the same honesty and I will ask the same question of every officer and employee of Dairy Australia who appears before the Senate Committee. It will be important for all Australians to establish if Dairy Australia is a truly independent body - given that taxpayers contribute tens of million to its operations every year,” said Senator Lambie.
“One of my first lines of enquiry during the committee hearings will be to assure myself that the large multinational companies which dominate Australia’s Dairy Industry – do not have undue influence over Dairy Australia’s advocacy, decisions, policy and public statements made on behalf of its members. Independence and honesty in Australia’s Dairy Industry, like in politics - are essential to ensure that the best interests of the Australian people are acted on and delivered,” said Senator Lambie.