We must support Australian grown and owned

1 June, 2021

Back in 2007 or around then—the member for Hunter will remember this very well—we ran a very strong campaign to stop New Zealand apples coming into Australia. We did our very best, but we lost. The World Trade Organization made an appellate decision—no pun intended—so in 2017 we started importing New Zealand apples. I would have thought that, out of that experience, everything that comes into the country that is a consumable good and has any biosecurity around it would be a no-brainer: all would have country-of-origin labelling. But cut flowers do not. Did you know that? Cut flowers come in here with reasonable—the member for New England's been through this whole biosecurity issue. Is it reasonable what they do? With the country-of-origin label at least you can say the consumer will say, 'Fair enough.'

I also didn't know that most of the flowers you buy in the supermarket are imported. I imagined they came from my rose grower down the road. Perhaps some of them do. But most don't. Nearly all of the flowers sold in supermarkets in Australia are imported flowers—fresh flowers—dipped in Roundup to make sure they can't grow here. Do my consumers actually know that their flowers have been dipped in Roundup for 15 minutes before they arrive in the store? That's what they pick up in the shop.

There are a couple of things I've been told—I've been told, so I don't know this for sure. Florists working with imported products report headaches, dermatitis and other issues, and the current trend for decorating cakes with flowers makes contamination a particular concern. To try to prevent the spread of insect pests, flowers are fumigated in their country of origin according to practices of the individual country. What are they using to fumigate them? There are no Australian controls there. So the flower industry requests that the country-of-origin labelling be made mandatory for all flowers and foliage imported into Australia, and I agree. I think the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Christian Porter, will find out the whole of his party agrees that, when they go out to buy cut flowers or consumable flowers exactly like that, they'll want to know what they're buying. They'll want to know the dangers of it. They'll want to know how people who have health issues may be affected by what's on those consumable flowers and what they have been sprayed with. Is that not unreasonable as a former deputy agriculture minister?

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Russell Broadbent MP
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