Federal National Party leader David Littleproud has accused Mark McGowan of snubbing him during his WA visit, after he failed to secure a meeting with the WA Premier to discuss the live sheep trade.
Mr Littleproud said he had tried twice in the past four months to meet personally with Mr McGowan to discuss the future of the live sheep trade — but his requests had fallen on deaf ears.
“I got a response from his diary secretary (this week) that he was too busy to meet with me, which is disappointing,” Mr Littleproud said. “The last time I was over (in WA) I also tried to meet with Mr McGowan and he wasn’t available then.
“I would have thought that for the sake of 3000 West Australians livelihoods, he could have afforded me 15 minutes to start the conversation, to start working together about how we might do this (stop the live sheep trade being banned).
“That’s all I’m searching for. But I intend to keep my hand out, ready to take his, and bring it (live sheep issue) to Canberra.”
The criticism didn’t stop there. Mr Littleproud, who was in WA for the Nationals State conference, accused Mr McGowan of “arrogance” for not running a Labor candidate in the North West Central by-election.
“From an outsider, it’s just pure arrogance,” Mr Littleproud said.
“It’s more about the preservation of a State persona, that the popularity is still there, rather than giving a voice within a government to the people of Gascoyne. “If you scratch the surface, it’s more about arrogance and preservation of perception of leadership.”
In a seemingly new dawn between the Federal and State Nationals, Mr Littleproud joined WA Nationals leader Mia Davies for the annual State conference. It was widely known Ms Davies did not see eye to eye with former Federal Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce.
Yesterday, at the conference in the Swan Valley, Mr Littleproud and Ms Davies were all smiles in a public show of unity.
“To my good friend Mia Davies,” Mr Littleproud said at the conference.
“The courage and class that you have shown in the face of adversity here in Western Australia is something that I think is a beacon of light and hope to conservative politics around the country.”
Mr Littleproud used his visit to WA to shine the spotlight on Anthony Albanese’s announcement during the Federal election campaign that he would end Australia’s $92 million live sheep trade.
Since becoming PM, Mr Albanese appears to have softened that stance, saying “no one was envisaging a phase out in this term of government”.
Mr Littleproud said Mr McGowan needed to be crystal clear on his position.
“At some point he (Mark McGowan) has to show his hand (on moves to ban the live sheep trade), Mr Littleproud said. “At some point, we need to see the colour of Mark McGowan’s eyes — and whether he is with us, or he is against us.”
A spokesperson for Mr McGowan said the Premier’s position on the issue was clear.
“The Premier has been consistent and he has been clear that the current measures, including the northern summer live export ban, are sufficient,” the spokesperson said.
“The Premier has repeatedly said these measures, which also include additional vet checks and monitoring, have worked well, and are effective and appropriate at this time.”