Barnaby Joyce – Nationals – Agriculture Minister

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AS if Barnaby Joyce didnt have enough problems threatening to kill 2 dogs, prosecute the people which you finally did. Add to that he supports Halal certification and made the totally ludicrous statement that such certification actually keeps prices down. Anyone with half a business brain knows that is total rubbish.

Barnaby Joyce ordered secretary to delete explosive email from department head

Barnaby Joyce and his response to Dr Paul Grimes.

Barnaby Joyce and his response to Dr Paul Grimes.

BARNABY Joyce ordered his secretary to delete an explosive email from the head of his department that was critical of the minister and would-be deputy prime minister.

Documents obtained by the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information show Agriculture Minister Mr Joyce asked his executive assistant to delete the letter from the Government’s computer system.

And the letter’s author, career public servant Dr Paul Grimes, was sacked as secretary of the Department of Agriculture just 10 days later.

The letter appeared to be the final fracturing of the men’s professional relationship following the discovery Mr Joyce’s staff had doctored the official parliamentary record, Hansard, after Mr Joyce gave an incorrect answer to the Parliament that inflated the number of people receiving drought assistance grants.

Mr Joyce’s office on Monday night confirmed the request to delete the email but said it was done at Dr Grimes’ request.

“Minister Joyce was advised that Dr Grimes wanted his letter withdrawn,’’ a spokesman for Mr Joyce said.

“The minister communicated this to his office and indicated he was happy to comply with the wishes of the author.’’

The Herald Sun has obtained documents including an email exchange between two of Mr Joyce’s advisers discussing the proposed changes to Hansard.

Barnaby Joyce’s office said the email was deleted at Dr Grimes’ request. Picture: Gary Ra

Barnaby Joyce’s office said the email was deleted at Dr Grimes’ request. Picture: Gary Ramage

The department also confirmed a letter was written by Dr Grimes and emailed directly to Mr Joyce and his chief-of-staff, Diana Hallam, at 9.03am on March 2.

The letter is understood to have been a blistering critique from Dr Grimes of Mr Joyce, and contributed to the decision to terminate Dr Grimes from his job 10 days later.

However, the department refused to release the letter, saying it contained “advice and opinion” from Dr Grimes and it would not be in the public interest to release it.

“The letter was intended to be a private communication with the minister in which the author’s views were expressed openly and frankly,’’ the Department of Agriculture wrote to the Herald Sun.

At 4.29pm the same day the letter was sent, Mr Joyce’s executive assistant replied: “Good afternoon Dr Grimes. Consistent with a request from Minister Joyce this afternoon, I intend to delete this email now from the system.’’

The attempt to make the letter disappear is embarrassing for the Government because Mr Joyce is a senior member of the Nationals and is expected to replace Warren Truss as leader of the Nationals and deputy prime minister.

Labor’s agriculture spokesman, Joel Fitzgibbon, wrote to Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday night urging him to keep his promise to Parliament to release all documents relating to “Hansardgate”.

“We now have not just a Hansard doctoring cover-up and the sacking of a respected departmental head, but also revelations of Minister Joyce’s attempts to hide the nature and extent of the concerns Dr Grimes had expressed over the whole affair,’’ he said.

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