MEDIA RELEASE – “Bullock’s departure a loss for rural and regional Australians, says Senator Barry O’Sullivan”

2 March 2016

Queensland Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan said the courageous resignation of Senator Joe Bullock overnight was a disappointing yet gracious exit from a man who had gained genuine respect from rural and regional Australians during his short tenure in the Senate.

Senator O’Sullivan said Senator Bullock’s valued contribution to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) Senate Committee during the past two years had delivered significant supply chain and industry structure reforms to major Australian agriculture export commodities, including sugar and beef.

Senator O’Sullivan said Senator Bullock showed real commitment to tackling market power imbalances to deliver fairer outcomes for family farms and rural communities.

“Joe might have been a trade union official for the ‘shoppies,’ who was born in Sydney and cut his teeth in Perth; he always showed a genuine empathy for the farmers who appeared before the RRAT committee,” Senator O’Sullivan said.

“While the farming sector and the Labor party don’t always see eye-to-eye, Joe was able to quickly earn the respect of landholders across the nation through his sincere desire to understand the issues affecting the sector.”

Senator O’Sullivan said Senator Bullock’s decision to resign from the Senate on principle rather than sit on the crossbench was consistent with his commitment to integrity in public service.

“I first bonded with Joe over our shared disdain for Canberra. We both swore never to travel business class on the taxpayer dollar; we avoided the Comcar services and we told anyone who would listen that Federal parliament would never change our proud working class outlook.

“Joe took a principled stand against gay marriage early in his political life and has never wavered since. He courageously and consistently called for a conscience vote on gay marriage despite overwhelming opposition from his Labor colleagues.

“Joe has remained steadfastly and unapologetically true to his own moral compass during his short time in the Senate. He ended his career last night as he started, in a dignified manner. His example has shone a bright pathway for every member of our Senate chamber.”