On Friday 15 June Sydney’s Daily Telegraph published an incorrect article suggesting that after lobbying then Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce the federal Department of Agriculture granted $60,000 to the National Agriculture Day Gala dinner and further suggested these funds were somehow associated with the award for Outstanding Leadership and Contribution in Agriculture awarded to Barnaby Joyce.
We advise this assertion is completely incorrect and the Freedom of Information documents show this. Mrs Rinehart and Hancock Prospecting never approached the federal government requesting money for the National Agriculture and Related Industries day. Nor was any funding provided by the government to Mrs Rinehart, Hancock Prospecting or to sponsor the inaugural Agriculture and Related Industries Day dinner.
The facts are the federal Department of Agriculture through a signed contract, which is included in the Freedom of Information documents, entered a grant agreement with the National Farmers Federation for $55,000 plus GST. The NFF used this money in relation to the National Agriculture and Related Industries Day. The NFF did not sponsor or donate to the inaugural dinner. Hancock Prospecting ran the inaugural dinner, guests paid to attend, and contributors such as Kidman provided products, and other sponsors helped to subsidise the inaugural dinner.
The dinner was attended by farmers and station people from all over Australia, and others, and greatly enjoyed by those who attended. Mrs Rinehart and I personally went around to each guest during the inaugural occasion, and / or around the end of the night to ask guests if they enjoyed.
The journalist who wrote the Friday 15 June article has been repeatedly asked to correct her article in the Daily Telegraph and all syndicated publications. A copy of this correspondence is below. To date no correction has been made.
General Manager External Affairs Pastoral
17 June 2018
I have gone through the FOI documents again and they show that the contract was between the Dept Ag and NFF. The contract is in the FOI. There are also emails confirming that the grant was for NFF and not for the dinner. Hancock emailed to confirm this and the Dept Ag confirmed which is also in the FOI.
Those FOI documents confirm that the financial relationship was between NFF and Dept Ag and they also show Hancock managed the dinner and NFF run the day.
This matter is out of my hands now.
Sorry about the duplicate email. I just left a message on your telephone as well. I just wanted to make it clear that neither did Hancock Prospecting nor Mrs Rinehart ever seek out any financial assistance from the federal Government or any of its representatives for the gala dinner. It was only the National Farmers Federation that sought and received financial contributions for the Ag Day, but they had nothing to do with the dinner.
Would you please correct the article and all syndications that reproduced it.
I tried to contact Jennifer Sexton but missed her and received a voice message referring to you.
I was calling Jennifer regarding her article today about Barnaby Joyce and Gina Rinehart and just wanted to clarify something for you and hope it could be corrected. https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/gina-rinehart-legal-bid-to-spare-barnaby-joyce-over-subpoena/news-story/52dd1dd6b99a999949748d79d61ab70c
There is a paragraph that reads:
Documents released under freedom of information reveal Mr Joyce also secured a $60,000 government grant as then agriculture minister for the national farm day gala dinner — at which he received the prize from Mrs Rinehart.
This isn’t correct. The $55K from the federal Dept of Agriculture went to the National Farmers Federation and did not go to the dinner. Not one Government dollar went to the dinner. The Freedom of Information documents indicate this. I have reviewed the documents.
Thought you might like to be aware.
It would be appreciated if your article could be rectified and republished reflecting this. Thank you.