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Xenophon says Joyce will be vindicated over Cubbie questions

CUBBIE CONFUSION: Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says
CUBBIE CONFUSION: Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says "many questions" need to be answered by administrators about the sale of the Dirranbandi cotton giant to a Chinese-led consortium. Lyndon Keane

HISTORY will show the most vocal opponent of Cubbie Station's sale to a Chinese-led consortium was right to ask questions, according to Independent Senator Nick Xenophon.

Confidential documents secured by the Balonne Beacon proved a fully-funded Australian offer of $250 million was rejected by the cotton giant's administrators in September and Senator Xenophon said there were "many questions" that needed to be answered.

After stating he wanted administrators McGrathNicol to appear before the Senate inquiry into the Foreign Investment Review Board, Senator Xenophon told the Balonne Beacon he believed Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce was right to question the fairness of the sales process.

The Queensland senator's unequivocal opposition to the sale - which he compared earlier this month to a game of "ducks and drakes" - has been painted as irrational by both sides of politics.

However, Senator Xenophon said he firmly believed his Senate colleague's opposition would turn out to be justified.

"I believe history will vindicate Barnaby Joyce's concerns and will show that the questions he has asked were reasonable," he said.

The details of the sales agreement remain shrouded in secrecy but it is known that Shandong RuYi will initially hold an 80% stake - to be sold down to 51% within three years - while Australian wool company Lempriere will own the remaining share of the operation.

Topics:  agriculture barnaby joyce cotton cubbie cubbie station dirranbandi firb foreign investment review board goldman sachs lempriere mcgrathnicol nick xenophon politics treasury



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