Abbott may sidestep Hockey to kill GrainCorp deal
TREASURER Joe Hockey is shrugging off reports that Prime Minister Tony Abbott could pull rank and refuse to allow the sale of Australian agricultural giant GrainCorp to fall into the hands of an American giant.
The $3.4 billion dollar deal to allow Archer Daniels Midland to take control of the national grain body is now being examined by a Senate Inquiry, which is due to deliver its report in December, just days before Mr Hockey and the Foreign Investment Review Board make their final decision.
But unnamed Coalition sources have told the West Australian that the Prime Minister could push to have the deal rejected or impose such strict conditions as to make it unviable.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce - both Nationals - have long flagged their concerns with the deal.
The Treasurer's office said the decision would be made by Mr Hockey alone, but conceded the Treasurer meeting with different people and groups who had their own views on the deal.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was critical the foreign investment process was kept untainted by political influence.
"The GrainCorp decision should be assessed on its merits and whether it is in Australia's national interest," he said.