National

Dust up in parliament over drought policy

By AAP Newswire

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon have agreed to meet within the next week to discuss the long dry spell, after a heated exchange in parliament.

Mr McCormack's face went red as he yelled at the opposition agriculture spokesman during question time on Wednesday, describing him as a "disgrace".

"Country people are doing it tough - you should behave yourself," the Nationals leader said.

Mr Fitzgibbon sought to take a point of order, but was warned by Speaker Tony Smith.

"How is the deputy prime minister's unhinged attack on me relevant to the question asked?" Mr Fitzgibbon said.

The spray came after Queensland Nationals MP Ken O'Dowd asked his leader a "dorothy dixer" question about what the government was doing for regional communities.

Mr Fitzgibbon has been a vocal critic of the government's efforts to ease the pain of the drought, describing farmers as "Scott Morrison's forgotten people".

Later on Wednesday, Mr McCormack and Mr Fitzgibbon were brought together on 2GB radio's Ben Fordham program to smoke the peace-pipe.

They both agreed to meet within the next week to discuss drought policy.

Mr Fitzgibbon said he had been offering bipartisan support for six years, but farmers believed the household allowance system was broken and concessional loans were not wanted as they pushed them further into debt.

"They haven't been doing the work and they are now being found out and that is why Michael McCormack got so upset during question time today," he said.

Mr McCormack said new dams would improve things for farmers.

"That is Australia - a land of droughts and flooding rains," he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon earlier had a dig at Drough Minister David Littleproud who's said he's not sure if climate change is caused by human actions.

"We've had the drought coordinator, the drought envoy, the drought task force, the drought summit. Now we have a drought minister .... (but) what hope does the Australian community have when their drought minister denies the connection between our activity and what is happening in our natural environment and with our climate?"