Tony Abbott debuts the new R.M. Williams "Overflow" Trilby in Lightning Ridge today. PHOTO: Imran Gashkori/Getty/AAP

21 February, 2015. 15:30

ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

PRIME MINISTER Tony Abbott has come under fire from his National Party colleagues for choosing to wear a fedora to a Lightning Ridge property this afternoon.

Coalition backbenchers have suggested that the PM is “out-of-touch” with rural affairs – outlined by his choice to don the inappropriate hat.

It’s been a horror couple of weeks for the Liberal Party out in the bush, as it was revealed last week that Christopher Pyne has a “deadfish” handshake – which surprised one Isisford pastoralist.

However, Mr Abbott has hit back at his critics.

“It’s not a fedora,” said the PM.

“It’s a Trilby – and not just any Trilby,”

“This Trilby is a showcase of Australian design and innovation. It’s from Akubra.”

Despite its Australian origin, farmers are still scratching their heads.

“It’s a pretty bad look,” said one Dubbo-area grazier on ABC radio.

“Whoever handed him that hat to wear is either a funny bastard or a complete idiot,”

“Hat or no hat, he still has no idea what’s going on out here.”

Akubra has also defended their new Trilby, saying it “has as much right to be out in the back paddocks as their other more traditional hats”.

Nearly 12 months ago, Abbott announced a $320m “hand up” for farmers – which upset a lot of people.

None more so than Greens leader, Christine Milne.

“The drought in Australia is another example of global warming intensifying drought, making life harder for people on the land and farming communities,” Senator Milne said.

“But the biggest problem that Australian farmers have are Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce and their denial of the science of global warming, and their assertion that you can’t plan for drought and that what you have to do is to pray for rain.”

Senator Milne drew criticism for her derogatory comments about farmers from the agricultural lobby.

“She can say anything she wants – this is Australia,” said one ACT-based rural public policy advocate.

“But when she says it, she stands in leather shoes made from Australian cattle and wears blouse made from the finest Trangie cotton,”

“Pearl farming is so, so bad for the environment but pearl earrings are worth it,”

“That’s Green politics for you.”



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