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Senators John Madigan and Nick Xenophon with the plates, cups, bowls and saucers they had made especially for Parliament House in Canberra to replace those made in the UAE. Courtesy heraldsun.com.au
Senators John Madigan and Nick Xenophon with the plates, cups, bowls and saucers they had made especially for Parliament House in Canberra to replace those made in the UAE. Courtesy heraldsun.com.au

Plate-gate as Australian senators blast UAE crockery

UAE plates and cups at Australia's parliament annoys two senators so much they buy Aussie-made replacements.

DUBAI // Crockery from the UAE is at the centre of an Australian political storm in a teacup after two senators paid more than Dh18,000 each on locally made replacements.

John Madigan of the Democratic Labour Party and independent Nick Xenophon said Parliament House's decision to use crockery from the UAE showed a lack of support for Australian manufacturing.

Fury over "plate-gate" led the senators to each spend A$5,366 on a 750-piece dining set, according to reports in Australia.

Senator Madigan found the cups and plates at a Parliament House function were from the UAE.

"There's plates that say 'Australian fine china made in UAE' and crockery 'made in China'," he told Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper.

Senator Madigan said it was another blow to Australia's fledgling manufacturing industry. He also suspected the fish and chips at Parliament House were not Australian.

Senator Xenophon warned of a stir if parliament did not accept the senators' gift, consisting of 120 dining sets and 30 side plates.

"The nation's parliament not using Australian crockery is a complete crock," he said. "I'm looking forward to Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott welcoming this gift and eating off the plates.

"It's enough of a scandal the plates at Parliament House aren't locally made. It will be a bigger scandal if they knock back this gift."

Australia will hold elections next month, with prime minister Mr Rudd hoping to win the Labor Party's third term in power ahead of Mr Abbott's Liberal Party.

eharnan@thenational.ae

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