Why Adam Marshall called Barnaby Joyce a goose

Was Barnaby a goose for 'opening' Tabulam bridge?

Adam Marshall twice called Barnaby Joyce a goose in NSW Parliament last week.

The insults came after local MP Janelle Saffin complained that Mr Joyce had held his own 'opening' of the new Tabulam bridge, despite the project receiving no federal money.

After Mr Joyce used a red ribbon and scissors to conduct the unofficial opening, Ms Saffin spoke in parliament about the concern in the community that there might be no official opening.

"This has caused some consternation in the local community, who are confused about the status of the opening and why the federal member, whose electorate does not cover Tabulam - no federal funds were spent there; it was all state funds - got to do the honours," Ms Saffin said.

The bridge borders the New England electorate east of Tenterfield. Ms Saffin's state electorate of Lismore includes Lismore and Tweed as well as the shires of Kyogle and Tenterfield to the west.

In a light-hearted video posted on Facebook, Mr Joyce said he was opening the bridge to help out the state government, so they "didn't have to worry about it".

Ms Saffin told parliament she had contacted the minister to confirm it was not an official opening.

"I have sought assurances from the NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads on three matters: first, that this event was not official; secondly, that there will be an official opening; and, thirdly, that the community will be invited to celebrate. I have received those assurances."

At that point Mr Marshall, whose electorate of Northern Tablelands used to include Tenterfield, interjected, calling out "Barnaby is a goose".

"I note that the Minister for Agriculture and Western New South Wales said some words about Barnaby, which I may not repeat," Ms Saffin said, before Mr Marshall interjected again.

"I said he was a goose," Mr Marshall said.

Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin has sought assurances from the state government there will be an official opening of the new Tabulam bridge.

Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin has sought assurances from the state government there will be an official opening of the new Tabulam bridge.

Ms Saffin continued: "He said Barnaby is a goose. So it will be in Hansard."

The Member for Lismore went on to say the minister's advice that an opening will be held for the new bridge would reassure the Tabulam community, who she added fought hard to save the historic bridge it has replaced.

She said the old bridge was the birthplace of many members of the local Indigenous community, including Poppy Harry Mundine Walker.

"He was born under the bridge and is reported to be far too emotional to talk about it. I get that totally. It is a sacred space, where many members of the local Aboriginal community were born. Mums gave birth under that majestic bridge."

It has a connection to Sir Harry Chauvel, who formed the Australian Light Horse brigade.

"The General Sir Harry Chauvel Memorial Foundation has written to the Special Minister of State, seeking his urgent approval of an order that no works be undertaken to demolish the Tabulam Bridge. I never gave up hope on it but did not want to raise the expectations of the community, so I went hard but also stepped gingerly.

"It is emotional and a kick in the guts, but I have to say it still could be saved. The Powerhouse Museum in the heart of Sydney has been saved from demolition, so why not the Tabulam Bridge? One can understand why people in rural and regional areas feel forgotten, overlooked and not taken seriously."

Completed in 1903, it is the longest single-span wooden bridge in the Southern Hemisphere, crossing the Clarence River to join the Bruxner Highway.

"I have not met a Tabulam local who does not want to save the bridge," Ms Saffin said.