Row erupts over sale of Queensland cotton farm to Chinese

Australian Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce has been branded a xenophobic as a brawl erupted within the federal opposition over the approval for a Chinese-led consortium which plans to buy the giant Queensland cotton farm Cubbie Station.

Meanwhile, the shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, said he was the spokesman on foreign investment policy and others in the coalition speaking out were just ''freelancing''.

''Some people are freelancing, they do not speak for the Coalition,'' Hockey told Sky News.

''People are entitled to a view, I respect their view but I don't agree with it and I speak for the Coalition.''

The opposition leader, Tony Abbott, and the Queensland Liberal-National Party government backed the acquisition following it getting the green light by the Foreign Investment Review Board while the federal Nationals, including senator Joyce, the NSW senator John Williams, and the party's leader, Warren Truss, slammed the decision.

However, a split has also come about among the federal Nationals with the MP Bruce Scott, who has Cubbie Station in his seat of Maranoa, backing the sale as it was better than the station - which had been in administration for three years - closing and jobs being lost.