PM pledges jail time for activists who target farmers

PM pledges jail time for activists who target farmers


Farm Online News
Scott Morrison on a tractor at Eumungerie, 10 kilometres north of Dubbo, NSW.

Scott Morrison on a tractor at Eumungerie, 10 kilometres north of Dubbo, NSW.

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Coalition to combat anti-farmer sentiment among some activists, which PM says is turning kids against agriculture.

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Tougher laws to crack down on extreme animal activists will be legislated in the first week of a re-elected Coalition government, according to Scott Morrison.

Speaking at a farm at Eumungerie, 10 kilometres north of Dubbo, NSW, the Prime Minister reiterated his support for the tougher policy to deal with anti-livestock industry activists, which was announced on April 10 by Attorney General Christian Porter.

Mr Morrison said he was particularly concerned by the negative impact anti-farmer activism had on perceptions of the agricultural sector.

He said the anti-farmer sentiment he sees in the animal activist had created a damaging and erroneous perception of agriculture.

Mr Morrison claimed independent research showed that 40 per cent of Australian children believed farming damages the environment.

"This is a lie that has been told to our kids and we have to correct it. Because in it's most extreme form, it shows up in the aggressive and violent activism that we have seen with people storming farms around this country, attacking the livelihoods of farmers and their families," he said.

"It's disgusting, it's appalling and that's why in that first week... I want to see that legislation passed that we would bring in that would criminalise this behaviour and make sure that we're standing up for our farmers."

Speaking earlier this month, the Attorney General Mr Porter said the Coalition would create a new offence with up to 12 months jail time for those who use a carriage service, such as the internet, to disclose personal information and incite others to trespass on farmland and livestock facilities.

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"We have seen with Aussie Farms the malicious use of personal information, including farmers' names, addresses and workplaces, designed specifically to encourage others to trespass on properties and damage businesses," Mr Porter said.

"This is not acceptable and the Morrison Government will, if re-elected, introduce a new criminal offence specifically designed to protect Australian farmers from the sort of vigilante action we have seen this week."

Continuing the focus on public perceptions, the Coalition also pledged to invest $10 million to educate school children about farming.

An education program will be rolled out to 80 metropolitan schools across the country to educate children about farming systems.

"This investment into education is making sure that the next generation value the importance of the Australian agricultural sector to them and their future. But hopefully understand that there's a career pathway for them as well," said Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, when he joined Mr Morrison on farm.

The school education package is included in a new block of funding announced on Friday, which included $57.4 million for drought support and $31m for agricultural shows.

This publication launched the #protectourfarms campaign in January, calling on governments to grant stronger protections from extreme activists in the wake of the social media storm around the release of farmers' personal details on the anti-farming website, Aussie Farms.

The campaign is calling on the government to revoke the charity status of Aussie Farms, strengthen farmers' privacy protections and increase penalties for trespass.

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