Wednesday, 11 September 2019
Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019; Second Reading
I rise to speak on the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019. I support very strongly the need to introduce offences for the vegan terrorists who are causing trouble, raising hell and preventing primary producers from earning an honest living and supplying food to the wider community. These people are not legitimate activists. They are not serving the betterment of the community. They are not doing good. They are terrorists in the very true meaning of the word. Their actions have nothing to do with their so-called concerns for animal welfare. They are about pushing their own agenda and trying to restrict the freedom of others to live how they choose.
I commend the government for putting forward this bill. It provides a solution to a problem that has been let go for far long. It has been given too much fake legitimacy and has been encouraged up until now to keep going—and to even ramp up the violent acts and the trespassing, due to the soft and gutless actions of the judges. In perhaps the most well-known of recent cases, the Gippy Goat Cafe in Victoria eventually had to close, with the loss of local jobs, after four months of constant harassment, vile statements and threats. How can these vegan terrorists in any way think that their personal obsession to not eat meat gives them some sort of right to push their beliefs on other people in a violent, disruptive and criminal way? Meat eaters are a part of Australian society—even I love a good steak—and it's going to stay that way. That's just the way it is, so get used to it. Meat eaters are not pushing their beliefs and practices onto vegans and vegetarians, and we don't accept being told what we can and can't eat either.
Australia is still a free country. We are relatively free to mostly live how we want and eat what we want, and so-called activism or any other pressure to try to push alternative views on others is not welcome. To show how far these terrorists will stoop to achieve their dark agenda, I note that the owners of the Gippy Goat Cafe had been personally subjected to an appalling stream of threats of extreme violence and threats against their families, their staff and even family members of their staff—how cowardly and disgusting! The staff were subjected to daily threats and harassment by phone, and the business could not in good conscience ask them to continue working under such conditions. As a consequence, the owners felt they had no choice but to close the business, and approximately eight jobs were lost. It beggars belief that anyone in Australian society could think that these harassing and violent acts are somehow legitimate and acceptable and that tragic outcomes like this are somehow acceptable.
These idiots need their heads read, and the public need to feel safe in the knowledge that they have some level of protection and that their food supplies are safe. One of these morons was charged with stealing a goat during one of their raids. She was later fined just $1 by the presiding magistrate for a related offence. In another raid on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, another idiot was fined $200 for breaking into a piggery. Another participant in the raid, which involved 100 people, was subsequently fined just $150 with no conviction recorded. The piggery went into lockdown, with 30 of the vegan terrorists wreaking havoc inside while the remaining 70 remained gathered outside. But, with fines so low, there was no deterrent to these sorts of disruptive crimes, so it's no wonder that these raids just kept going and even ratcheted up, with an ever-increasing negative impact on the community. Commentator Jan Davis in the Hobart Mercury made this point:
If this level of behaviour was in the city, we would be seeing more urgency. Action is needed to ensure farmers receive the protections anyone should have the right to expect in a civil society. Farmers are rightly alarmed that their homes can be invaded in the dead of night, streamed live on the internet, only for offenders to walk away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
While I have great respect for some in the judiciary, the judges who issue such lenient sentences quite simply have been gutless. They are gutless in that they are in a position to protect the community and legitimate business people through their position, but they haven't stepped up to the plate. They are possibly allowing their personal views to influence the outcome of these matters. By being so lenient, they are only encouraging the terrorists to go out and commit these crimes with no regard to the impact they are having on lives, on the health of farming families, on profitability and even on the welfare of the animals they supposedly want to protect—because animals are dying because of these actions, which I will expand on later.
We are in a position in parliament now to pass this bill and create a new law, because judges were not bringing down heavy fines to deter these ongoing crimes. This bill is a welcome and much-needed move to provide the protection that is deserved by these farmers, business people, families and residents.
I was reminded today of a case some years ago in Queensland where these terrorists stormed a chicken farm and promptly dropped the protective shutters on one huge chicken shed. The resulting sudden loud noise caused the deaths of many hundreds of chickens—who, as we know, are incredibly susceptible to extreme changes in their environment, including things like loud noise caused by thunder and the like. In a case in Spain just in the last week, a similar terrorist reportedly attempted to rescue some rabbits. She rescued 16 rabbits, but her actions resulted in the deaths of some 90 baby rabbits. What ironic and absurd outcomes! They demonstrate the bizarre, mindless and foolish motivations of these people. And all the while they think they are doing good!
As my One Nation colleague Senator Roberts mentioned earlier, these trespassers also risk compromising the health and safety of our food and damaging the integrity of biosecurity on our farms. He noted that not one industry was safe: abattoirs, fish farms, cattle farms, sheep farms, chicken farms or even produce and fruit farms.
Thankfully, we have this bill to help address the issue. We already have laws in place that prevent trespassing, but this bill helps further in that it creates an offence of using a carriage service—the internet, emails, the web and phone services—to encourage and push others to trespass on private property and to cause damage to the operations of a primary producer. The bill doesn't prevent legitimate protest generally in Australia, as the freedom to conduct sensible and mature actions against important matters remains. This bill also doesn't prevent bona fide journalists from covering any such protests. It also protects whistleblowers in cases where the release of information aids in exposing a genuine crime, such as animal cruelty—which is something that all of us should oppose, as I do.
In this bill, it's about time that such a sensible protective measure was introduced. Our farmers work hard, long hours. They are almost always up before sunrise and are still working away when night falls. They make many sacrifices. They often work in solitary conditions. They work physically hard for the benefit of the consumers they deliver food to. And they don't need unpredictable and dangerous terrorists turning up unannounced, with misdirected motivations, causing disruption, damage and, potentially, personal harm. It makes me wonder if these so-called activists ever give any thought to how it feels to have their own homes suddenly raided by violent and noisy strangers. I'm sure they'd be the first ones to cry foul and complain to the authorities if that were to happen.
One Nation delegates recently visited a pre-export feedlot that has also been a victim of these so-called activists. Among the disruptive actions these activists took were the cutting of brake lines on tractors and farming equipment, which potentially put the lives of workers in danger, and the cutting of power cables, which also had the impact of stopping water pumps that delivered water to the livestock. These actions are hypocritical. They prove that the activists have no real idea of what they are doing and that their so-called care for animals is actually having the opposite effect in many cases and raising the anger of the general public. Farming—