As the second sitting week of the new parliament gets underway in Canberra, the Morrison Government is delivering on its commitment to prioritise the passage of legislation to criminalise the behaviour of those who incite farm trespass.
The Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill, which creates tough new penalties for those who incite trespass, property damage or theft on agricultural land, is scheduled for debate in the House of Representatives today.
“By making this legislation a first order priority, the government is sending a clear signal that it will not tolerate the sort of behavior we have seen from anti-farming activists, and is prepared to act swiftly and decisively” said National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President Fiona Simson.
“There has been a surge in anti-farm activism this year, including highly distressing incidents where farms, feedlots and abattoirs have been invaded by activists who harass and intimidate law abiding farmers.”
“The NFF congratulates the government on making the passage of this legislation a priority, and calls on the opposition and cross bench to support the Bill.”
The Bill includes important protections for journalists and those who are making lawful disclosures of information, such as whistleblowing.
“We are not in the business of suppressing free speech or shielding those who fail to meet the regulated standards of animal welfare from scrutiny” Mrs Simson said.
“The NFF supports the right of individuals to engage in lawful and respectful protest. Unfortunately many anti-farming activists have chosen to express their views by trespassing, harassing and putting at risk the safety of farming families, their workers and their livestock.”
“The measures in the Criminal Code Amendment Bill provide some comfort to farmers that there are now real consequences for those who incite this behavior, which we hope will provide a strong deterrent for this criminal conduct”.