Tough new farm trespass laws to protect farmers across the New England from the unlawful actions of animal activists have passed the Australian Parliament.
Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill deals with the threat posed by others, basically breaking into your business.
“Why should a person who does not have proper authority be able to do that?” Mr Joyce questioned.
“Farmers are sick of being bullied by zealots who believe their views trump your rights.
“The Coalition Government is serious about deterring those who want to disrupt and intimidate our family farmers in their homes and on their properties.”
The Bill makes it a criminal offence to publish material, via a carriage service like the internet, if persons intend to incite trespass, property damage or theft on agricultural land.
Agriculture Minister, Bridget McKenzie, said anyone convicted of the offence would face up to five years in prison.
“Australians expect the farmers who feed and clothe us – and many millions around the world – should not be harassed, or worse, as they go about their work,” Minister McKenzie said.
“The time has come for activists to understand that they can’t just descend on someone’s home and place of work, interfere with their business and steal their animals.
“We’re not banning protests—we’re banning militant animal activists from inciting others to break the law.”
The Government amended the Bill to include adding wood processing facilities to coverage under the Bill. The Bill will be presented for Royal Assent through the regular process.