Aussie Politicians Call For Tougher Penalties For Protestors Who Invade Farms
As Australia settles down from its collective anger over the vegan protests that erupted across the country on Monday, politicians are looking towards the future to stop it from happening again.
While they can't legislate against people protesting in the street (nor should they), some want to stop demonstrators from storming farms to get their message across.
New South Wales pollie Robert Borsak, leader of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, hasn't minced his words about his feelings towards the vegan protestors, describing them as 'animal rights terrorists'.
"I put forward a right to farm bill last year that would have changed the NSW Crimes Act to ensure people secretly filming, trespassing on and harassing farmers could be jailed for doing so," he said.
"The Liberals and Nationals refused to support my bill. The SFF will reintroduce our bill on criminal animal activist behaviour in the new parliament."
On Monday, in addition to dozens of people shutting down roads in Melbourne, groups infiltrated farms in NSW and Queensland and chained themselves to the property.
Nine people were arrested at the Goulburn property whereas a group of around 20 were released without charge after demanding to take livestock from the property. The farm owner actually gave three lambs to appease the protestors.
The Australian Attorney General Christian Porter agreed harsher penalties are needed.
He said: "I suggest all jurisdictions consider increasing penalties for criminal trespass, particularly as this offence relates to trespass on farmland and that further consideration be given to a nationally consistent approach to instituting an aggravated form of trespass and unlawful entry where it is conducted recklessly with the outcome of causing commercial damage to a relevant agricultural enterprise."
Queensland lawyer Dan Creevey has told news.com.au fines aren't enough to stop these protestors from intimidating and threatening these farmers.
"Court proceedings need to follow, and courts should consider recording convictions against those breaking the law," he said.
"We live in a democratic society. If activists want to protest, they have a right to do so, but there are right ways and wrong ways to do things, and trespassing on land, and impacting businesses, is not the right way."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also encouraged farmers to sue the protestors who trespassed on their lands and even offered up Commonwealth funds for the legal challenge.
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