TOUGH new laws to prevent farm trespass are expected to pass the Senate when parliament returns to Canberra later this month.
While Greens senators have still not publicly declared which way they will vote when the Bill enters the Upper House, statements by various MPs during the election campaign could be seen as support for the new measures designed to deter extreme animal activists from breaking on to farms or abattoirs.
The Government moved in the first week of the new parliament to bring on the legislation, which Coalition MPs, and particularly the Prime Minister, campaigned strongly on prior to the election.
The Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019 introduces new offences for the incitement of trespass, property damage or theft on agricultural land.
The Bill proposes new criminal penalties to protect farmers from “the unlawful actions of animal activists”.
Attorney-General Christian Porter told parliament animal activist group, Aussie Farms, had maliciously used personal information specifically to encourage others to trespass on properties and damage businesses.
There are exemptions for bona fide journalists and for situations where the information being released shows a law being broken, such as whistleblowing on animal cruelty.
With the Bill tabled earlier than expected, The Greens did not formally declare a position on the matter and will not reveal their position publicly until they next meet on July 22.
While the party says it was committed to ending animal cruelty, Greens leader Richard Di Natale has said publicly on a number of occasions he did not support breaking the law.
West Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has also distanced the party from any link to animal activists, stating they were “in no way affiliated”.
National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson said she was pleased to see the Bill tabled so soon.
Source: Weekly Times