O'Brien backs jail crackdown on animal rights agitators
WIDE Bay Nationals candidate Llew O'Brien has backed a new LNP plan for tougher sanctions for activists who incite trespassing including sentences of up to a year in jail.
The policy comes with rumblings online from last week's animal activists' "day of action” in which protesters chained themselves to machinery and disrupted city centres, was not done yet.
"(Farmers) are everyday people doing lawful things,” Mr O'Brien said.
"They don't expect to have 100 people storm their house.”
It follows the publication of a controversial map by activist group Aussie Farms which listed the details of thousands of farms across Australia.
Mr O'Brien said the map's creation, and its impact on people running a business within Australian law, was hypocritical.
"If you said to half these left-wing activists 'do you believe we should have a child sex offender register?' they'd probably say no.
"But they'll do this to farmers?”
There was no nuance to the madness either.
No even farmers at the cutting edge of ethical farming were given any quarter.
"We're talking about people who have set a new standard in ethical treatment of animals, and they're on the list.”
Visiting Maranoa candidate and last parliament's Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said activists must be made aware where the line is.
"They're not above the law, they're not elected.”
"Just because they don't get the outcome after the investigation doesn't mean they're right.
"There has to be an independent umpire.”
"Farmers themselves want to see those who aren't doing the right (thing) be called out.”
"If the processes aren't right, we need to fix it as a government.
"I've done that with my own department as a regulator.
"I've got a responsibility to change that if it's wrong.”
Those who did break the law, he said, were only hurting those who had gone vegan with a minimal of fuss.
"Vegans are important to agriculture, make no mistake ... I encourage them to continue to support Australian agriculture.”
Mr Littleproud called on state governments to step up and ensure farmers were safe at their properties.
"We've had a case in Queensland where a recidivist for the third time went in front of a magistrate and he was given a $200 fine,” he said.
"That says the State Government doesn't take this seriously enough.”
"I understand they might want to fine them to start with.
"But if you're a recidivist you might need to be removed from society to reflect quietly on your actions.
"If Llew and I and 100 of our best mates stormed their house in Brisbane with our phones going we'd be cuffed and in the clink within half an hour.
"Farming families deserve the same protection.”
Without the benefit of that protection, Mr Littleproud said, the situation had the potential to turn nasty in swift order.
"We need calm, and they need to understand ... those farmers need to be respected and need to be left alone,” he said.
"I fear if there's not calm, leadership or respect above all ... then we will have trouble.”