Protesters putting lives at risk

When a farmer has his business invaded, it almost always means that his home is invaded too

Canberra recorded its coldest morning since the 1980s last week.

At -8 degrees Celsius it was the first time I had ice form on my boots while playing football.

In the same week, radical green protesters invaded ports, highways and mines to campaign against global warming.

They must be proud to be part of the most successful protest for some time.

Judging by how cold it is they seem to have defeated global warming.

Their behaviour though is illegal and puts people’s lives at risks.

When these morons climb onto coal loaders or superglue themselves to roads, they not only put their safety at risk but the poor workers that have to get them down are put at risk too.

We are experiencing a spike in such stupidity right now.

Because their activities affect major roads and thousands of people, there is a public outcry. Invariably governments will eventually respond to the outrage with some kind of crackdown.

But then the months pass, governments move on, and the cycle continues.

Even more threatening conduct does not hit the news.

Last month, Margo Andrae, the CEO of Australian Pork Limited, gave shocking evidence to a Senate Committee on the intimidation and harassment that she, her staff and farmers face daily.

Margo told us that some of these activists gained access to her offices by posing as plumbers.

They take photos of her staff which are posted to social media calling them murderers.

Others are threatened with harm and have had to shut down their social media pages as a result.

And, farmers have their businesses invaded by these trespassers regularly.

As Margo said, “These people do not stop … It is not fair when you cannot walk down to your sheds and open those doors confidently thinking you’re safe, thinking that your team is safe.

They are doing their jobs and they are very proud to provide food to this country.”

Because it affects farmers far from our motorways and populated centres, it does not make the nightly news.

There is not the political pressure for something to be done.

But from a personal perspective it is worse than the impact in a city.

When a farmer has his business invaded, it almost always means that his home is invaded too.

His kids have to live with the worry that there may be someone, at night, just outside their bedroom window.

My kids are afraid of “bogeymen”. At least I can confidently assure them that no one is outside.

Many farmers in Australia can no longer provide their families with that peace of mind.

A few years ago, a swarm of hundreds of animal activists invaded a farm in southern Queensland.

The dramatic footage did make the nightly news.

And the former Liberal-National Government took action and increased penalties for anyone organising such action. We have not seen a repeat.

The harassment now seems to take less dramatic forms but it is no less damaging to the personal safety of our nation’s farmers.

This kind of conduct must be stamped out.

It is time to get more serious about applying penalties on people who invade the homes and businesses of others just because they cannot get their way at an election.

Cracking down on the superglue class is not just important because of the direct inconvenience they cause, it is also essential to maintain our democratic form of representative government.

We must steadfastly defend the principle, that if you want to change Australian laws, you stand for election, and you do not, and cannot, super glue yourself to a road.