ASA Submission to the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019
Laws protecting farmers from farm trespass
The Australian parliament has passed legislation which criminalises the incitement of trespass and property destruction on agricultural land. The laws came into the spotlight following the release of the Aussie Farms map which identified farming premises across the country, alongside illegally obtained footage.
ASA was concerned that the Bill did not protect showgrounds from animal rights activists and felt there was a case to be made, because:
- agricultural shows are an important part of primary production, providing a showcase for agriculture in regional and urban centres;
- farmers exhibiting their livestock at showgrounds are vulnerable to protests that may harm the farmer, animals and the general public (an activist could incite a protester to open cattle stalls during a show, creating a risk to public safety); and
- the Bill should not be confined to the particular concern that led to its drafting (publication of private addresses). If a person published information about after-hours security at a show, for the purpose of inciting a break-in, that would be just as harmful as the same conduct as publishing a farm address.
A copy of ASA’s submissions can be read here: ASA criminal code amendment bill submission – July 2019
Unfortunately the intent of ASA’s submission has not been included in the final text of the Bill.
A thorough explanation of the Bill is available in the Parliamentary Library’s Bills Digest.