FridayMash.comOpinion Piece by John Michelmore                                               

There have been comments in the media that say Barnaby Joyce is the best retail politician in the national party; but is this what you want as an elected politician. Yes, Johnny Depp’s dogs were a good news story, raising Banaby’s profile, but that does not necessarily translate into good democratic representation and government.

Are we as rural voters getting the representation we need from the Nationals?  Rather than answer the question for you it is better just to consider some major issues that are affecting us in the bush.


We all know that property rights are under serious attack in Australia from all levels governments and groups whom consider your property should be controlled as they see fit even though they have no equity in your property. Probably the biggest recent “theft” was perpetuated by John Howard when he asked the State Governments to lock up the vegetation, including edible native vegetation as in Qld’s Mulga country, so that Australia could comply with the requirements of the Kyoto protocol under the Australia Clause.  Effectively all vegetation including edible vegetation was nationalized by Howard without compensation to the vegetation owner.

As a result there have been Criminal convictions of farmers who are using their edible native vegetation, which is overwhelmingly adept at regeneration as a drought fodder and even though their fee simple title specifically said all the edible and non-edible native vegetation belongs to them. In effect that now means that the native vegetation on farms is not owned by the registered proprietor, and the existing Torrens system of title by registration is deeply under attack. Other examples of convictions continue for simple practices such as fire break construction.

The question is where was/is your, and in many cases National representation, of your property interests then and into the future? Why did they just sit on the side lines and not seriously take their partners in Government (John Howard and the Liberals) to task, or threaten removing their support for the coalition?


There is little doubt Australia is now one of the most over regulated countries in the world. There is little movement from the Nationals in deregulating the suffocating legislation and specifically regulation relating to agriculture  and livestock production. Governments in Australia tend to measure their performance based on the number of bills past in parliament, a ludicrous measure, if we need to minimise business costs in complying with the excessive legislation and regulation so we can compete against overseas imports.

The best recent example is the Senate Inquiries into agricultural levies. The first, into grass fed cattle transaction levies, and initiated by Barnaby Joyce himself, resulted in seven bipartisan recommendations. The majority of cattle producers wanted change and the Senate recommendations would have provided this. So what was the outcome? Well to date, no change, as we head to another election. We all still pay levies (taxes), are unidentified as these tax payers, and have no democratic representation. What a blatant waste of millions of taxpayer dollars for a senate Inquiry achieving nothing!! Nobody knows how much (levy) tax is collected from whom and where it all goes!!

The Red Meat Industry was nationalised in 1997 by the Nationals (John Anderson) with the Australian Meat & Livestock Industry Act, initiating a bureaucracy, under the control of government, to regulate in particular livestock production; effectively an interest in all red meat livestock without compensation.

Rather than go on ad infinitum and include all the other important issues to rural voters and property owners like; mining and fracking on agricultural land, and water rights, you as a voter in the upcoming election must balance whether you would rather have a good “retail” politician or vote for an alternative that might actually achieve something for you, your electorate and your families future. 

Protection of property rights under the Torrens system of title by registration, much less regulation, smaller government and retrenching ideological activist departments, and lower taxation rates to encourage higher participation rates in private enterprise, is critical to Australian future.

 I personally doubt more of the same is the correct course of action for Australia or Australians.


  1. Rob Wass says:

    The National’s certainly do have a sorry record when it comes to showing at lease a slightly, even a little bit, more spine than a jelly fish. Sadly even a jelly fish has more spine.

    Howard’s property law changing atrocities in engaging the States to bring laws into effect that separated native vegetation from agriculture fee simple land was a stroke of brain-dead genius, and what did the National’s do to save the land tenure system in Australia ? One would have thought that they would have worn out the arse of their pants squirming in their seats, but alas no, they just sat there like dummies and watched the property of their notional constituency get stolen before their very eyes.

    Moving on to the National’s own stroke of brain-dead genius in their writing of the Australian Meat & Livestock Industry Act in 1997. As with all direct government deep intervention into private businesses and their property this one has been the most overpowering of all. The question could arise; what were they thinking? but then again, this would be asking miles too much. It’s clear that not only have the National’s not thought for a very long time but they also don’t have a spine or nerves to carry any thought. They are as random in that department as a jelly fish.

  2. alan moran says:

    It is more than native veg as illustrated in teh case of Peter Spencer.
    From 1974, Mr Spencer’s property was incrementally rezoned so that it could not be cleared for farming. That enabled the Commonwealth Government to claim the consequent reduced greenhouse gas emissions as credits toward meeting obligations under the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997.

    The government regulations reduced the value of the property by 80 per cent to about $2 million. The NSW Government then offered to purchase it for that diminished amount.

    Government passing laws that decrease the value of something then offering to buy at that reduced value is little removed from theft.

    Mr Spencer sought compensation from the Commonwealth which had, on behalf of the nation as a whole, supposedly made benefits from the regulations in meeting its greenhouse gas-emission targets. One estimate (by Barnaby Joyce) of the nationwide costs to farmers was $200 billion.

    However, the judge decided the property rights were not taken but were “sterilised” under NSW state laws and that no compensation was called for.

    So there we have it. Governments pass laws that they claim will benefit the community as a whole but which involve costs — and in this case, by preventing economic activity, reduce potential output. But, rather than face electoral disapproval by spreading the costs through general taxation, they find a way to impose them on a narrow group of people. And the courts refuse to accept that the administrative reduction in the property values warrants compensation.
    I have much material on my site asdressing the land theft and its consequences including a submission to the Murray Darling review on behalf of the Australian Environment Foundation

    (ed ~) Alan’s website – Regulation Economics

  3. Rob Moore says:

    Alan-You have summed it up beautifully- It is all a “bad dream” to me as I had 3yrs in the trenches with Spencer. I saw the “Discovery Docs” that the Feds were forced to give him & there is NODOUBT- it should have been a “lay down mazarre ” win- due to the Carbon Credit Unit -THEFT.
    Justice & Law is a whole separate abomination in this country & they knew that time & costs would bust the strongest of challengers -in the end.I parted company over the -never ending “directions hearings”- imo – Spencer was going for the Unloosable case with more & more material requested WHEN there was more than enough already submitted.TIMING is everything in life and When the ETS started- the stolen goods started to flow and imo -it was too late for any court to “unscamble the egg.”
    Now to Joyce- In the early days – I was a great fan of the hope that Joyce showed . He climbed the wind tower where Spencer was hunger striking one day when we all trouped down to support him. Barney meant well then & was shadow Finance Minister at the time. He was local and accessible and I knew him.As I said -Spencer wouldn’t listen to me & the result is history now.
    Joyce’s trajectory has shown his “true colours”- very ambitious – not very bright and inspite of the tough glib talk- basically a pussy.I really know as I spent the 3 yrs of his AG Minister trying to get an equivalent of the US Packers & Stockyard Act- here for Australia’s desparate livestock Producers. He is very comfortable & wedded to the trough and was never going to do anything BRAVE. In fact most of us notice that he has done zero accept piss Johnny Depp off. I’m glad I’m not in New England as I can’t stand Windsor either. Surely there must be some other decent Independents…………………………………………..
    How about the irony of John Howard going in to try and save his soft arse???????

    • Rob Wass says:

      Rob M – “How about the irony of John Howard going in to try and save his soft arse???????”

      Yes…….the property vegetation thief going to save the arse of a Cattle (livestock) thief. Birds of a feather etc….etc !!

  4. alan moran says:

    Rob and Rob
    It is as you say a sorry tale. Barnaby might have been a hope but he’s caved in Government. The irony is that the Commonwealth persecutors of the theft were ostensible free-market property rights supporters,Howard and David Kemp, with the not so unlikely Hill and Turnbull (re. MDBC water) in support.

  5. Rob Moore says:

    It was not lost on me at the time BUT Robert Hill& Peter King were best mates(King being the MP that Talkbull “branch stacked out of North Sydney). King was Peter Spencers main brief for a long period and I saw many many bizarre manouvers and stuff ups. I personally got the NFF to use some of their funds from the AFFF. This put a time pressure to perform and all I could see was endless directions hearings which wasted time and money for years on end and burnt of the few supporters that were left.
    imo King could have been the perfect foil to take this nowhere……………like I said – all a bad dream for me who -like leaving the scene of a car crash -I couldn’t walk away – not for a long time anyhow. Our little prick farm would have put $20 of funds into that effort………
    No regrets as I learnt a hell of a lot about the disgusting public service/legal system & politicians.

  6. Rob Wass says:

    Alan – Howard and the States breached 2 very important fundamentals for good government:

    1) – Irrevocably breached the doctrine of the protection of life and property.

    2) – Irrevocably breached the doctrine of do no harm.

    Without a remedy for restoration, destroying land titles and the Torrens system that secures the particulars of the title, Howard and his cooperative State minions have single handily decimated the first and most important principles of Common Law.

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