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Federal Politics

Dec 12, 2009

'Carbongate' The Great Carbon Heist

Exclusive to Crikey - Possibly the greatest  Scandal of this decade "Carbongate" - the theft of billions of dollars in Carbon Credits.

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Exclusive to Crikey – Possibly the greatest  Scandal of this decade “Carbongate” – the theft of billions of dollars in Carbon Credits.

Over the coming week Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will attend the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and be hailed as one of the world leaders on climate change action. The PM attends the meeting with Australia being one of a handful of developed countries to have met their Kyoto Treaty obligations. Australia’s Kyoto commitment was to limit the Nations Carbon Dioxide emissions to 108% of 1990 levels.

The Carbongate “Trick”

The “trick” is how Australia, with a rapidly growing economy over the last two decades, has been able to achieve this. Emissions from energy and transport have increased by 23% over 1990 levels. Australians might wonder how with our rapidly growing population and economy over the last two decades, as a nation we seemed to  be in a position to claim that we only increased our total emissions by 9%. Well, we haven’t. Our emissions have increased by 30% but thanks to the “carbongate” swindle we can claim it’s only 9%.

Here is the “trick” and it is not PM Kevin Rudd’s “trick”, it was actually the Liberal / National Coalition Howard Government’s master stoke. At the Kyoto negotiations in November 1997 Senator Robert Hill was able to negotiate into the agreement what controversially became known at the “Australian clause” .  Clive Hamilton documents the trickery of the Coalition’s bargaining that brought about the inclusion of the Australia clause in his book “Scorcher”. Indeed he devotes a whole chapter to it – Chapter 6 Drama at Kyoto. From page 72:

“As emissions from land-clearing had decline sharply since 1990, their inclusion in the base year would give us a cushion of ‘free’ emissions reductions. our fossil-fuel emissions would be able to increase to at least 120 percent of 1990 levels by 2010 while still coming in under overall target of 105 to 110% . The Australia clause represented a loophole in the Kyoto Protocol that a couple of Bulldozers with a chain between them could drive through.”

The brilliant “win” for the Federal Government at Kyoto was  only the first part of the “trick”. To make it work the Howard Government then had to stop private property owners land-clearing. Not only did they have to stop them but  as private property it had to be done at no cost to the Commonwealth. This in the face of the Constitution which states that if the Commonwealth takes a private citizen’s property for its’ benefit it must compensate the citizen on “just terms”.

The Howard Government then set about having the Carr and Beattie State Labor Governments introduce  Vegetation Management laws that effectively locked up 109 million hectares of privately owned land into the world’s largest privately owned carbon sink. The “trick’ is with the Native Vegetation laws being passed by State Governments Under the Constitution the State Governments have no obligation to pay private landholders compensation. Brilliant, they’d created the world’s largest carbon sink – at no cost to the Commonwealth.

With the “trick”  now in place Australia’s Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 22% when you add back in the 83.7 millions tonnes of CO2 that was not emitted from land that may have been cleared at no cost to the Commonwealth. This and this alone has allowed Australia to meet its Kyoto Protocol Treaty Obligations and in doing so has saved the Commonwealth tens of billions of dollars in compliance penalties by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Australian family farmers have never been compensated  for this Kyoto “free kick” that the nation and in particular the energy and transport industries have received.

That is how the Liberal National Coalition government effectively  “stole’ what has amounted to 83.7 million tonnes of Carbon Credits from private individual landholders and is the sole reason that todays Labor Prime Minister can be heralded as a true warrior of climate change with Australia having met its Kyoto obligation – cost free.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong being interviewed in Copenhagen on the ABC 7.30 report admitted that the only reason Australia was able to claim it had met its’ Kyoto commitments was thanks to the blanket ban on broad scale land clearing.

“I think what you’re referring to is the way we account for emissions from land clearing, which was agreed at the Kyoto Protocol. And Australia did respond to that. We did reduce our land clearing. We took active steps, particularly in Queensland, and Queensland is to be congratulated for fact that the reduction in land clearing in that state and also NSW has reduced Australia’s national emissions.”

The effected Australian family farmers are not celebrating their contribution.  The impact on the relatively few citizens who have been asked to bear this enormous burden should outrage each and every fair minded citizen of this country.

The lock-up of their land has caused great hardship and driven many devastated landholders to desperate measures including suicides. A symbol of the despair and desperation felt by those carrying the Nation’s entire Kyoto burden is New South Wales farmer Peter Spencer who is in the 20th day of a hunger strike on a two metre platform high up a 300 foot tower on his property just outside of  Canberra. See Video ACA interview with Peter Wednesday 9th – Dec – day 18 of Peters  Hunger Strike.

Peter says that Federal Government has declared his 5,385 hectare property a carbon Sink without compensating him. Peter had never wanted to clear his land, but under the vegetation management act the entire property is rendered off limits to any form of development.

These effected Australian farmers have been responsible for virtually the entire burden of the Nation’s greenhouse gas emission reductions but their efforts worth billions of dollars have not been recognized or financially rewarded.

These farming families have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 70 million tonnes since 1990 and by 2010 the saving will be about 83.7million tonnes. To put that into context that is equivalent to eliminating the entire annual emissions of New Zealand or Ireland. Over that same period of time emissions from energy and transport have continued to skyrocket.

Hide the takings

Peter’s hunger strike has gathered support from grassroots people from Australia, the US, UK, Pakistan and Malaysia. On the Peter Spencer Hunger Strike causes site over 150 people have been lobbying frantically to  get the mainstream media to cover the story and for politicians to intervene on Peter’s behalf.

Peter’s supporters have been bombarding State and Federal Labor, Liberal and National Party Politicians and the mainstream media to bring attention to his cause.

But Peter’s story is being stonewalled by the mainstream media and Politicians of all colours and creeds. So far they have managed to have Peter’s story covered by 2GB’s Alan Jones with a live interview with Peter Spencer and his barrister Peter King by mobile phone on Tuesday morning and one with Alastair McRobert who is at the property with Peter on Thursday morning and a 5 minute spot on Channel 9’s A Current affair on Thursday night (the video above).

Fairfax Media, News Corporation and the ABC have steadfastly refused to run the story except for The Telegraph which ran a small piece last Sunday on page 42 titled He’s the Darryl Kerrigan of Climate Change. There has been a small amount of coverage in regional media –  see a full list here. The group knows that the mainstream media is stonewalling the story because a journalist from the Sydney Morning Herald was due at the property Tuesday   – but the story was pulled without any reason offered by the papers editor.

Peter’s supporters have contacted by phone or email or in many cases both, Andrew Bolt, Laurie Oaks, Miranda Devine, Paul Kelly, Kerry O’Brien, Tony Jones and every major metropolitan TV, Radio and Newspaper with no result. You can read all of there efforts on the Peter Spencer Hunger Strike group wall.

The response from politicians is equally frustrating. Liberal and National politicians for obvious reasons are ducking for cover, not wanting to get involved and saying it is a matter for the Rudd Government to sort out. The Prime Minister has referred Peter’s letter to him to the Federal Police. That is the extent of his response and Labor politicians State and Federal everywhere want nothing to do with the issue.

To his great credit one Federal Liberal Politician Alex Hawke the member for Mitchell was one of the earliest people to join and show his support.

Peter Spencer’s peaceful protest has the potential to embarrass a great number of politicians from all sides of politics , State and Federal, who have been  complicit in the “Carbongate” great Carbon Credit theft. They are all keen to “hide the takings”.

How is it that they can all condone the taking of billions of dollars of benefit for the nation from private citizens, yet look at paying the huge polluters billions of dollars of compensation to cut carbon emissions through the Rudd Government’s proposed CPRS? “Carbongate” – is truly an incredible blight on our democracy  and an embarrassment to our nation.

Peters supporter’s, the majority of whom are from urban areas and from all walks of life, are desperate as time runs out for Peter. This comment shows the diversity and the depth of feeling from one of Peters supporter’s:

Comment by Leith Carnie on December 10, 2009 at 1:11pm

“I would just like to say I am a Tree-Hugger. I am a part of an environmental activist group, I have close friends who sit in trees to stop them being logged and end up arrested etc (I’m even Vegetarian).

I’m not here to debate whether Peter should or shouldn’t have the right to clear his land (from what I’ve read he doesn’t!) I’m here because of the violation of Australia’s Constitutional Rights. I will back Peter’s Right to compensation via that constitution.

This is not about Tree-Huggers V’s Loggers for me. I will stand beside Peter all the way.
After this is over, and WE have won, if Peter decides to clear his entire property I may very well be lying in front of his bull dozer! 😉 But that is an entirely different kettle. The people of Australia should be together to defend our rights.”

There are hundreds of other such comments on Peter’s site, including heart felt messages of thanks and support from Peter.s family.’

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60 thoughts on “‘Carbongate’ The Great Carbon Heist

  1. Sue M

    I know how much you guys respect and admire Barnaby Joyce on Crikey – as do I because he’s a politician with the courage of his convictions. http://agmates.ning.com/group/barnabyjoyce/forum/topics/visiting-peter-spencer?xg_source=activity

    Well why Ruddie continues to sign away compensation to third world nations the negligence of fair compensation to Australians continues.

  2. Joanne

    Drew

    It is deceptive and misleading to refer to “rape and pillage” and a “dry hollow husk”. Such inaccurate and emotive language lends nothing to credibility.
    Properties which are improved ie cleared are planted with waving wheat crops or grasses and all the problems variously cited as the results of clearing are exaggerated at best or jut plain wrong.
    To compare any other area to the Murray Darling Basin is mischievous in the extreme.
    All of you so called intelligentsia are doing nothing but spouting populist rantings against farmers with the little knowledge you have being a dangerous thing.
    Recent research has shown for example that there are greater amounts of Carbon sequestered in soil under pasture than under pine forestry (MLA). Not counted in the emissions debate.
    This science is NOT settled.
    You have all followed a red herring re the clearing of trees and made hardworking, struggling families struggle even harder.

  3. jack jones

    Mr Farmer, re landcare means that farmers leave the land in a better state than they received it. A few do, that’s right, a shedload don’t – The real value of landcare has been lost in the orgy of self congratlation around it promoted by agribusiness to evade reasonable regulation like landclearing. There’s some good in it, I personally know some great people, I also know a lot that are just not cutting it. Putting out press releases does not constitute changing land management. Have a look at the massive weed problems across much of arid and northern Australia caused by exotic pastoral grass introduction and continued promotion with no care for the wider impacts.Costs the taxpayer millions yet any attempt to list weeds as a problem usually meets with howls of protest from the ag lobby. In terms of pastoral properties, I could reel off a few..how about AACO, The Sultan of Brunei, previously the Packer family, the Holmes-a-courts, family farmers? Yep and Rupert Murdoch is just a small publisher, a bit of honesty doesn’t hurt here. Are there battlers out there? definitely. ARe there an organised group of extremely well heeled agribusiness and larger farmers-oh yeah baby, and guess which one funds the National Party?…Regarding drought assistance, what are we going to do with the increased drying due to climate change? Just put increasing numbers of farmers on the gravy train b/c they are now in “drought”? Fair enough, hand it out where its warranted. But there are many aspects of this which just has become a constant rort and in fact just increases the misery of marginal farming areas where no amount of free drought money from the taxpayer is going to make things viable. Its an endless hole to fill and we need to be honest with those people and stop propping up unviable farms. re soil carbon, I’m all for paying people to pump it back in when we can actually work out how to do and measure it properly, which is some way down the track. I am not in favour of handing over money to nutty right wing property rights campaigners who figure that in order to stop them damaging their own and our collective interests they should be paid. Had a look at the Murray lately?-there’s your property rights in full swing, water handed out to people who went for broke, have you calculated how much its going to cost to fix that mess? Im all for supporting equally the burden to do that, I’ll chuck in my taxpayer contribution, but buggered if I’m going to support maintaining people in unviable situations because it contravenes some right wingers ideaology to do otherwise.

  4. farmer

    Fredex

    I was wrong – yes you are a farmer

    I would still contend it is disingenous of you to claim to be “someone in the middle of this” as an irrigation farmer with 300ha and a few ha of scrub cannot rely relate to the situation of Peter Spencer (done your research yet?) and even myself – we have over 1 million trees on our property that we manage for free on behalf of all Australians – we have no rights over these trees whatsoever yet we must maintain them – suffer the damages that can be caused by them (fires, feral stock, fence damage) and pay rates on the land that they are on.
    I wouldn’t of been in favour of compensation for my carbon credits from my trees in 1990 until this recent trend for “meat free monday” , “go veg save the planet” etc etc some of which is even coming out of the IPCC itself! .

    Then I get riled up – you cannot just count my emmissions after removing my offsets it IS NOT FAIR as the evidence is in and becoming irrefutable farming livestock is close to a carbon balance . No real surprise to anyone with common sense being a natural cycle and all but this conclusion does fly totally in the face of the messages being put out about agriculture at the present point in time.

  5. Drew

    I’m all in agreeance for compensation but I get irked by comments such as “loss of the use of the landscape.” Who is to say that landscape must be “used” and utilised? We do Aussies think that as humans we must rape and pillage the land for all it has and leave only a dry hollow husk?

  6. Joanne

    We’re talking about the Constitution and “just terms” here.
    It’s not an arena to take pot shots at farmers.

    Apparently its OK to flaunt the Constitution if farmers are the victims but maybe not if they want to take YOUR house to build a road.
    I had expected some more intelligent comment from crikey.

  7. fredex

    “…dry land salinity, seeing as most hold irrigation farmers as the major offenders here.”

    I agree fully, absolutely,, as far as it relates to MDB irrigation and that is a considerable problem as it is in broadacre lands.
    And salinity is just one of many nasty side effects of devegetation.

    But my analogies were quite apt actually, they were showing that we, farmers and non farmers, have to accept laws like all members of our society and to cry for compensation in the instance under discussion seems extremely far fetched and has been couched in hysterical overblown hyperbolic language.

    As I said I do not expect compo for not destroying my remnant native veg patch and I have never applied for any funding for the approx 15,000 local native trees I and my family and friends have spent about 17 years planting by hand on our property to enchance its value and productivity.

    What I have found amusing, and distasteful, is the assumption that I must be one of ‘them’, you know, concrete surrounded vermin city slicker.
    It really is revealing of a sad mind set.

    But thank you for what I take as a conciliatory tone.

  8. Sue M

    Ah fredex an “irrigation farmer” – no wonder you know so much about dry land salinity, seeing as most hold irrigation farmers as the major offenders here.

    I’m sorry for the concrete slur fredex, but not for calling your comparisons ludicrous and absurd…. I’m however not a farmer (didn’t realise you had to be on this forum) just have an interest in the rights of average Australians, sustainability of rural communities and the ability for Australians to produce food for our tables.

  9. fredex

    You know, fellow farmer, you could just admit that you were wrong, twice, about me being a farmer, because it doesn’t fit into your world view.
    You could even apologise for the unwarranted slur [‘disengenuous’ etc].

    But you don’t.

  10. farmer

    My worldview is that you put a fairly silly post in that has no relevance to farming, farmers, the environment, carbon, climate change, Peter Spencer etc etc

    To remind you

    “I’ll start up a factory of some sort and pour toxic waste into the local drinking water supply.
    And then when some busybody govt dept wants to interfere with my gods given right to do what I want and stops me poisoning the water supply, I’ll claim compensation.

    I’ll get my brother to set up a chicken farm, 10,000 or so chooks in a suburb, and when some local council tells him he can’t do that we’ll claim millions in lost revenue.

    Oh and my younger sister, she can claim compo because the govt won’t let her sell heroin at her corner store. Think of the money she could make!”

  11. TheIceCapsAreMelting

    Er Fredex, what would you suggest Peter Spencer do with his land? A good suggestion may well save his life…

  12. fredex

    Irrigation farmer, makes a difference you know.
    Sorry it doesn’t fit into your world view.

  13. farmer

    Sorry Fredex but with 300ha you are a hobby farmer and do not rely on it for your livelihood – disingenuous of you to claim otherwise.

    I reiterate before you attack Peter – take the time to research his case.

  14. farmer

    Jack Jones :- We are currently paying gazillions of dollars for the farming mistakes of the past so that family farmers do not have to individually pay.

    Response – carefully thought out arguement here – what is a gazillion and factually incorrect. Farmers now leave land in better state than recieved – ever heard of Landcare – established by farmers and Aust most successful environmental movement.

    Jack Jones :- because lets face it, 99.99% of the land that makes sense to clear in Australia has already been cleared if you are talking about growing food –

    Response – on what basis do you make this claim and in any case surely as our climate changes the areas that are suitable for growing food will move. Moreover current carbon rules make no allowance for how this vegetation is managed and thickening up of remnant veg has huge potential to lock up more carbon but not currently allowed.

    Jack Jones :- Oh and by the way, lets be a bit more honest when we are talking about family farmers. Does that include the several dozen pastoral agribusinesses worth millions and millions of dollars too? The ones that own absolutely vast tracts of this country and seem to think they can do what ever they like and use the ‘family farmer’ brand to cover their arses when the public finds out the level of problems they are causing us.

    Response :- What problems are the pastoralists causing – please extrapolate? Reality is that they ARE owned by families – how is this a bad thing. Surely being passed from generation to generation means more care will be taken of the land. How does something being worth millions of dollars mean it is a bad thing? – I think this exposes that perhaps your “green” credentials may be that of envy not environment?

    Jack Jones :-How about we tote up the amount of money us poor suckers are paying in drought relief in arid areas (what a rort), various subsidies to agriculture (take your pick the list is huge), the gazillions we are spending trying to stop the Murray getting sucked dry, money on weed control, erosion etc etc and then subtract that from whatever sequestration is going on out there

    Response :- careful what you wish for you are asking to compare a few hundred million of assistance with tens of billions of expense – I for one would happily grant your wish. Also FYI Australian ag is one of the least subsidised in the world.

    Jack Jones :- Maybe there will one day be a system which means people can get LEGITIMATE payments for REAL carbon sequestration benefit.

    Response :- there already is – ever heard of soil carbon. Of course the nongs in the environmental movement don’t want a bar of it as it means that the wider population will not get to suffer and we won’t have food shortages and a money go round to make the merchant bankers fat. Oh and there may not be as big a need for people to jump up and down and say “we’ll all be ruined”

  15. fredex

    There are some seriously strange responses here.

    Clearly built on a myopic and paranoid world view that sees itself as under attack from an outside force and is hysterical in its defence.
    Privilege and power, as well as money, seem to be the main concerns, care for Australians and Australia not so.
    Whilst all Australians find themselves subject to rules and laws this group does not accept that they should be subject to same and are lashing out at ‘communists/ thieves/comrades/treason’, including death threats.
    The language used is frantic.
    So much for the stated belief in ‘free speech’, apparently you can say what you like but if you don’t agree you will be abused, insulted and threatened.
    Hmm, any moderation going on here?

    Get a grip on reality people, the rules of how to manage land have changed, catch up, poisoning water and air, destroying veg, ‘culling’ animals etc is no longer a sacred right.

    Essentially what you are complaining about, controls placed on what we do and how we do it in the interests of the greater social and community good, is the accepted norm for a civilized society.
    Has been for a very long time for ‘ordinary’ people.

    Now for the benefit of the few people here that do not seem to be part of the noisy clique of whingers.
    I want to assure you that all farmers are not so hysterical and extremist as the sample here would seem to suggest.

    Some persons here have made a huge and false assumption that I must be an evil ‘city slicker type, sorry not so, please adjust your world view, if possible, its wrong.

    I’m a farmer, I live miles away from any concrete. the nearest large shop is 47 kms by dirt road.
    Last time I was on a private farm?
    Now.

    I really do have 300 hectares of producing ag land, I really do have a patch of remnant native scrub that I was offered money for [jokingly of course, both I and the bloke who made the offer accept that we cannot clear land for our private benefit anymore] …. and I absolutely do not expect some government fella to materialise on my place and offer me compensation for not destroying it.

    Relax people, its not the end of the world, no body is out to get you, in fact your privileged position in this society is still pretty strong and safe.
    Take a chill pill.

  16. jack jones

    I feel genuinely sorry for the guy on hunger strike-he’s obviously in a state…BUT…the only thing that stopped landclearing in Qld was the dedicated actions of conservationists. Farmers who had clearing permits WERE compensated with structural adjustment packages. It was NOT the federal government who drove this but Queenslanders themselves who had had enough of the wholesale destruction (despite a number of federal politicians later claiming credit). People’s property rights were NOT taken away, they were, like some areas of our lives, simply regulated in the national interest. (hey I don’t like driving on the left hand side all the time, its a government based coercion of my rights, but I’m not sticking my hand out for compensation) We are currently paying gazillions of dollars for the farming mistakes of the past so that family farmers do not have to individually pay. Fair enough I reckon but its a bit rich when they are whingeing about not getting money for nothing. The argument seems to be-there is this land we own (or lease in many cases from the taxpayer), we aren’t going to clear it anyway (because lets face it, 99.99% of the land that makes sense to clear in Australia has already been cleared if you are talking about growing food), so DESPITE the fact that we aren’t going to clear it, we want you taxpayers (or whoever) to pay us for this thing we were never going to do. So does that mean I get paid for the plants in my garden too? Ive got a gum tree, where’s my cheque?? I could plant a tomato there and feed myself instead, or sell it! Please you people! Oh and by the way, lets be a bit more honest when we are talking about family farmers. Does that include the several dozen pastoral agribusinesses worth millions and millions of dollars too? The ones that own absolutely vast tracts of this country and seem to think they can do what ever they like and use the ‘family farmer’ brand to cover their arses when the public finds out the level of problems they are causing us? Thought so…How about we tote up the amount of money us poor suckers are paying in drought relief in arid areas (what a rort), various subsidies to agriculture (take your pick the list is huge), the gazillions we are spending trying to stop the Murray getting sucked dry, money on weed control, erosion etc etc and then subtract that from whatever sequestration is going on out there. We are going to be in a situation where people are at the same time voting against any action on climate change and for complete nonce’s like Barnaby Joyce, yet then doing a 180 degree pirouette with half pike and saying “oh and by the way you have to pay me!” Maybe there will one day be a system which means people can get LEGITIMATE payments for REAL carbon sequestration benefit. But please spare us the righteous anger, its going to send us all broke.

  17. Hide the Decline

    Fredex – perhaps you could answer some very simple and elementary questions in the name of a being a good communal comrade of all things that you don’t own and perhaps have only read about.

    Is 75% of fredex’s land covered in cement ?
    What is fredex going to do to redress this cemented area ?
    How much cement do farmers tip on their land ?
    When and where was the last time fredex visited a privately owned farm ?
    When and where was the last time fredex visited an Government/Community owned farm ?
    How does fredex pay his/her rates ?
    How do farmers pay their rates ?
    How does fredex pay his/her telephone and electricity bills ?
    How do farmers pay their telephone and electricity bills ?
    How does fredex pay for, and feed his/her family ?
    How do farmers feed fredex’s family ?
    How do farmers feed their own family ?
    Does the title on fredex’s block of land say it is for building his house on ?
    Does the title on a farmers block of land say it is for agriculture and primary production ?
    Did fredex pay for his/her block of land ?
    Do farmers pay for their land ?
    Can fredex prove he owns his/her land ?
    Can farmers prove they own their land ?
    Assuming fee simple, does the government, or the community own any part of fredex’s land?
    Assuming fee simple, what part do governments, or the community own of farmers land ?
    Farming and grazing is a very expensive operation, is fredex willing to pay more and get less for his/her food and fibre ?
    What is fredex going to do if the government demands that he get a permit so he can walk in his front door or wander in his/her own back yard ?
    What is fredex going to do if the government wants to reclaim his/her house and land block for the benefit of the community and pay him/her nothing for it ?
    When was the last time fredex actually did anything substantial for the environment ?
    What was it that fredex did ?
    Was fredex paid anything to do this work ?
    Can fredex go to jail for doing his normal 9 to 5 job ?
    Can farmers go to jail for doing their normal job ?

    I suppose to be fair to fredex it has to be assumed that fredex actually owns anything that is, fredex is not reliant on someone else’s equity for his/her very existence. Lets face it fredex, in the final analysis and, using any excuse, you and your comrades want the full gain of someone else’s property and you don’t want to pay for it.

  18. farmer

    Fredex

    Basically what this is about is you have a right to something and the govt takes it away and sells it to someone else and gives you no compensation.
    It has nothing to do with actually clearing trees it has to do with the $$ value of “not clearing trees” being appropriated from an individual.
    Take the time and research what has happened to Peter since he bought the property in 1980.

  19. Sue M

    Oh dear fredex you can’t see the wood for the trees can you?

    Once again you give a ludicrous example completely at odds with the facts and irrelevant to the debate.

    As for the whole crux of the matter, you’re as far off in your opinion as I would be assuming from your post above “relevant sources directly related to the costs of removing vegetation” you’d like us to forget food production and lock the whole nation up for recreational purposes, camping and water skiing. What do you reckon?

  20. RuddIsACommunist

    Apart from Commissar Rudde enforcing (fascism) his AGENDA21 doctrine he is a traitor and liar, he must stand down for all the secret dealings he and his staffers and the bureaucrats have been agreeing to at the G20 meetings leading up to COP15.

    Treason and nothing less.. I remind you all..
    AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION
    44. Any person who -(i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives

  21. alchymiste

    I’m going to very quietly and simply advocate everyone reading – really reading – what is written.

    The central issue is not that Peter is not allowed to clear his land. The issue is that any development is forbidden, including ecologically responsible development, which might allow him to earn a living from the private property he has invested his own money in acquiring.

    Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that he intended to do something like this: “Now, the land itself was going to be developed along the lines of a farm plan drawn up by the Department of Lands and Environment, and this plan was drawn up with massive overlays, aerial photographs and studies of soil types, timber types, and it was going to be recommended, through that study, for agri-forestry and sheep, so timber and grazing amongst that timber. To keep all of our big forest, like our mountain gums and our ash, we were going to maintain those forests. We didn’t want to damage the original forest, but the regrowth areas” (snipped from Still’s post).

    Seems to me that this is a course of action worth exploring. Even if he intended to keep a proprotion of the property as a carbon sink, and use a proprotion to ensure his own living, and a living for his family, that would seem reasonable.

    I simply don’t understand why so many people choose to take an extremist, all-or-nothing appraoch to any discourse, rather than trying to assess an argument on its own merits.

    Just… just think it through, folks.

  22. fredex

    Oh dear Sue you don’t like people protecting the environment do you?

    Now isn’t the whole crux of this the fact that the farmer fella isn’t being allowed to destroy native veg cos its illegal?

    Now lets say I had, oh I dunno, maybe 6-7 hectares of remnant native scrub on a farm property of 300 odd hectares.
    Say several hundred mature trees with a tonne or few of firewood potential each.
    Should I be allowed to have them cut down for firewood so I can make a few thousand dollars, maybe $10-20,000 after some costs?
    What do you reckon?

  23. Sue M

    Fredex your response is so absurd. How can you compare Peters plight with the ludicrous examples you have given. The difference is Peter was not doing anything illegal just trying to make a living.

    Now if for example your brother had a free range chicken farm or your sister grew poppies for commercial sale and were making a living to support their family and even their dead beat brother until the government decided to make their land a natures pathway for the rare native bilby – no compensation offered, then maybe you’d have cause for complaint also.

    As for concrete I guarantee there’s less around these parts than where you’re from. Grab a pair of boots and have a swim in the harbour you vermin.

  24. Joanne

    All this vitriol against farmers. I can only assume that you don’t eat ANYTHING and that you don’t intend to into the future.
    There has been such an outpouring of urban myth and misinformation that I can only answer some of it.
    Anthropogenic salinity is rare in Queensland even on cleared country and is usually found on intensively farmed and irrigated land if at all.
    Erosion is if anything more likely to occur on treed but sparsely grassed areas deprived of available moisture by the trees than on country that has been cleared and planted with crops or high protein grasses.
    Clearing of trrees does NOT reduce productivity. Why on earth do you think it is done?
    As for the livestock industries getting a free ride in the CPRS debate, emissions from livestock industries are gross emissions and have been counted using an international protocol based on intensive systems and are hugely inaccurate when applied to Australian rangeland conditions.
    Work from South America and as yet unpublished Australian work is suggesting that NETT emissions under Australian type grazing systems are likely to be Carbon nuetral so in effect nothing was given to the livestock sector. Believe me no-one does the farming sector any favours.
    However what this debate is about is the Constitution, the Rule of Law, Civil Rights and the right of people to make an honest living.
    All this has been trampled on not only in Peter Spencer’s case but in the cases of many farmers disadvantaged under the various vegetation laws.
    If these principles were being violated in an Urban setting they would be front page news much of the time.

  25. kaycee

    I don’t want to take this away from Steve’s main post anyway – this is about Peter Spencer and his situation with governments taking peoples’ property away – they have been doing it for years and it about time something was done to make people realise it is happening. I just hope Peter does not perish before something is done.

  26. kaycee

    You don’t hear about the suicides either.

  27. kaycee

    Yes, Shepherdmarilyn,
    Go on Facebook and search “Gulf Graziers” and you will see that the promise of flood help has been rejected by the Federal Government.
    I really thought they had received it myself but there you go. All damned spin and lies again.

  28. kaycee

    Shepherdmarilyn,
    Another city ite? You hear that the govenment pays all this flood help. Well just look at the Cape York people who still have NOT received anything since the floods in January – yet it has been spread far and wide that they got this and that. You people really have no idea of what happens outside your back doors.
    I heard this morning on the ABC that there is something on facebook about this. I have not checked yet but it was broadcase to go to Facebook and search for Gulf Graziers. I will see what I can find to help you understand that what you hear in the mainstream media is not always correct

  29. kaycee

    John2066,
    It would seem that you would be a city boy – no idea what goes on in the country to produce your food?? – but then you would rather see your food (such as imported Basa) come from the filthy sewer waters where it is caught. I digress somewhat as this is not about fishing but still is about farming in this country. I think you may be mislead in thinking this man wants to cut down all of his trees – I don’t think so. This is a much bigger issue than that -it could happen to you one day as well.
    I would love you to be able to go to a farm sometime and really try to understand things from a farmer’s point of view – they are more conservationist minded than half of you who have never stepped into a bit of cow poop or got caught on a barbed wire. I do not know why city folk are so against farmers who are the ones who do the hard yakker to produce a good feed for many people throughout the world. Anyway good to see Steve has brought this to this site. I did see some comments on this earlier and wondered what sort of a left wing site this must be. Two sided discussions should always be encouraged.

  30. farmer

    Ok Fredex

    Put it this way mate. My family have over 1.5 million trees on our farm that the govt is in Copenhagen claiming carbon credits for. We manage those trees on behalf of them and YOU for nix. What’s more when they fall on our fences or otherwise damage our farm which can be caused by things like populations of wild goats living in scrub areas or fires starting there etc etc – we bear the consequences.

    Not enough ??? – we also pay council rates on the land covered by trees too.

    Oh then we have the IPCC claiming we emit 18% of greenhouse emmissions based solely on our emissions (no offsets counted) – when the more recent scientific evidence says it is closer to 3-6%.

    Oh and then when we offer to lock up all the carbon pollution spewed out by the cities (so how much carbon do you lock up in your day to day activities???) in our soil we are accused of trying to “cook the books” – what bollocks – if carbon is locked in the soil then it is gone from the atmosphere – isn’t that what we are trying to do.

    So little wonder us on the land react with Fear and Loathing to this whole debate. The track record of the shiny bums running the show would suggest that this is the appropriate response.

  31. steve truman

    G’day Sophie,

    Thank you for the welcome and the compliment – good to be back – its been almost 12 months – been busy.

  32. Sophie Black

    Hey Steve — it’s great to have you back on here! Been a while… fantastic post

  33. steve truman

    G’day John,

    Thank you for your response. Please do have a look at our community – our members are very proud of it – everyone is welcome to join and have their say. We pride ourselves on being a safe and secure online community where ordinary everyday people share and communicate their thoughts, opinions, ideas, news, images and videos with each other and the world.

  34. john2066

    Steve – actually thanks for taking the time to respond: maybe my initial response was too harsh. I’ll have a careful look at your points and your site tonight.

  35. steve truman

    G’day John2066,

    I’ll help you get it straight.

    That is correct I’m the Founder of Agmates – which is an online community of ordinary grassroots people, mostly Australians , those people are made up of pensioners, retirees, miners, wage and salary earners, unemployed, students, small business owners, Public Company CEO’s, Green activists, academics, professionals, politicians and journalists. It’s an online community of real live people, with real names and a profile photo (in most cases).

    Members of the community discuss the issues of the day and take up causes as the wish – we cherish free speech as long as it is within the bounds of our members code of conduct. – Any Problems with that so far?

    Here is the address if you’d like to have a look for yourself
    http://agmates.ning.com/

    When you are there trying to pigeon hole our community, just have a look at the members – you’ll find our members beliefs range from the Climate Sceptics (they have their own group site within the community) to Senator Christine Milne who has her own group site. You’ll also see our members are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindu’s, atheists and pagans – any problems with that?

    We all happily co-exist in our safe and secure online community, just like the physical community.

    – We are not and have not been demanding that the laws stopping land clearing be changed – no where have you read that and i challenge you to show us anywhere in the 1,000’s of discussion topics that has ever been seriously canvassed – You won’t find it because it never has and to suggest that is the case is dishonest on your behalf.

    – John in case you have not noticed Carbon has a value – What farmers are saying is OK you’ve locked up our privately owned property – but now the Commonwealth is taking the 83.7 million tonnes of carbon and is using it in their accounting to say they met Kyoto. Do you support the government giving the real polluters Billions in compensation whilst they take billions from private property holders. Thats called communism John – and if that is what you and your friends that read Crikey advocate – well good luck to you.

    Your Summary –

    – They say Climate change is not happening – True, there are some members of our community who say that, then there are others who say , it maybe, but lets not act before we know what the rest of the world will do this week at Copenhagen – then we have other members – (even a few of Al Gore trained disciples) who say that we should act, act now and go hard.

    – They demand the right to clear their land and increase carbon emissions – FALSE

    – They say they want taxpayers to pay for the carbon – John it is private property that was taken by the State – Either pay for the Land or pay for the carbon – We are a democracy not a communist state – well not yet anyway.

  36. colinjely

    Fredex
    How about you and me share a nice single malt instead of that other rubbish you are so obviously on! Here in Victoria 20% of the land is taken up with State and National Parks

  37. john2066

    Let me get this straight:

    – The author of this article runs a site which loudly disputes climate change in any event.
    – The author is demanding that laws stopping land clearing – which leads to even more carbon emissions – be changed, or compensation paid (from you and me). In other words, farmers have a right to increase emissions, and nobody should stop them.

    – At the same time, the farmers are now running a campaign to be ‘paid’ for the carbon they decide to lock away.

    So in summary:
    – they say climate change isn’t happening
    – they demand the right to clear their land and increase carbon emissions
    – at the same time they want taxpayers to pay them for the carbon they do decide to lock away.

    Unbelievable.

  38. Kate Stevenson

    As farmers are not liable for their emissions under the CPRS I cannot see why they should be compensated for this change in the regulatory environment. Its called risk, most other sectors just have to suck it up and deal with it.

    If farmers want to receive the full benefits of their carbon sequestration than they should also pay the full costs of their agribusiness operations (carbon emissions, erosion, salinity etc).

    Why is it that everyone even vaguely impacted by government decisions now expects to be compensated?? Governments are elected to make the tough decisions for the benefit of the nation, not please every whinging rent-seeker. The native veg clearing laws were a necessary government intervention.

  39. fredex

    Now try some more relevant sources directly related to the costs of removing vegetation.

    http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/ABS@.NSF/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/c4f37e4488d32591ca256b35007ace07!OpenDocument

    “Associated with the loss of native vegetation are a broad range of social, economic and environmental impacts. Social impacts can include loss of heritage values and loss of recreation and tourist values. Economic impacts can include costs associated with loss of flood control, deterioration of water quality, loss of habitat for economically important species, loss of tourist and bio-medical potential, and loss of production through soil degradation. Environmental impacts can include habitat loss or fragmentation, loss of ecosystem, species and genetic diversity, reduced water quality in inland and marine environments, reduced carbon storage, loss of heritage values and soil degradation (Higgins 2001). Socioeconomic benefits from clearing are derived from employment and income generated by the economic activity that occurs on the cleared land. These benefits provide strong incentives for landholders to clear the land.”

    Lets have a closer look at just one of the cost of clearing.
    http://www.science.org.au/nova/032/032box01.htm

    “Dryland salinity currently affects more than 5 million hectares of land, mostly in southern Australia and causes damage totalling $270 million each year.”

    See box 1 for this:
    ” Published by Australian Academyof Science

    “In our quest to prepare Australian soils for agriculture, we cleared trees by the billion. Yet trees played a crucial role in maintaining the water balance in our ancient soil profiles. It was our success in clearing trees that has led to the development of dryland salinity.”

    And I don’t know how you can credibly slip the word ‘sustainable’ in so easily without justification.

    -Australia has an estimated 2.5 million hectares of land affected by dryland salinity (representing 0.6% of agricultural land). An estimate of the area with high potential to develop salinity is around 5.6 million hectares or 1.2% of agricultural land. By 2050 it is projected that this figure could rise to 17 million hectares (NLWRA 2001). These salt concentrations have a negative impact on a variety of social, ecological and economic processes.”

    http://www.science.org.au/nova/032/032key.htm

    “The term ‘dryland salinity’ strikes fear into the hearts of many Australian farmers. Some call it the white death because it conjures up images of lifeless, shining deserts studded with dead trees. Fears of the ‘white death’ seem justified. Dryland salinity currently affects more than 5 million hectares of land, mostly in southern Australia and causes damage totalling $270 million each year.”

  40. Tom Fairman

    Who is Steve Truman, by the way?

    “G’day I’m Steve Truman editor and founder of Agmates – Australia’s largest online rural & regional community.”

    And the Peter Spencer site is run from where? http://agmates.ning.com

    Poor form Crikey, and Rooted. You’re not doing much for your credibility publishing editiorials as journalism.

  41. steve truman

    Fedex,

    You said –

    “In a country where most of our native vegetation has been cleared”

    What a load on nonsense – like everything you have said. You should try and take a drive across our great nation instead of the leafy little part of the world you live in here are the facts.

    From the Garnaut Review
    http://www.garnautreview.org.au/chp7.htm

    “Australia has relatively large areas of forested land suitable for carbon removal and deforested land suitable for revegetation. There are about 28.8 hectares of forest and wooded land for every person in Australia (FAO 2008). This is the largest area of forest and wooded land per person in the OECD and the second largest globally behind Suriname. In OECD countries there are on average 1.4 hectares of forest and woodland per person, and across the world there are on average 0.8 hectares”

    Got that fedex – that is 28.8 hectares of forest and woodland for every man women and child – all 22 million of us – thats 633 million hectares or 1.56 billion acres.

    And you’d like us to believe most of it has gone – Like everything else you have written – absolute rubbish. Comparing sustainable food production to a dirty chemical plant.

    Good on you.

  42. Geoff Russell

    fredex: It’s nice to see a little clear thinking finally breaking through the fog of self interested
    gobbledy gook.

  43. shepherdmarilyn

    And how many hundreds of millions have farmers been paid for drought relief, flood relief and so on over the years.

    Let’s not all have a whine because because clear felling has been banned.

  44. fredex

    Actually I’ve changed my mind.
    I reckon this is a really cool idea these people are on about.
    I’m going to copy it.
    I’ll start up a factory of some sort and pour toxic waste into the local drinking water supply.
    And then when some busybody govt dept wants to interfere with my gods given right to do what I want and stops me poisoning the water supply, I’ll claim compensation.

    I’ll get my brother to set up a chicken farm, 10,000 or so chooks in a suburb, and when some local council tells him he can’t do that we’ll claim millions in lost revenue.

    Oh and my younger sister, she can claim compo because the govt won’t let her sell heroin at her corner store. Think of the money she could make!

    Hey laws, social responsibility, what have they got to do with us?

  45. fredex

    Hang on.
    I need to get this straight.

    In a country where most of our native vegetation has been cleared with all sorts of nasty side effects eg soil erosion, saltification of the soil, decreasing productivity etc, a farmer, or group, actually has the unmitigated gall and effrontery to complain that they aren’t allowed to do what they shouldn’t be allowed to do?
    And they/he want money to compensate them for not destroying the land?
    Because its their land and and thats it, bugger everybody, everything else?
    And they have the inalienable right to destroy it for their benefit?

    Oh great, can I be compensated for not doing something I shouldn’t do please?

    This is just straight out weird.
    Geez some people will never be happy until the whole of Oz is covered in concrete or a single great expanse of monoculture.

  46. twobob

    I don’t think It is spam rollo.
    I do think if a land owner has been forced to lock up a section of his land he should be compensated for it. Effectively the land has been forcefully acquired by the government, hell even the Kerrigans got some compensation. Rules like this do Australia no good at all. Think about this scenario, A farmer finds an extremely rare threatened species on his land. If he is forced to lock up that land he will loose approximately 10% of his income and he is already financially stressed. Should he protect the species or loose the farm?
    By not compensating him Australia takes a chance on loosing a species because I know of no one altruistic enough to save a plant or animal at the expense of their livelihood.
    NO ONE.

    On another point I wonder just what Steve Truman thinks of Abbotts new plan of telling his farmers how to till and fertilise their land?
    Seems that the coalition are right into the 30 % emissions coming from the agg sector. With friend like these who need enemies eh Steve?

  47. JHub

    Crikey, this is an important issue. Here we have a story of one man standing up against an injustice that is destroying his livelihood. He is peacefully making other people aware of how easily our rights can get trammelled. The Constitution requires that justice be done, but Peter Spencer has not received any justice to date. Meanwhile, Peter’s health is at risk, whilst government polititicians duck for cover.

  48. Rollo

    And please, please, please can Crikey ban all suffixes ending in -gate: it is abysmal journalism.

  49. Rollo

    Wake up Crikey. This is spam. Surely! Surely?

  50. still@downfall

    jeebus @12:54
    The most comphrehensive anaylisis on the effect of an ETS on agriculture can be found at this site
    http://www.farminstitute.org.au/publications/conference-papers.html
    look for the PDF file: Conference Report: Climate 21 March 2009

    I agree with you that “it’s unfair that the farmers were not compensated for the land clearing laws” but I can tell you now that there is no way that an ETS that may or may not be eventually be past, can compensate for the loss of the use of the landscape.

  51. jeebus

    Having said that, while I do think it’s unfair that the farmers were not compensated for the land clearing laws, they will be exempt from the ETS. I’m not sure whether that will benefit them more or less in the long run… Would be good if someone qualified could crunch the numbers!

  52. jeebus

    Before the land clearing laws were enacted, Queensland alone was ranked up with Brazil for the amount of wilderness being razed every single year. It’s sad that some of our farmers have lost their livelyhoods as a result of those laws, but it’s not as though they were passed without notice and enacted overnight. They were phased in over a period of years.

    Wholesale land clearing was an election issue, and it seems Howard, Beattie, and Carr enacted this plan to placate the greenies, and to meet our Kyoto targets in the event that we did end up ratifying the agreement.

  53. PJ

    NO SEQUESTRATION WITHOUT COMPENSATION!

  54. Belle

    Peter Spencer is at the top of his mountain – how apt. Because there are a “mountain” of Australian farmers who have had their rights stolen from them.
    This story is uniting landowners like never before, there is something very different about this.
    Obviously the landowners have had to live with these legislations for years, but how did we not know about it in Sydney? I thought it would have been on the news, until i saw ACA i did not even know about this.
    After that programe i looked at a it of stuff about vegetation laws in NSW – i would not be a farmer ever. I do not know how they do it with all the rules on them.
    So i do not understand how a government, our government here in Australia can do this to Australians.
    When it was “The year of the Outback” my sister and i did a trip. Australia is so beautiful, and the country towns that we stayed at and the local pubs are great.
    But if what Peter Spencer is saying about farmers haveing their land locked up for carbon, well i think that they should be paid.
    I relate it to my flat. If the Govt told me that i could not use my car park space anymore, and i had to park on the street, i would get fined everytime, so i would be paying for a car park i cannot use, and getting fined as well i should get a compensation somewhere – maybe in the price of my flat as i pay for the rent and car space at the same time that i cannot use.
    I dont think it matters if Peter Spencer wants to clear his land or not, because i think that the point is that his right to do it is taken away – on his land. So i would really like to know how many more people are like this in NSW – this is wrong.

  55. Sue M

    “So, just so I’m clear and have read this right, Peter didn’t want to clear his land, but he’s now on a hunger strike because he’s not allowed to, right?”

    It appears blatantly obvious to me that Peter Spencer would like the ability to make a decent living on the property he owns, as is his right, or to be ably compensated for the Governments intervention which stops him from doing that.

    Why is it that we’re prepared to compensate the big polluters for any loss of income they may have from the introduction of reducing emissions but not our landholders.

  56. still@downfall

    Bellistner @ 6.48
    “In any case, placing the cost burden of AGCC onto a small section of the community is discriminatory, and bad economics.”
    That is a very important point.

    As to whether he wished to clear his land or not, a search revealed this interview with Peter Spencer on ABC National’s Counterpoint 24 Janurary 2005, Great White Land Grab.

    “Michael Duffy: Right. How much of it is cleared?

    Peter Spencer: The cleared portion would be about 1,800 acres, other than for natural clearings which add up to another 500. However, that is the contemporary position. In previous years probably up to 50% of it was cleared back in the 30s and 40s, as the issuing of the original title back in 1919 dictated that it be ringbarked and cleared.

    Michael Duffy: When did you buy the farm?

    Peter Spencer: 1980.

    Michael Duffy: Was it your intention to clear at least some of it?

    Peter Spencer: The land was purchased by me mainly because the maternal family history owned a very substantial property in a similar location, the high country, and that was taken back by national park and forestry in the mid 60s, so I wanted to kind of come home to the high country. Now, the land itself was going to be developed along the lines of a farm plan drawn up by the Department of Lands and Environment, and this plan was drawn up with massive overlays, aerial photographs and studies of soil types, timber types, and it was going to be recommended, through that study, for agri-forestry and sheep, so timber and grazing amongst that timber. To keep all of our big forest, like our mountain gums and our ash, we were going to maintain those forests. We didn’t want to damage the original forest, but the regrowth areas”

  57. Joanne

    Bellistner you just don’t get it do you?
    The Agricultural community has already paid and will continue to pay regardless of whatever scheme is introduced.
    They are being drummed out of the industry by whatever means and people in cities with plentiful,cheap food from the supermarket have a million moral reasons why they should be “let go”, “made to pay”, “stop being protected” I saw one of your crikey readers comment recently.
    Hence Peter Spencer’s protest.
    After 20 days up a pole in cold and wet conditions he has been largely ignored by mainstream media (they passed by on the other side of the road) as has been the plight of all landowners forced into poverty by these dreadful laws for which politicians at the moment are all too willing to take credit.
    The Vegetation Management laws have not been administered with all the laws of natural justice that we expect in this country.
    In Queensland at least the onus of proof has been reversed in this legislation.
    The right to silence has been removed.
    There has been deciet, lies and intimidation used against landowners and contractors who worked for them and the State’s obligation as the Moral Prosecutor is in tatters.

  58. Bellistner

    So, just so I’m clear and have read this right, Peter didn’t want to clear his land, but he’s now on a hunger strike because he’s not allowed to, right?

    In any case, placing the cost burden of AGCC onto a small section of the community is discriminatory, and bad economics. The cost of mitigating and adapting to AGCC should be shared across the widest portion of the economy and population as possable, so that the individual costs are not prohibitive (please note the distinction between ‘not prohibitive’ and ‘inconsequential’). Both Labors’ CPRS and the various schemes put up by the Coalition (which seems to change on a daily basis) exempt various parts of the economy from compliance, raising the cost of compliance for the rest of us.
    Labor’s CPRS exempted the entire Agricultural (ie AgriBusiness) sector, which meant that roughly 30% of Greenhouse emissions were ‘baked in the cake’, requiring the rest of the economy to ‘double down’ on any efforts it was required to make, in order to cover the AgriBusiness sector. This is even before we bother fully compensating low and middle income earners (120% of CPRS cost, it was reported) and giving away CPRS permits to Big Carbon (but leaving Little Carbon to shoulder the cost).
    The Coalitions version of the CPRS was the fully compensate everyone, but use your taxes to buy rainforest in Indonesia and PNG for a couple of dollars a ton, enabling the country to actually increase its emissions while claiming a reduction by way of ‘avoided’ emissions from elsewhere (ignoring that the rainforest probably wasn’t going to be cut down anyway, that there’s no garuantee that the rainforest won’t be burnt by fire, that the ability to sequester Carbon won’t change, etc etc).

    A Carbon Tax would be so much simpler, and remove much of the opportunity to game the system, but we won’t do that. Maybe if we applied some advanced Beurocraticese and called it the ‘Greenhouse Abatement and Adaptation Tarrif”.

  59. still@downfall

    This article from the Sydney Morning Herald 18 June 2005, Farmers are pushed beyond limit, gives further insight into the Peter Spencer situation.

    ” In the 1980s he (Peter Spencer)bought a lot of grazing land in Shannons Flat, just south of the ACT. More than 80 per cent of it became covered in regrowth and before he could clear it the government brought in native vegetation laws which made clearing illegal. There was no compensation for what was effectively the nationalisation of 80 per cent of Spencer’s property.

    He then invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in setting up ponds for trout fishing, but the introduction of new water laws ended the venture. There was no compensation.

    Then Spencer set up a fine-wool breeding program, advised by scientists from the University of New England, in an attempt to make more profitable use of the small amount of cleared land on his property. The fires of 2003 in the national parks that ring the area pushed out hundreds of wild dogs, which have devastated farmers in the area. Spencer lost hundreds of sheep. His property is now home to thousands of kangaroos, which destroy pasture.

    This invasion of his land happened because of gross underspending on park management in NSW and the ACT, specifically on fire prevention activities, the culling of kangaroo and wild dog populations, and fencing. There is no compensation for farmers unlucky enough to live near parks, which have increased in area by 50 per cent under Carr’s premiership.”

  60. Charlie

    G’Day Steve
    It’s about time the lid was blown off this scam before more people die.
    The issue here is about the abuse by Government of our Constitutional rights.
    No Australian is immune from the implications of this Government theft.

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