Courts to protect oppressed farmers

14th January 2008

New South Wales Farmer Peter Spencer writes:

Agmates Comment:

Finally NSW farmer Peter Spencer is to get his legal right to a court hearing. Through the implementation of Land Clearing ban’s via the NSW State Governments Native Vegetation Act, Peter’s Alpine property has been rendered worthless, to date without any compensation.

Many people, green organizations and politicians have forwarded the argument that farmers have to stop land clearing for “the National Good” so we could meet our Kyoto targets.

These same people also argue that no compensation should be paid. This was certainly the argument put forward by the previous Coalition Government and the State Labor governments.

Thomas Jefferson the 3rd US President, author of the “Declaration of Independence” and a great advocate for liberty & democracy in his inaugural address of 1801 said ( italics added by Agmates):

“All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle (of a free and just democracy), that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail (the will of the majority in Australia is that land clearing should be stopped), that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority (farmers affected by those Land Clearing bans) possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.” (Locking up huge areas of privately owned productive farming land under state Native Vegetation Legeslation without compensation has violated privated landholders legal rights. This by definition of one of the founding fathers of Democracy Thomas Jefferson – is oppression).

It is now up to the legal system here in Australia to protect this minority of it’s citizens against this legislative oppression.

Peter Spencer reports:

Today the Vacation Judge in the Supreme Court of NSW, the Hon Justice John Perry Hamilton, made orders restraining the Minister for Climate Change the Hon Phil Koperberg and the Conservation Trust of NSW administered by his Department on the application of Monaro farmer Peter Spencer Peter Spencer has claimed that the NSW Government at the request of the Commonwealth has destroyed the productive use of his land, by means of the harsh implementation measures both governments have adopted under the National Vegetation Initiative.

Acknowledging this the NSW Government has offered to buy Mr Spencer’s land under the Farmer’s Exit Assistance Programme. Mr Spencer claims that offer is at a significant undervalue. When the matter came before the Court on 4 January 2008 Hamilton J indicated that he thought there was an arguable case for injunctive relief by the Court, especially on the ground of unconscionable conduct by the State.

The Minister and the Trust agreed to the interim orders by consent today, allowing Peter Spencer to argue his case at final hearing, which is expected by the middle of the year.

Mr Spencer’s counsel Mr Peter King argued before the Court that Mr Spencer was “a genuine victim of the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol”. Mr King also argued that “notwithstanding the importance of the aims of Kyoto people like Peter Spencer should not be discriminated against”. He was being asked to shoulder “a disproportionate burden for implementing the Kyoto measures” he said.

Mr Spencer said to day “I am relieved that the Court has given me an opportunity to put my case on these questions. I believe it is unconscionable that the Conservation Trust has accepted my case that on the one hand the Native Vegetation Act 2003 has put me out of business and then on the other hand seeks to make a profit out of me by buying the land at a gross undervalue, only then to re-sell it later at a profit.”