Crusader: Former farmer Peter Spencer describes the detailed court process now under way in relation to his property rights protest.
Crusader: Former farmer Peter Spencer describes the detailed court process now under way in relation to his property rights protest. Marc Stapelberg

Making it right for landowners

HE WENT on a hunger strike and has tried countless times to have his day in court to voice his concerns and those of landowners across the nation.

Now former farmer Peter Spencer is travelling around the country speaking about property rights and making a few stops around the Northern Rivers.

“It’s interesting how many people are turning up and are really upset,” he said.

“We want people to understand the power they hold in a vote, and that we can respond and fix these issues.”

Mr Spencer is one of thousands of farmers affected by State Government legislation banning the clearing of trees to fulfil Federal Government obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

The decision to effectively ‘lock up’ his land as a carbon sink, instead of being used for farming, significantly devalued his land to the point where he couldn’t even sell it at auction.

“It was taken by the Sheriff to cover expenses,” he said.

“Farmers have met the entire cost of Kyoto.”

Mr Spencer is currently having his case heard in the High Court, and is unsure whether he will front court or just have a decision handed down.

“One would like to think the High Court will find the Commonwealth had taken the land to fulfil their own interests,” he said.

“But we see it only as a fight in the overall war. Whether we win or lose doesn’t stop me from trying to fix the problem.”

According to Mr Spencer, land rights problems lie in politicians failing to protect human rights and essentially legislating people out of business and eventually their homes.

“We don’t have a Bill of Rights, so the states can do what they like. This act is breaching our very basic human rights,” he said.

“We teach our children not to steal, why should we have to teach our politicians? Aren’t they adults? Don’t they live in a civilised society?”

“It’s important people realise that public servants and the government work for them.”



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