Joint Media Release
New criminal penalties to protect farmers
Attorney-General, Christian Porter
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud
10 April 2019
A re-elected Morrison Government will introduce a new offence designed specifically to protect farmers and primary producers from the unlawful actions of animal activists.
"We have seen with Aussie Farms the malicious use of personal information, including farmers' names, addresses and workplaces, designed specifically to encourage others to trespass on properties and damage businesses," the Attorney-General said.
"This is not acceptable and the Morrison Government will, if re-elected, introduce a new criminal offence specifically designed to protect Australian farmers from the sort of vigilante action we have seen this week.
"Penalties of up to 12 months imprisonment will apply to individuals who use a carriage service, such as the internet, to disclose personal information with the intention that another person would use that information to trespass on agricultural land. The law would also apply to other primary producers such as abattoirs."
The Attorney-General said the new laws would include appropriate exemptions for bona-fide journalists and for situations where the information being released shows a law being broken, such as whistleblowing on animal cruelty.
The new criminal offence and penalties build on other actions taken by the Morrison Government against vigilante animal activists, including prescribing Aussie Farms under the Privacy Act, meaning the organisation could face fines of up to $2.1 million for breaches of the Act and asking states and territories to consider their own trespass laws.
Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, said farming families deserved protection.
"I've been fighting this Aussie Farms attack map for activists for months and this is a great day," Minister Littleproud said.
"If you use the personal information of our family farmers to incite trespass then you deserve to go to jail.
"Farming families grow our food and there are children on these farms.
"Now states must beef up farm trespass laws - if 100 of my mates stormed a house in Sydney we'd expect to be locked up and farmers deserve the same protection.
"The Morrison Government will always protect farmers, whilst ensuring that those who do mistreat their animals face appropriate action."