Peter Spencer.

One of the regular names on this site that seemed to drop off the planet is Justin Jefferson who has been on my “Whatever happened to..(Insert name here)” list for quite a while. Recently he has resurfaced with a great article in Quadrant Online, which he has given me permission to repost here.

By Justin Jefferson

Last Friday I joined a protest of over 80 people at farmer Peter Spencer’s property in the mountains near Cooma. Peter (61), is now past the twenty-eighth day of a hunger strike, (now 37 days)  perched high above the ground on a communications tower on his property. Looking down from his aerie he seemed at first somewhat curious and disheveled, but when he spoke he was lucid, his arguments were cogent, and passions ran high.

Peter Spencer is demanding the Australian government pay fair compensation to him and all Australian property-holders whose property rights were taken without compensation pursuant to the Kyoto Protocol. He also demands a Royal Commission into the way governments acquired those property rights, because it seems to have been deliberately intended to, and did, subvert the constitutional protection against the unjust acquisition of property.

Why is Spencer directing his fire at the Federal government, since it was the State government, through the Native Vegetation Act (NVA) that passed the laws restricting farmer’s use-rights? The answer is because the Federal government moved the States for, benefited from, and paid them to make these unjust acquisitions.

The Commonwealth decided to meet its Kyoto Protocol targets to reduce so-called greenhouse gas emissions by restricting farmers’ land use across Australia. Farmers made an easy target compared to power stations or other emitters.

Under the Australian Constitution, if the Commonwealth wants to acquire a person’s property, it must do so on ‘just terms’, i.e. pay fair compensation. Since land-use rights form part of the equity of a property, the taking of those rights, and vesting the control and benefit of them in government bodies, is in effect a compulsory acquisition of property rights.

To give you some idea of the scale, Peter Spencer’s property is 12,000 acres, the use-rights of which were in effect confiscated along with his livelihood. One farmer at the protest said these laws cost him $30,000 a year. Another landowner lost $1.2 million worth of equity from a 40-acre block of land.

Think of the whole of Australia, and you can see that the value of the property rights thus forcibly acquired without payment, from the entire landscape of property-holders, must run into billions of dollars.

Coveting private property, but not wanting to pay for it, what did the Feds do? They got the States to take it instead. Unlike the Federal Constitution, State Constitutions (except one) contain no provision for the payment of fair compensation for the taking of property. NSW legislation requires it, but the NSW State simply overrode that with ordinary legislation, smacking of rule by decree.

Using the Commonwealth Natural Heritage Trust of Australia Act the Commonwealth gave NSW $1.2 billion, that it got from the sale of Telstra, for their part in stealing billions of dollars worth of other people’s property.

So Mr. Spencer’s case is this. He can’t sue the Commonwealth because, though they sponsored the acquisitions of property, acquired the benefit for their purposes, and are constitutionally liable to pay compensation, they didn’t actually do the deed themselves.

And then he can’t sue the State because, although they acquired his property rights, they aren’t legally liable to pay for it.

In the High Court, the Commonwealth is arguing that the Constitution was not intended to protect against forced acquisitions of property by the executive arm of government! The absurdity, or dishonesty, of this argument should be obvious. If it were accepted, it would make the very idea of private property, and constitutional and limited government, meaningless.

And now to compound the offence, faced with Peter Spencer’s hunger strike, the Commonwealth says it’s all a State matter.

Either it is entirely appropriate to call for the Commonwealth to fix the problem, since they can obviously use the same measures with the States to fix the problem as they did to cause it.

Or the Native Vegetation Acts should be repealed and replaced with nothing.

If you want someone to grow beef, or wheat, or tomatoes on their property, you don’t pass a law making it a criminal offence to grow something else. If there is a social need for a person’s property, which is to be forcibly acquired, then society needs to pay for it. But if society can’t afford to pay, then it can’t afford to have it and is not entitled to it.

To breach this principle, as the Federal and State governments have done, violates basic ethics, blatantly subverts our Constitution, and is already spelling the end of limited government and a free society.

All Australians should understand that the Commonwealth is implicated up to its neck in what it blames on its accomplices the States, and should join in demanding a Royal Commission into this devious and appalling abuse, and fair compensation for all persons affected by this unprecedented case of massive governmental theft.

Thanks Justin.

For those who wish to follow this further, or acquaint yourselves with the background, more can be found at “Agmates,” and “‘Carbongate’ The Great Carbon Heist” on Crikey.

When you read of this, you will find it easy to rail about the injustice of it all. It is easy to call the government a pack of bastards for doing this, and indeed they are, all of them, Federal and State. Unpleasant as it is to accept though, we are all culpable in this outrage. This action has been taken in your name, with your permission tacit or otherwise, by your government, elected by the majority of you. It is no use saying “I voted for Howard,” he started the ball rolling on this.

Unless we start moving on limiting the power of the state in what it can and can’t do we are destined to watch helplessly as these actions are foisted on us time and time again. We need some form of constitutionally enumerated powers similar to those in Article of I Section 8 the US Constitution and a Bill of Rights equivalent to their first ten amendments. Only then can we make progress to a just and moral society.

287 thoughts on “Peter Spencer.

  1. As a first time reader (the link was sent to me) of this site,
    I find on reading the above I was appalled that an article of this length having so little actual content.

    Just what is the government(s)taking away from Peter Spencer?
    The article certainly doesn’t make it clear. I have neither the time nor inclination to go wading through multiple web sites seeking answers.

    Have a good new year all, and good luck to Peter Spencer!

  2. Ted
    After Spencer bought his farm, the government passed laws restricting his right to use the land for farming, by prohibiting the clearing of ‘native vegetation’ without which it is not viable. This leaves him with the obligation to service his mortage, and pay land tax, without the right to use the land to earn his livelihood, and without fair compensation.

    We now know, what the politicians that signed the Kyoto Protocol did not know, that it was based on corrupt science, involving the falsification of data, the suppression of data, the biased selection of data, the destruction of original data sets to avoid scrutiny, and the stifling of dissent, not just at East Anglia, but in government-funded science all over the world.

  3. This issue is all over the media in the country. The ban on land clearing is a source of deep-seated anger.

    If Peter Spencer dies, the Government will be held to account for a very long time. I’m not sure how it will play out politically though – although Labor signed up to Kyoto, it was the Howard government that imposed the ban on clearing on State governments.

  4. I agree with the cause but hunger strikes are retarded.

    Why doesn’t he pull a Prince Leonard on them – that made the government look like idiots and Len like a genius.

  5. More persuasive than a hunger strike (reposted from

    As the behaviour of the Federal and State governments is motivated by money, the most effective method of protest is to THREATEN THEIR REVENUE STREAMS — not to threaten one’s own life by going on a hunger strike.

    Has Mr Spencer, or another affected property owner, ever paid stamp duty on a new vehicle? If so, and if the High Court stands by its own decisions up to Ha v. NSW (1997), that duty was an excise and was therefore unconstitutional ( If someone successfully sues for a refund of the duty, the States will be obliged to refund all such duties back to the year dot. Ouch!

    Of course the Commonwealth might impose a 100% “tax” on such refunds, as it did after tobacco “franchise fees” were struck down in Ha v. NSW. But a similar “tax” on refunds of vehicle duties would be far more dangerous — politically dangerous because millions of voters would be in line for such refunds, and legally dangerous because vehicle duties are itemized in retail invoices and paid by the final purchasers, so that the final payers are much easier to trace than was the case with tobacco “franchise fees”. Inevitably a big fleet buyer would argue that the 100% “tax” is a blatant attempt to enforce a past constitutional breach and is therefore also unconstitutional. Neither the States nor the Commonwealth would want to open that can of worms.

    If any affected property owner has paid payroll tax, that may also be unconstitutional (

    Want to sue the Commonwealth too? Well, if you’ve ever had to withhold GST or personal income tax, that was arguably a breach of s.82 of the Constitution (

    Caveat 1: If landowners expect compensation for government decisions that reduce the value of their land, I hope they’re prepared to finance it through a levy on INCREASES in land values. As the overall trend in land values is upward, a modest levy on increases would pay for 100% compensation for reductions.

    Caveat 2: I am not a lawyer and the above is not advice.

  6. This article and the relating comments do not tell the whole Peter Spencer story. The truth is that Spencer bought the property in the 1990’s and then neglected it for years. He was in fact living and earning his income overseas. The property was unproductive. His inaction allowed the regrowth of native vegetation. Now he wants somebody else to pay for the costs of applying for the rights to clear the land. But don’t let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

  7. Now he wants somebody else to pay for the costs of applying for the rights to clear the land.

    Why should he have to “apply for the rights” to clear his land? If it’s his land, his right ought not be subject to any approval. It should also be his own business how he uses (or doesn’t use) the land.

    It’s like your belly fat, Steven. You own it, so you should keep it or lose it based on your choices alone.

  8. Aloysius, the land was already cleared. It is because of Peter’s neglect over a period of many years that it has now been over-run by native vegetation. It didn’t happen overnight. He wouldn’t have this problem at all if he had actually been using the land productively. He could have prevented it but he didn’t. Why should other tax payers be forced to pay for his poor land management?

  9. The entire justification of so-called ‘native vegetation’ is a complete furphy. What is it, like a holy cow is it, more important than producing food or fibre to meet human needs?

    Why shouldn’t those who want native vegetation have to pay for it like everyone else? That way there would be no injustice to other taxpayers for government’s theft.

    The Native Vegetation Acts should be abolished and the environmentalists who caused this mess should be forced to pay for it.

  10. Steven
    Your comment only makes sense if people have no right to freedom or property but what is left over after government has taken from them and done whatever it wants.

    You are essentially saying that Spencer should have managed his property in accordance with an idea held by someone who want not an owner, and that Spencer didn’t know about. But why should a non-owner have any say on how his property should be managed.

    Underlying all the arguments against Spencer is an idea that the power of government should be unlimited.

  11. Disgusting is too mild a word for what Government/s have done who by the way in our Constitution are to be listed as the administrators , They gave themselves the lofty title of government . They are there supposedly to administer the law & the wishes of the AUSTRALIAN people, ONLY .
    All for their overseas Masters, this slow take over of everything has been planned for many years.
    It’s all going to plan ,hit the minority groups 1st they are least able to retaliate & have their backs against the wall after the drought ,just chip away slowly & maintain Media black-out, so public don’t notice .Wonder who will be next , We will all be buying our food from overseas , Learn to grow your own vegies & fruit ,
    Don’t know where we will grow our meat ,chicken coops ? & small holdings if we’re allowed ,probably not.

  12. I am simply saying Spencer should have managed his property. He let it go to ruin, now he wants someone else to pay for it. If he is able to clear his land again, will he maintain it this time or will he just create another furphy in a few years?

  13. Supporters on their way to Canberra have been stopped. It seems suddenly the buses have under quoted for the trip. How come this government can get away with it and that Rudd the Dud is out of the country and will not speak to Peter. I just wish somone could spirited him down and he is shown how much support there is for him and that people will help financially so he can beat the mongrels. Actually that is an insult to mongrels There is no word to describe this rotten government at all. Peter I do wish you would come down but I fear you are now too weak. Maybe your daughter could call an ambulance and remove you to hospital.

  14. To Steven it has nothing to do with not managing his property. If he touches the trees he will be prosecuted. Under the law in Queensland the state was owned by the Brigelow Corporation so look it up before you critisze him as this is what is happening in NSW

  15. Marie, can you explain what happened to the cleared land he used to have? There was over 7000 acres. Who was responsible for managing that land? Who could have worked to prevent that land becoming overgrown?

  16. For four to five days now the issue of Peter Spencer has been discussed on 2HD in Newcastle. Just about every presenter has had their audiance discuss the issue. Like a lot of other people I’m not fully aware of all of the facts. But what I do know is Peter Spencer is just was just an ordinary Australian trying to make a living from the land. I say “was an ordinary Australian” because now he is an “extraordinary Australian”. Peter Spencer doesn’t want anyone to pay for his land clearing, he is not allowed to clear the land and I don’t think he even wants to clear his land, he never let it go to ruin he has a home on worth $2,000,000. If Peter Spencer wanted to clear his land he’d have done it thirty years ago and not a stick of the Mountain Ash with stands there today would be standing there today.
    If anyone wants to know who cancelled the buses listen to 2hd in Newcastle, it has nothing to do with passenger lists.

  17. “He let it go to ruin, now he wants someone else to pay for it. If he is able to clear his land again, will he maintain it this time or will he just create another furphy in a few years?”

    You appear to be confused as to the issues. He is not asking to be paid for “letting it go to ruin”. The point is, if he doesn’t “let it go to ruin” ie uses it for a productive purpose, he will be breaking the law. He bought it, and then after that, the government passed a law taking his use-rights away, and vesting the benefit and the control in government. It’s got nothing to do with maintaining it, it’s not a furphy, it’s that the government has confiscated his property rights without paying for them as the Constitution requires.

  18. Some people commenting here are not fully aware of what has happened to this man. However, it has been going on since 1994 after the Howard government agreed to abide by the Kyoto protocol. He didn’t sign it. He was obviously not that keen on the Kyoto Protocol but did it to be seen as agreeing. Nonetheless because of this agreement Peter Spencer’s land was locked up and called “a carbon sink” effectively giving the owner no right to use his land for farming. It has happened to many farmers. Those that went to the wall were turfed out and their properties locked up and let run to ruin. It was all about the trees and meeting a carbon emissions quota in accordance with Kyoto. The government of the time didn’t do anything to stop the coal corporations emmission, they used the farmers’ standing trees and land to meet the targets. Billions of dollars worth of what they call “carbon emmission lock up”.

    When it looked like the federal government would have to pay fair compensation for the loss of the land to the farmers and their earnings, they moved the whole land grab under state laws where, constitionally, no compensation has to be paid. Incredible.

    Initially Peter Spencer was offered just over $2 mill but he refused – his house was worth more than that alone. He never let the land go to ruin, he wasn’t allowed to use it. An independent valuer made a valuation of over 9 million.

    That left Peter Spencer with nowhere to go but the Courts who have successfully put off the hearing of his case over 200 times. The Court says they are awaiting the result of another case – something to do with water. Whatever that matter is, it is nothing like this matter, but the Courts are using it to tie David Spencer’s case in knots.

    So to those who think Peter Spencer has not gone to the law courts, he has, THEY KEEP PUTTING IT OFF. That is why he is up a pole and if he comes down the bailiffs will lock him out of his land and the matter will be FINISHED! They will let his land and home rot.

    So that is what the state and federal governments in this country have done to this man AND OTHERS.

    Now I don’t give a fig if Peter Spencer is a wealthy man and I don’t care where he made his money. I wish he would come down but I can see why he won’t and I can understand why he would die for his land. He made it what it is and it has been taken from him.

    This is supposed to be a democracy but the state and federal governments of this country have rolled over to the Kyoto protocol. Rudd couldn’t wait to sign because he legitimised this debarcle committed on the farmers of this country, to meet their CO2 targets. There is a huge amount of money at stake here, so the government wants to push it under the carpet. I would say it is too late for that, people are finding out just what they have been up to for over 15 years without our knowledge. They have not abided by the constitution and they have kept the public in the dark. Who knows how many other decisions have been made without our knowedge.

    They say we get the government we deserve, well the people of Australia did not deserve this and the people can’t do anything about matters like this unless they know.

    Sorry for the long post but I have been gathering information for a while.

  19. Peter stated himself that his property once consisted of 60% cleared land. He also said that he failed to farm it for some time and during this period it was subject to extensive native regrowth. These are his words:-

    “The farm consists of about 14,000 acres, about 60 per cent of which was cleared before World War II. When I bought it in the 1980s, I had been working overseas to earn the money to buy the place. Unfortunately, I was unable to farm it for some time so extensive regrowth occurred.”

  20. RaeBee, thank you for the information. It is interesting to note that the property was purchased in the 80’s, and Peter’s problems with the government commenced in 1994. That leaves quite a long period in which he could have made maintained the cleared areas of his property, but failed to do so.

  21. Listenibg to the 2SM (2EL) out Bathurst way for the last four days, it amazes me how people can comment without thinking about the big picture.
    1/ It is not just for Peter it is for all property owners
    2/ It is not just rural property owners , it is city as well
    3/ It is not politics as in state, federal, liberal/National or labor. But it has only just come to most of our notice. And hell it has opened up a lot of questions (and responsibilty)for the encumbant peoples representtative. This happens to be Kevin Rudd. And like the opposition leader, they are missing when the people NEED them to explain and do whatever is reasonably required to get Peter down and fed. After which straighten out the issues.
    So far over the years I have been reading about the Fabian Society and the Masons/Jewish ideas for OUR future. Here is the time for the emcumbant or the opposition to firstly be seen and ACT. We could have it all wrong but without any word from K Rudd or T Abbot we can only assume that there is truth in what is being made known.

  22. You see Steven it really doesn’t matter when he purchased it. Some people obviously have issues with Peter Spencer I don’t know. He seems to be genuine to me but;

    I have issues with the government procedures. I don’t care when he bought the property, it is his land, they have taken it to meet some tweedle dee, tweedle dumb Kyoto protocol.

    Constitutionally, the governments, both state a federal have abused their privileges. They have made decisions the people of this country have been unaware of and continue to do so. I even doubt that their own party are aware of some decisions made behind closed doors by a chosen few.

    If you think I am cynical about governments then that’s okay I am. The Prime Minister, Mr. Rudd, made some sort of acknowledgement today that Peter Spencer was indeed up a pole! He indicated that Mr. Spencer suffered a malady that many farmers experience, “mental illness”. How nice of him.

    So according to the Prime minister, Mr. Spencer is not of sound mind. I have the feeling that if I was a farmer in this country today and I am not particularly referring to Mr. Spencer, I might not be of very sound mind either.

    We in the city seem to think it is just fine and dandy on the land, you are you own boss. Mate, spare a thought for the farming families who have worked for on their land this country and are now are seeing it sold off to meet some airy fairy commitment about ‘global warming’. If it was ‘an even playing field” a term Mr. Rudd finds to justify many decisions, then why are the farmers the only ones paying presently?

    Do you really want to buy cheap overseas imported food? Have you checked out some of the rubbish being brought into this country from Vietnam and such countries. Is that what you want? Our farmers haven’t a hope in hell if you think this is what we should accept.

  23. I have just been listening to Keven Humphreys National Party on radio 2EL. He seems to be very well across this matter. So hopefully it will not just fade away as Peter fades away. I am impressed in what Kevin had to say, his knowledge and the fact that he has put things in place so that “powers that be” will be questioned.
    Thanks Kevin, let us see how you go from here.

  24. Steven I think you are being excessively hard on Peter Spencer and I think you miss the point. It was his business if he did or did not maintain cleared areas between the time he bought the property and 1994 when he was no longer able to clear re-growth.

    It doesn’t sound as if you actually know how much work is involved in keeping land clear of re-growth – (and if it was cleared prior to WWII, then it wasn’t very cleared by the 1980’s unless someone else had been maintaining the battle with regrowth).

    As I understand it, Peter Spence put in a lake to farm trout that is no longer possible because the water supply has been affected by the native vegetation laws. There would have been a considerable cost in establishing that form of farming and no doubt contributes to his mortgage that he can no longer pay.

    As I also understand it, Peter Spencer was producing some of the best fine wool in Australia, specially bred to efficiently produce fine wool. He is no longer allowed to run sheep because apparently they run on the land locked up by the native vegetation act of NSW and some (how many?) of his sheep were shot by whoever had the authority to do that.

    Apparently 90% of his land is locked up by these laws and therefor he cannot run his farm profitably to pay his mortgage as he expected he would be able to do when he bought the property in the 1980’s.

    Peter has tried to bring these various matters of injustice before the court system on 200 occasions and has sold all his assets to fund the court cases. It is also understood that considerable pro bono legal work has also been done for him.

    Apparently Peter Spencer then tried to set up a wind farming venture. This was obviously expensive and he is financially unable to bring this to fruition.

    There is currently a proposal by other parties to develop a $3,000,000 wind farm ON HIS PROPERTY.

    His property is now subject to foreclosure because he cannot pay his mortgage, and it looks as if he will be removed from his farm shortly so that the farm can be auctioned to pay the $1,000,000 owed on the mortgage. It is understood that the parties who have developed the Wind Farm proposal for his property (that he still owns at this date) are expected to bid at the mortgagee sale.

    I have not seen anything that would suggest that Peter Spencer wants anyone to pay for his land to be re-cleared. It would not do him any good as he would be legally unable to use the re-cleared land, even if he were not about to be evicted. So I have no idea how or why your mind would want to suggest that he wants others to pay for his land to be re-cleared. IT MAKES NO SENSE WHATEVER AND MAKES ME WONDER WHAT YOUR AGENDA IS.

    Since Peter Spencer’s land IS LOCKED UP AND UNUSABLE BY HIM, and since the locking up of his land results in the Federal Government being able to claim carbon credits to offset carbon pollution by some of our industries, then Peter Spencer obviously would like compensation for the value of these carbon credits. He would also like other farmers to be similarly compensated.

    This sort of compensation is probably just not possible because it represents vast amounts of money. WOULD YOU BE PREPARED TO PAY CONSIDERABLY MORE FOR EVERYTHING YOU USE THAT HAS BEEN MANUFACTURED IN A CARBON POLLUTING WAY?

    No one, including the Fed. Government really wants to tax many of those industries because they would simply move off shore to countries that have not signed the Kyoto Protocol. So there would be just as much pollution, but far fewer jobs in Australia for Australians.

    Peter Spencer is drawing attention to the great injustice that has been perpetrated by 1) the Howard government which apparently sponsored the States’ locking up of private farming land; 2) the various State governments which passed these laws; and 3) by the Rudd government which actually signed the Kyoto Protocol, thus making Australia financially liable for massive imposts if our country does not meet its obligation under the Kyoto Protocol.

    So think again Steven, unless you have some other agenda.

  25. Raebee, just like to point out I’m not a city dweller. I live in a rural community in the South West Slopes region. The town itself is naturally very dependant on the local farming families and I know quite a number of them personally. There’s a lot in desperate situations but fortunately most do not consider a emotional blackmail in the form of a pole-sitting hunger strike.
    For those interested, a well informed discussion of Peter’s situation is taking place here :-
    Some have expressed a concern for Peter’s mental state. It is possible that Peter may need more than just financial help.

  26. Peter Spencer himself was just on the radio and with what he has had to put up with why wouldn’t his mental state be questionable. With what is happening with Peter and other farmers its the very reason why so many have taken their lives in their hands.

  27. Maris, you don’t seem to be aware that much of Rural NSW has been affected by drought since the Mid 1990’s. That would have much more of an impact on Peter’s failed trout farm experiment. Fish do not do very well without water.

    The point that is being missed, is that he had cleared land to begin with. By his own admission, he neglected the property. He would not be in this situation if had taken care of his most valuable asset, his land.

  28. Steven,

    Do you believe that the Crown has a right to land that farmers fail/ed to clear of growth, without any obligation to fulfil the “just compensation” clause of the Commonwealth Constitution or relevant State laws?

    Yes or no will do.

    As for other comments: mentioning “the Jews” or “the Masons” doesn’t help.

    “Do you really want to buy cheap overseas imported food?”

    Yep. I also want to buy cheap domestic food. We need to slash taxes, fees, charges, excise, regulation, ordinances but basically the costs of taxation, regulation, inflation and poorly chosen public spending to make the Australian economy strong and to let out rural and urban communities to be vibrant and attractive places and strong to support those who fall on hard times – instead of being taxed and regulated to death and falling apart in structural economic change or drought.

  29. Semi Regular, I believe your question is rhetorical.

    In any case, it does not apply to Peter Spencer. He started with cleared land but failed to use it productively. His own inaction has resulted in regrowth and subsequent loss of value to his property.

    As a tax payer, I do not see why I should pay for his mistake.
    Have you actually read Spencer’s list of demands?

  30. As to Fabians or Masons, was not the point I was making. (For all we know they could be be good for all of us and the country). The point I was making, if you listened to the callers to 2EL, you would have heard those suggestions , but without K Rudd answering the questions, his kingdon will go wild with speculation and conspiracies.

  31. Hey, Steven, say you buy a piece of freehold land with the intention of building a house on it. When you bought the land it was zoned for housing and this was factored into the price you paid, but you can’t afford to build straight away. You go overseas to work and save up money to build. While you were gone the council changed to zoning rules to say that no new building can occur, but existing buildings are OK. The value of your land has also dropped accordingly. Can you see any problem with that?

  32. That’s a great example Michael. Almost that exact situation happened to my family although we didn’t need to go overseas. My parents bought their first property in a flood zone. Yes there are problems with that but my family still live on the same property.

    Still has nothing to do with Peter Spencer. His property lost value because he didn’t work it and it was overtaken by native vegetation.

    His local member, Mike Kelly has tried to speak with him to discuss other ways his property could still be productive but Spencer refuses to talk to him.

  33. If the government one day said the house you bought say 20 years ago is now subject to a law that your dwelling is subject to our green or otherwise laws (we can say who lives there regardless whether you own it e.g) would you scream?. Bloody Oath you would as a tax paying Aussie! This man “OWNS” his land. Not a Prime Minister or Socialist Government that makes deals at Copenhagen with the likes of Mugabe or any other tyrannical leader that we have paid millions for years while they rule the roost and help not one of their country men! You have an obligation to protect fellow Australians and PETER SPENCER IS ONE!

  34. Why does land have to be worked in order to preserve your legal rights over the use of it? If I buy a factory in a zoned industrial area and don’t use it immediately, shouldn’t I be compensated for the value of that zoning if it is taken off me?

    What about if I owned a taxi plate, costing some hundreds of thousands of dollars, then, with no warning the government decrees that the taxi industry licensing is cancelled and a different system put in place. My taxi plate is now worth nothing. Should I be compensated?

  35. You are good at choosing these examples Michael! I’m a licenced baker but in 1999 the industry was de-regulated and bakers licences were made redundant in NSW. Now anybody can operate a bakery. This affects my livelihood. Should I be compensated?

    Change happens Michael. Spencer’s local minister has offered assistance and to help him find ways his land can still be productive. Spencer has refused to talk to him.

    Farmers all over NSW are finding ways to deal with legislative changes, drought and other economic issues. In some cases the properties are genuinely no longer viable. It happens.

  36. Steven
    “Peter stated himself that his property once consisted of 60% cleared land. He also said that he failed to farm it for some time and during this period it was subject to extensive native regrowth. These are his words:-

    “The farm consists of about 14,000 acres, about 60 per cent of which was cleared before World War II. When I bought it in the 1980s, I had been working overseas to earn the money to buy the place. Unfortunately, I was unable to farm it for some time so extensive regrowth occurred.””

    So what?

    You are missing the point. The reduction in value isn’t because native vegetation re-grew, it was because the government confiscated the use-right to clear it.

  37. Semi Regular, laying fallow is not the same as being over run by native growth. In fact fallowed land is ploughed but not planted which would help to prevent native growth. This is something Peter could have done, but didn’t.

    You can look it up on the internet.

  38. Peter, if the re-growth had been prevented, would the land have lost value? If the land was actually being farmed, would it have produced an income?

  39. Now anybody can operate a bakery. This affects my livelihood. Should I be compensated?

    Did you lose money? Did the licence cost a lot?

    In the case of the taxi industry I think it should be deregulated, but the holders of taxi plates need to have their plates bought back by the government at market rates. The taxpayer will have to absorb this cost in the name of fairness. It’s the cost of bad legislation by their government.

    I’m not overly familiar with Spencer’s case in terms of who’s offered to help him and so forth. The fact that some farms are no longer viable for economic issues or drought isn’t really important either. The bigger issue at stake here is property rights which are some of the most fundamental rights underpinning our liberal democracy. In fact, the nature of our society cannot exist without them. Change does happen, but does the government have the right to extend that level of control over the use of his land at Shannon’s Flat, considering the situation and timeframe in which he bought the land?

    I would say no. Considering that government exists to protect his property he has been treated improperly, and the extent to which the use of his freehold has been taken from him constitutes a deprivation of his property to which he should be entitled to compensation.

    What basis does the government have to deny him this compensation? The fact he didn’t clear it in the decade prior to them changing the law. That’s not enough. If I own a house and leave it vacant for a decade I should still have full ownership of it and be able to live in it when I come back. If the government declares my land a wildlife sanctuary or something on the basis that I’m not living there, then I deserve compensation, even if it has been ten years. Maybe after 200 years there would be a stronger argument, but certainly not a decade.

  40. Steven – you’re comparing locking up resources to promoting competition by abolishing restrictive practices.

    How on earth can society benefit from such income destroying command and control decisions?

    What’s more, it isn’t a valid analogy. [Furthermore, compensation for restrictive practices is dubious economically if not legally as a monopoly rent can be earned from the restriction. Some kind of grandfathering scheme should be introduced against the value of a licence. This also depends on if there is a qualification (e.g security licence) with no quota with a quota or quasi quota (as with taxis for example). The quota system is massively more expensive to buy into or compensate.]

    What if a baker owned a bakery and went overseas for some years and did nothing. When he came back, the machinery was out of date but the Govenrment did not allow new machinery to be bought unless you were reinvesting a percentage of revenue before the restriction date and continuously since into new machinery?

    I’m pretty sure that baker would be pissed off. Your reasoning infers that this is all his fault. As you say, change happens! He should have been continuously investing in new machinery and he’d have no problems! Maybe he should deal with it rather than ask for compensation!

    Change does happen. This should not mean the Government gets carte blanche to strangle the economy, or to deal with a global economic/environmental problem by selectively abrogating the rights of one group in society, on dubious ethical and legal grounds (remember if we have the Judicial Cross Vesting Acts then a Federally funded State Act, subject to a Federally ratified treaty, may be tenuous).

  41. I really find the notion of certain people in this country (hopefully only a minority) crying foul about the notion of paying ‘taxpayers’ money to compensate those who’s livelihoods are affected (ie farmers in this case) quite astonishing. The question on why compensation should be paid should not be directed to farmers – but to the government of the day that impose these new laws that may have a huge negative social, economic and environmental impact. Obviously in this case they have only focused at the environmental and economic side…the other one doesn’t seem to matter.

    My parents are farmers and I see the bulldust thrown at them by every level of government. Some questioned me why I didn’t want to take over the farm. The answer: the taxes, levies, registrations, licences, and fees are at the point of insanity. Why would anyone want to be a farmer in today’s political climate with global warming and kyoto, and being forced to accept this huge impost to their livlihood and business by a bunch of corporatised dictators in government?

    The fact is: there is no future in farming in Australia until we return a new government to power that does not change the constitution by stealth, but honours our given right by our founding fathers of a referendum on such key issues. You see it today… governments are imposing laws and signing us up to international treaties ‘whether we like it or not’. That is not how a government elected by the people should operate. That is the growing signs of a dictatoral regieme.

    So to those who thumb their noses at rural heroes like Peter Spencer should dunk their head in a bucket of cold water. You are a disgrace to the Australian way of life. You should be sticking up for your mates when they need help.

    If you think you know farmers, well you don’t know them well enough. They struggle, day after day to feed Australians – let alone their families. Peter is a real hero of the bush and our best wishes are to Peter, his family, mates ,the local community and other affected farmers across the country.

    To the negative, bitter and ignorant people in our society, I have nothing but pity that you are another puppet of a controlling government wishing to divide the population so they can conquer it. What will it take for you to see the light? Why can’t you lay aside your egos and pride and support people like Peter?

  42. “set aside” would have been more accurate than “fallow” (though no necessarily incorrect), but it does not materially change the argument.

    Please explain why setting land aside extinguishes rights to just compensation, or nay other right.

  43. Steven, The fact that my family still operate a bakery and have done so for ninety years must be a figment of my imagination. It also demonstrate’s to me the lack of insight you have regarding Peter Spencers plight.

  44. Rob – in a way some of these things are constitutional.


    1. The ALP’s flagrant abuse of the corporations power (Tasmanian Dams).

    2. The ALP’s flagrant abuse of the external affairs power (Tasmanian Dams).

    3. The LP/NP’s flagrant abuse of the corporation’s power (Work Choices).

    4. The unwillingness of the High Court to apply the constitution.

    5. No strict state based just compensation right.

    6. Parliamentary supremacy over the judicial system/common law in the Australian system in other legal cases.

    7. No CIR to strike dumb very fishy laws.

    These flaws we have are enough to consider that the constitution is actually busted…

  45. It seems to me that there is a definite plan to wipe out primary industry in Australia and make us dependent on overseas products. Anything that happens slowly and subtly becomes accepted by the masses. It is only by looking back to the past – in this case at our agricultural heritage, that what we have lost becomes strikingly apparent. Already the supermarkets are flooded with overseas foods which used to be not only produced here for the Australian market, but for export as well. A case in point is the vast tract of citrus orchards which used to stretch from the central coast to Sydney, which were ploughed under. I understand orchards in other areas have also vanished.
    I urge everyone who loves Australia and wants to keep it Australia, to make a noise about this, talk about it, contact media, write letters or emails, do whatever you can,
    or it may be your own property that the government “requires”.

  46. Ooooh, so many questions…..
    On the other hand, Michael answered my question with more questions so that’s not really going anywhere. I’ll simply say that if Spencer wanted to be a farmer, he should have worked his farm. It was his choice to buy and then leave it idle. Perhaps it was a poor investment in the first place?

    Semi Regular, I agree the analogy is irrelevant. I was led off at a tangent. Sorry about that. You have also continued down that path. If you do some research I think you will find there were concerns over native vegetation much earlier than the 1990’s and Kyoto. Surely when Peter first bought his property he would have been aware of them, or at least, he should have been if he was serious about his original plan to maintain 40% native growth on his property. As for your question on compensation, for what? He wasn’t using the land that became overgrown. If you check his list of demands, you will see he wants quite a lot of other things as well.

    Rob, I think you will find taxpayers are likely to cry foul over any proposal that costs them more. Your parents are farmers because they choose to be. Kudos to them for doing it successfully. I know times are hard, especially during the long term drought conditions. They are the real heroes. Can I assume they did not leave their property neglected for a period of years?

    Barry, I said anybody can operate a bakery. I think that still includes your family.

  47. “I’ll simply say that if Spencer wanted to be a farmer, he should have worked his farm.”

    Do you believe the Government should be able to compulsorily acquire property rights without compensation off those who do not actively use their assets?

    Yes or no will do.

  48. Yes Steven, that is why you should be questioning the government as to why they put themselves in the position whereby our (former) constutional rights to compensation should be provided. Hasn’t the governments decision cost taxpayers more?

    Why are you just focusing on Peter’s case? Is it just because he is protesting up a pole? What about other farmers rights to fair compensation? Your argument is unfair. Are you suggesting all farmers neglect their land? Your answers are not helping to build up a logical rebuttal, let alone credibility. But by all means, continue….

  49. I can’t give a simple yes or no. Each case should be considered on it’s own merits.

    This discussion is titled “Peter Spencer”.

  50. “He has declined an offer by his local mister to discuss other opportunities.”

    Big fucking deal!

    How about this:

    “Let me clear my land to earn an income or lay off with the fixed taxes”

    Get it?

    Try answering this. You are being rather slippery:

    “Please explain why setting land aside extinguishes rights to just compensation, or nay other right.”

    You have never done this so far.

  51. Steven, the issue is property rights. Why does a farmer have less property rights than say a homeowner or a factory owner whose rights don’t diminish if they don’t do anything with their land? What is the basis for insisting a farmer must work his land in order to keep a full suite of property rights?

  52. “Peter, if the re-growth had been prevented, would the land have lost value? If the land was actually being farmed, would it have produced an income?

    It’s irrelevant. The value in issue is the difference between any given piece of land, with, and without the relevant use-rights that were taken.

    Your argument only makes sense if we assume that government has a right to take and do whatever it wants without limit.

  53. Hmm, interesting to see the explosion of comments on this post xD Anyway, internet arguments aside, I was listening to the radio last week and heard a talkback host talking to and agreeing with Barnaby Joyce about property rights. I found it ironic that he took a call from some whinger complaining that work was continuing on a sand mine without council approval and got shitty that they were using their land in violation of regulation. I think my home country is starting to look like a lost cause

  54. The linkage between native vegetation laws, Howard and Kyoto is unproven – it is a state issue.

    Spencer is committing suicide

  55. rog
    That is not in issue. It is not in issue that the evidence shows that the Commonwealth got the states to pass the laws restricting farmer’s use-rights pursuant to the Kyoto protocol, and paid them to do it. Spencer has the evidence – piles of it, signed by Howard when he was PM, and has been trying to bring it into the High Court.

    Their posture of the Court and the feds has been to say “but this only shows an *executive* act of government. The Constitution says *the Parliament* must acquire property on just terms. So unless you satisfy us first as to the legal point whether the Constitution was intended to protect against executive acts of unjust acquisition, we are not going to proceed to hear evidence that presupposes that.”

    The totalitarian implications should be obvious. It would mean the executive can go around stealing property, without authorisation by legislation, and the Constitution would provide no protection. It is a doctrine of unlimited government power. It effectively spells the end of constitutional government, because what use would all the other constitutional protections be, if the government could take your land, your house, your farm, your factory or business, your car, and any other damn thing it wanted, without your consent, and without compensation at market value?

  56. “Their posture of the Court and the feds has been to say “but this only shows an *executive* act of government. The Constitution says *the Parliament* must acquire property on just terms. So unless you satisfy us first as to the legal point whether the Constitution was intended to protect against executive acts of unjust acquisition, we are not going to proceed to hear evidence that presupposes that.”

    It should be treated as ultra vires and hence void. But so should the Federal Government directing State Government law by the fiscal balls and executive order.

    Another fatal flaw in the Constitution:

    8. Federal fiscal supremacy.

    Howard could not have bullied the States without threatening their revenue stream.

  57. “32.Maris, you don’t seem to be aware that much of Rural NSW has been affected by drought since the Mid 1990’s. That would have much more of an impact on Peter’s failed trout farm experiment. Fish do not do very well without water.

    The point that is being missed, is that he had cleared land to begin with. By his own admission, he neglected the property. He would not be in this situation if had taken care of his most valuable asset, his land.

    Comment by Steven | January 2, 2010”

    Sorry Steven, I was in Rural NSW in the mid 1990’s. I know the effects of drought quite well. I also know that ploughing fallow land has not been considered the best or only practice for land management for some time.

    I have seen a lot of good comments on this site by other people and I hope they have kept you interested or entertained while you avoid the main issue, namely:-

    ‘Why should non-use of land justify or lead to loss of rights over that land?’ This is a question that can only be answered if one does not believe in property rights.

    Yes, injustices happen to many people and they just get on with their lives. Peter Spencer seems to have made considerable efforts to get on with his life, but for many reasons, has failed. FAILURE DOES NOT TAKE AWAY HIS RIGHTS.

    Rather failure should prompt support for his attitude of trying to get on with life and make the best of the deal he had received. You are rather unsupportive to say the least.

    I can only presume that you are not expecting to be thrown on the scrap-heap of life any time soon, because clearly ability and guts are not enough to ensure success.


  58. “It should be treated as ultra vires and hence void.”

    Exactly. But it shows that we have reached the end of the constitutional line. All the much-vaunted checks and balances resolve into nothing more than begging politicians not to steal your property, hand it out to someone else, and lock you in a cage if you dare to defend it.

  59. Rob, I could not agree with your comments more particularly this: “So to those who thumb their noses at rural heroes like Peter Spencer should dunk their head in a bucket of cold water. You are a disgrace to the Australian way of life. You should be sticking up for your mates when they need help.

    If you think you know farmers, well you don’t know them well enough. They struggle, day after day to feed Australians – let alone their families. Peter is a real hero of the bush and our best wishes are to Peter, his family, mates ,the local community and other affected farmers across the country.

    To the negative, bitter and ignorant people in our society, I have nothing but pity that you are another puppet of a controlling government wishing to divide the population so they can conquer it. What will it take for you to see the light? Why can’t you lay aside your egos and pride and support people like Peter?”

    I think you have a personal axe to grind. But whether or not you have, your deplorable attitude is the reason our country is progressively being diminished, you don’t seem the least bit concerned that governments both state and federal should be able to underhandedly and unconstitutionally take a person’s land without compensation. You are not a true Australian and we would be a whole lot better off without people like you. You don’t give a bugger about your fellow Australians. If the shoe were on the other foot you would scream “bloody blue murder”. That’s an old Australian saying that real bushies and Aussie farmers will relate to.

    More power to the fair dinkum people of this country. We have an election coming up and I for one will be looking very carefully at both party leaders, their followers and the senate. I can’t wait to make my vote count.

  60. I hope the rally goes well today and recieves the media coverage it deserves. I have also been helping to spread the word. If we all try with our own contacts, we can make a difference in our fight to save Peter Spencer, his farm, and all other farmers/landholders across the country.

    The human will to stick together in times of crisis is our strongest asset.

  61. Steven, I have just returned to work after a break between Xmas and NewYear, so I will make some fresh comments here.
    A lot of supporters of Peter spencer remember that there was an American case, where the the local county Government was found, by the Supreme Court, to have the right to resume private land and sell it to a developer to change it so that the local county would be able to get more taxes out of it, under the ‘public good’ label.
    A lot of us are thus inclined to stop any such action from happening here, or repealing it if it occurs.
    It doesn’t matter to us what was done to the land. We are trying to establish the idea or principle that property-owners have rights above and beyond that of governments- that self-government is the strongest tier of politics. Whilst this is not yet true, it is what we are working towards, and Mr. Spencer is a cause we can embrace on the road away from serfdom.

  62. As a city person can someone explain to me what the difference is with planning controls on city property compared to the clearing laws. I buy a piece of city property and I want to clear it and build a tower block to make lots of money. The council says NO because of planning regulations – So should I go on hunger strike to get compensation or do I accept that you can not do just as you want with property you need to consider the greater needs of society. And you can not expect tax payers to give you compensation because you are not allowed to do what ever you want.

    If farmers what compensation then lets have a land tax on farming land to pay for it.

  63. Bill,

    The difference is that in this instance, the prohibition on land clearing wasn’t the enforcement of a regulation in force when Peter Spencer acquired his property, but rather, the prohibition was made by the NSW Parliament by legislation after he purchased his property.

    Statutorily, the State needs to give compensation on just terms, but the Native Vegetation Act is more recent and takes precedence.

    The legal issue is if funding States by Federal legislation, made under agreement by the Federal and State executives, which dictates that such caveats on property be made by the State, breaches the Commonwealth’s constitutional duty to give compensation on just terms for property the Parliament acquires (like the Kerrigan’s in *The Castle*).

    Background on Peter’s farm: he is a fine wool grower and his property is forested by and large by the valuable Mountain Ash tree. He believes that the Native Vegetation Act essentially holds the carbon of these trees by the State of NSW in trust for the Commonwealth viz. its Kyoto agreement.

    Farmers are doing it tough re: the drought but that’s part and parcel of the game so no dice. However, he would like the extra income that would arise from the felling of the trees. He has bills to pay, like land taxes he already pays, but you wish to jack up.

    If your local council is making your life hell, fight back, don’t bite the pillow and take it out on the rest of us.

  64. Semi Regular Libertarian thanks for a bit more info. In the city you can buy land and have planning rules change and no one would expect compensation.
    When you say the government should pay compensation what you mean is my tax bill should increase to pay farmers for possible future income lost because they are not allowed to take a course of action.
    Using this logic we will need to compensate everyone for all sorts of activities we judge not beneficial for society because it may cost the owner future income. The tax bill will be high for all.
    If you propose that we do not compensate but allow individuals to choose to do what ever they want with the property we will have a different set of problems. As a simple example I do own some bush land and the neighbour sprayed chicken shit all over a paddock before heavy rain which washed it into my dam – we have to have controls.

  65. “In the city you can buy land and have planning rules change and no one would expect compensation.”

    Um not quite.

    Many local authorities in Australia have a “use or lose” policy.

    However, in the context of forestry, with a 25+ year payback period, he was using the property. He was also using it for livestock rearing, and some holistic management schools of thought say that allowing reforestation would increase biodiversity and ultimately farm productivity.

    “When you say the government should pay compensation what you mean is my tax bill should increase to pay farmers for possible future income lost because they are not allowed to take a course of action.”

    Not at all.

    I have a utilitarian outlook, namely: The Government should have the broadest taxes set at the lowest rate to cover only the projects or services which pass a cost benefits test.

    You’ve raised two issues:

    1) There is so much waste and inefficiency a large amount of compensation could be spent without actually increasing taxes,

    2) What Peter and economically responsible people who want carbon mitigation policies actually want is not compensation, is for the Government not to dump the costs of this onto one group (by the native vegetation Act)in society but to have an explictly costed and sensible mitigation scheme.

    More or less, Howard sprayed chickenshit into Peter’s dam rather than being open about mitigating carbon by taxes (or changing the tax mix). He’s having a hell of a time getting compensation since Howard got the NSW ALP to do the work himself for some cash transfers.

  66. With only a tiny bit of luck next year the NSW labour government will be gone, not just for being inept in every sphere of government but for rolling over to a Liberal party government and becoming their lackeys in this instance. Before that though I am looking forward to watching Rudd’s fight to be re-elected. Not that I will ever, ever again vote labour but it will be interesting. People are starting to listen and learn what is happening in this country. I seriously doubt young people other than those at uni will take interest and some of those might not, but I hope with all my heart some do. We must have better politicians and leaders in this country, more accountable, honest people without egos who won’t be led by the nose by more powerful nations. The young are the ones who need to hear the truth. To those people defending and supporting Peter Spencer, make sure your children know why this has happened and what should happen in the future, it is their future after all.

  67. Bill – also note that State and Commonwealth Governments can only make such moves after legislative action or legislative approval of changed regulation – to which the States are legislatively bound (and thus so maybe are Local authorities) and the Commonwealth is bound to give compensation on just terms for compulsory acquisitions.

  68. Bill, your response that you object that your tax bill should increase to pay for compensation to farmers….

    Why arn’t you directing this question to the government that put the taxpayers in this position? Don’t take the easy path and blame the farmers. Anyone living in Australia has a right to seek compensation for a loss of property, etc. So this means city people too.

    So why not redirect your grieviances to the government whom has put all of us in a position of record high debt and has to raise taxes anyway? Aren’t they the one who has made the dumb decision? Our taxes are about to go up anyway.

  69. The city equivalent example is heritage listing. Local councils as organs under state law can declare your home a heritage item and remove your freedom to demolish, renovate or otherwise change your property. In the process they readily wipe hundreds of thousands of dollars of peoples property values with zero compensation. It stinks. And it can be done arbitrarily. Two houses in the same street with equal vintage and heritage significance can have quite different heritage status simply based on the attitude of neighbours. My parents lost a chuck of their retirement savings due to a property investment that went sour via a heritage order.

  70. If the Liberals were fair dinkum about small government they would change strategy. At the moment they play fiscal conservatives that maintains Labors happy spending by keeping taxes high to pay down debt. However this just hands Labor a clean credit card during the next electoral cycle. What they ought to do on winning power is slash taxes and let Labor deal with the fiscal difficulties by constraining their spending ambitions. Fiscal conservatism isn’t strategically helpful to the small government agenda. Although I’m sure plenty will disagree.

  71. Yes, I agree with your statement Terje. My condolences to your parents. Any Australian citizen should have the right to fair compensation for loss of property, property value, etc by government decisions.

    If the social need is there for the aquisition of property or protection of heritage for the common good of Australia, then society (taxpayers) should fit the bill. If taxpayers object to footing the bill, they should be giving the government a kick up the pants for making such a decision without community support by referendum or other constitutional means – not by targeting Peter for making a stand on human rights.

    Barnaby Joyce at the rally in Canberra today described the situation as akin to ‘communism’.

    I agree. We are all slowly having our rights eroded. We need to take a stand and support Peter, who I feel is hope for not only farmers against Kyoto and the veg laws, but other Australians with similar discrimitory legislation.

    Since when to environmental and economic laws take precedent over social laws? Anywhere but a democracy.

  72. All this talk of climate change and kyoto – what has this got to do with the issue ? The vegetation clearing laws were enacted before Kyoto and can be considered as preserving bio-diversity.

    With all this talk of paying compensation means us the taxpayers will pay. The requests to lower taxation and lower spending goes in the face of economic reality – Australia because of large government stimulus has not gone into deep recession unlike a lot of developed countries.

    It seems a shame that a blog based on libertarian thought has been hijacked by the disgruntled who seem to only care about the implications for their back pocket rather than thinking of the wider benefits to society ( and society means us )

    Do you really want to return to the 1930’s with low taxation, low government spending and mass unemployment ?

    Government and laws need to be made for the greater good – yes this sometimes disadvantages a minority.

    If we had a referendum today about native land clearing we would have overwhelming support for the existing laws ( which by the way have not really been enforced – how many prosecutions have we had ?)

  73. ‘Dear’ Bill, are you a libertarian in any degree? Libertarian thought is always to help minorities against democratic ‘greater good’ society. The Great Depression was started by WW1, because the Gold standard couldn’t handle all that government-sponsored debt! It’s governments that start wars! All nations then engaged in tariffs, and protectionism, not trade. The best way to get rid of unemployment is to stop having governments command artificially-high minimum wages- let the markets decide!
    What sort of arguments did you think you’d find here, anyway? If you believe in greater-good socialism, you won’t find that here!

  74. “All this talk of climate change and kyoto – what has this got to do with the issue ? The vegetation clearing laws were enacted before Kyoto and can be considered as preserving bio-diversity.”

    They were amended in exchange for Federal grant assistance to ensure the Kyoto treaty was followed.

    Having vegetation laws doesn’t necessarily protect biodiversity either. Sustainable forestry and grazing promote biodiversity. The Veg. Acts don’t even allow for this.

    “With all this talk of paying compensation means us the taxpayers will pay. The requests to lower taxation and lower spending goes in the face of economic reality – Australia because of large government stimulus has not gone into deep recession unlike a lot of developed countries.”

    This is not true Bill.

    The IMF predicted 2% growth in 2008 and 0% in 2009.

    What we actually have after the stimulus is this:

    *In the last five quarters, GDP/person has been -0.4%, -1.4%, 0%, 0%, -0.4%… which seems to indicate that we are still not out of recession. Or perhaps (if you count 0% as positive) that we could be facing a double-dip recession.*

    “It seems a shame that a blog based on libertarian thought has been hijacked by the disgruntled who seem to only care about the implications for their back pocket rather than thinking of the wider benefits to society ( and society means us )”

    You’re not being consistent Bill. We don’t want the Government necessarily to compensate, but to end this policy which basically tries to put all of the load of carbon mitigation onto farmers. You also said you think we should have litigation to curb behaviour, but didn’t want YOUR tax bill (i.e your back pocket costs) increased.

    “Do you really want to return to the 1930’s with low taxation, low government spending and mass unemployment ?”

    This is complete and utter crap.

    The 1970s had high taxation, high Government spending – and mass unemployment and high inflation – and low growth.

    This is pertinent to your argument:


    *FDR’s policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate*

    “Government and laws need to be made for the greater good – yes this sometimes disadvantages a minority.”

    If you take this utilitarian approach, it need not specifically target anyone as a saccrafice. The constitution, and spirit of our law also has the value of just compensation.

    A tree hugger at Peter’s protest remarked that she thought he had no right to fell the valuable Mountain Ash but he and other farmers had been ripped off, as they were not given just compensation for the States acquiring this property in trust for the Commonwealth…(to abide by the Kyoto treaty).

    “If we had a referendum today about native land clearing we would have overwhelming support for the existing laws ( which by the way have not really been enforced – how many prosecutions have we had ?)”

    No and no.

    People are sick of paying high property prices, being forced out of work, ripped off by Governments and as for enforcement…why isn’t Peter just selling Mountain Ash, why is there such a large protest?

  75. The PM thinks he’s a whiz on the computer; now he’s just realised the internet can bring down a government.

    Tweed Heads

  76. Bill,
    Hold that thought…whenever the government ever has a use for your property “for the greater good”, and doesn’t pay you compensation and blocks your every move to oppose it in court, draining every cent you have, don’t expect sympathy with that attitude.

    Obviously compassion is not one of your highest traits. For your info, this site has not been hijacked. You can leave your opinions just like everyone else. I believe you’re clutching at straws with that comment.

    As for the vegetation laws, it is a crock. There is no biodiversity in regrowth. Generally the dominant species such as acacia competes with other species and chokes them out. Then you have weeds, etc. I have not heard who is going to manage this ‘carbon sink’ land as declared by Rudd under Kyoto targets. Is he expecting the farmer to do this too? Give me a break! Reveg projects need to be done under control, otherwise there isn’t much biodiversity, and the next devistating wildfire will wipe it all out anyway.

    Unfortunately I agree that if we had a referendum on the veg laws they would be passed…but that is only because the spin and lies produced by government and the state-controlled media. I say state-controlled media because they have widely failed to provide Peter Spencer’s side of the story. Obviously stories about teenage kids crashing parties are more important than someone standing up for their rights. The government has supressed the media, and I agree with Barnaby Joyce that this whole government approach to Peter’s case (and towards other landholders) smacks of ‘communism’. Where has the compassion for people in this country gone?

  77. Quoted “All this talk of climate change and kyoto – what has this got to do with the issue ? The vegetation clearing laws were enacted before Kyoto and can be considered as preserving bio-diversity.”

    Well as far as I can see EVERYTHING. Peter Spencer isn’t up a pole just for himself. He is up there for the right of ALL the people of this country. These laws were enacted to meet the Kyoto protocol agreed to by Howard he did not not sign but obviously adhered in principle. Rudd ran to the table to sign. So both federal governments are to blame not to mention the NSW government, who will be gone this year.

    Biodiversity? Please give us all a break. We are talking about the livelihood of farmers here not some green Americanism BS. Get a grip. This about people not plants.

  78. I have just driven down from the Gold Coast to Sydney and to pass the time have listened to a lot of local radio.

    There is only one topic that anyone wants to talk about – Peter Spencer.

    Switching to the ABC news bulletins, i was surprised to find almost no mention of him.

    It is most strange that the mainstream media are choosing to ignore this story.

  79. Bill
    You are begging the question whether all restrictions on land use, apart from those that violate others’ property rights, are an unjust acquisition of property.

    It is not an answer to say such laws are for the greater good. That is precisely what is in issue. The mere fact that government does something, doesn’t mean it’s for the greater good.

    Similarly with biodiversity. That’s good, but so is producing food. The question is which is to prevail, and why. The mere fact that biodiversity is involved does not supply a justification. It’s not about biodiversity, it’s about power. It’s about a group of people who want something but don’t want to pay for it, using force to bully other people into paying for it.

    You are quite right that it would be unfair to force the taxpayers to pay. Neither farmers nor taxpayers should be forced to pay. The most practical way is also the most ethical.

    Hands up all those who say using land to grow native vegetation is more important than using it to grown anything else?

    YOU PAY!

  80. Peter, as a libertarian, I think that the owner of land should decide whatever the land shall be used for, and should bear any consequences, good and bad. If anything wants to use the land for any other purpose, that thing, a person or a State, should be required to buy that land. We should abolish all zoning and heritage laws.

  81. ‘Nuke’ Gray I basically agree with the idea that the owner should decide however it has to be balanced by the idea of not doing harm to others.

    So for example if someone wanted to open a nuclear waste dump on their land and import foreign nuclear waste ( taking the ‘Nuke’ theme) would you say that should be allowed as a libertarian ?

    I would say not as it may well harm others.

    Getting back to land clearing those of us who believe in man influenced global warming would see land clearing as detrimental to others so would see it as reasonable that this use is restricted.

    You would not expect compensation because you can not build a nuclear waste dump so why should you expect compensation for leaving vegetation in place ?

    And for Peter Hume’s question of which we would prefer native vegetation or crops – look at Brazilian rainforests would you prefer the forest or the land clearing for palm oil – even if you don’t believe in global warming we still have to have green vegetation to provide oxygen.

    And people check the dates land clearing legislation came in before Kyoto – RaeBee are you seriously saying that Howard supported the land clearing legislation because he secretly supported kyoto a treaty that he publicly opposed signing – if so what evidence supports this position ?

  82. Bill – Sweden dumps their waste in deep “concrete burial plots” in geologically sound areas.

    They are socialist to boot but the left of their national politics hasn’t poisoned debate on uranium/nuclear energy.

    A number of dumps could be serviceable in Australia, given our remote, dry, geologically stable conditions.

    Google Prof. Barry Brook. He is an ecologist who has basically calculated that we cannot tackle global warming without a reduction in living standards unless we go nuclear. It is physically impossible otherwise, in his calculations.

    He is at the Uni of Adelaide and has over 150 research publications.

    Your objectionability seems to oppose the nuclear medicine of Lucas Heights, any waste dumps, any exports of fissile material or any use of nuclear energy in Australia.


    “Getting back to land clearing those of us who believe in man influenced global warming would see land clearing as detrimental to others so would see it as reasonable that this use is restricted.”

    But it is not reasonable. It is the worst kind of policy tool to deliver outcomes. I don’t like the ETS and think a carbon tax would see some kind of carbon derivative emerge on the financial markets on it’s own, but any carbon trading scheme, or carbon tax credit scheme with an appropriate price would see the same desired outcome.

    What the current policy of lock and key, command and control does is that it misses local information, ignores the role that prices have for information and assumes that no sustainable agricultural system will emerge.


    “You would not expect compensation because you can not build a nuclear waste dump so why should you expect compensation for leaving vegetation in place ?”

    Because he previously had the right to use it, but the Government tried to remove that right by legislation without compensation.

    Here is the relevant section of the Commonwealth Constitution Act:

    The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:

    (xxxi) the acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws;

    There are two issues. 1) Does the restraint on vegetation mean that property has been acquired? 2) NSW has passed the legislation, so does Peter Spencer have any recourse?

    1) – Yes – see the wiki article:

    *The High Court of Australia has taken a wide view of the concept of “property”. Several members of the court took the opportunity to consider the meaning of the term property in Minister of State for the Army v Dalziel (1944). Justice Starke said the term includes: “every species of valuable right and interest including real and personal property, incorporeal hereditaments such as rents and services, rights-of-way, rights of profit or use in land of another, and choses in action. Justice McTiernan confirmed the term property extends to tangible and intangible property.*

    2) At face value, no. But to answer a later question of yours, Peter Spencer/his entourage say they have documentation of this as a Commonwealth directed plan in the alteration (i.e AMEND the NVAs – the date of their novation is irrelevant) of the NVAs to make Australia compliant with Kyoto.

    The legal issue is then does NSW hold the property in a constructive trust for the Commonwealth? I’d say yes but I’ll admit that I was biased. But I also hope the Court sees the implication of allowing a Federal Government with a large vertical fiscal imbalance being allowed to acquire property in trust with the States as trustees quid pro quo for Federal grant assistance.


    Bill – Brazil has open clearing because there are no clear property rights. The indigenous people their suffer as did ours with an idea similar to terra nullius.

    Bring in property rights, their is no land stealing, indigenous people are properly compensated for the sale of their land (which they are not forced to sell – BTW the Kelo case in the US may say they should be…) and sunk capital costs infer that agriculture would be sustainable, not a process of pillaging with no respect to externalities.

    Ideally farms use natives along with carefully selected exotics to create a highly productive farm that manages water and fertility with low inputs and high outputs.

  83. Bill
    If you believe in global warming then with respect it is not true that you ‘basically agree with the idea that the owners should decided’ (subject to overriding need to protect against harm to others). This is because, since all human action has carbon implications, the state must, according to that reasoning, have the ultimate decision in every case. It is then merely a matter of arbitrary power whether they decide to intervene in any given action or not.

    This is what disturbs me about all the arguments against Peter Spencer. On analysis, they all resolve into a belief in total government power: that our right to freedom and property is only what is left over after government has taken and done whatever it wants.

    Intervention in the case of a nuclear power station is justified in libertarian reasoning on the basis of risk to the person or property of others. But the reasoning on the basis of supposed global warming is a carte blanche for unlimited government.

    There are two problems with this. Firstly it must necessarily mean the end of any limitation on total and arbitrary government power, and therefore of any way to stop the abuse of power. And secondly, governmental central command-and-control of the environment must necessarily result in worse environmental outcomes, because they have all the same faults as everyone else, the ability to cause damage on a much larger scale, and the inability to calculate economically.

    Millions of people are going hungry in the world at the same time as the governments of the most productive nations are shutting down food production on a massive scale, on the basis of an assumption that the state self-evidently represents the good of society and stands for higher social and moral values. That assumption is wrong.

  84. Bill, you sure mess up an argument!
    You say you would ban things because they might have an adverse affect on others.
    Many of your actions might have an adverse affect on others! You might buy the last copy of a newspaper in a store, thus inconveniencing someone else! Should the government therefore regulate sales of newspapers? Your shoe might be used tomorrow in a robbery, in some way- should all shoes be microchipped?
    The list would never end!
    Let’s stick to proven, not hypothetical, harm to others.
    As for the dump, my advocacy of ownership has a flip side- roads would be owned by local governments, which could outlaw carriage of nuclear waste on local public properties.
    So I don’t think that will be likely, in any case.

  85. G/day
    It all boils do to OUR Commonwealth Constitional rights.
    Stand up for them.
    Lets have a referendum on Global Warming to settle it once and for all.It’s our right.
    To quote a movie “Iv’e got a gun and a shovel” just try my patience.

  86. Chris
    The problem with democratic rights is that if a majority vote themselves a benefit paid for with money taken by you, then that’s the way it goes!

    The whole purpose of constitutions is to limit the power of government; otherwise we could just give total power to government, sit back, and enjoy the wonderful society.

    What Spencer’s case is showing is that the constitution doesn’t work. Democracy just morphs into unlimited government power.

  87. Peter and ‘Nuke’ you suggest that my reasoning leads to the state having to control everything we do. This is not so, a lot of our laws depend on definitions of ‘reasonable’ and such like. so for example I can make noise on my land but not unreasonable noise (if you have ever had problems with noisy neighbours you will know what I mean).

    So just as if I said harmful noise should be controlled does not mean I think the state should control all sound – none of these ideas means government has carte blanch to do anything. The argument that all these arguments “resolve into a belief in total government power” is false – just because you believe in some government power does not mean you belief in total power. This is where we lose the support of the public when we take a valid idea such as the reduction of property rights and extend it by saying this means support for ‘total’ government power – a view that most Australians would dismiss as extremist bullshit.

    ‘Nuke’ why should roads by owned by the state ? Are you against the private ownership of roads ? If someone wants to travel for a to b they should pay the cost why should tax payers pay for roads they may never get to use. Let the free market decide.

  88. Bill,

    The law recognises eminent domain. It is supported by most Australians.

    What Peter Spencer is saying is that just terms of compensation for the use of eminent domain have been, so far, successfully avoided by a face value loophole.

    The law also recognises just terms, and most Australians also support this.

    If there are no just terms, please explain what protection from confiscation your property has?

    “‘Nuke’ why should roads by owned by the state ? Are you against the private ownership of roads ? If someone wants to travel for a to b they should pay the cost why should tax payers pay for roads they may never get to use. Let the free market decide.”

    Precisely. Let the market decide who pays for carbon, not a Federal-State quid pro quo.

  89. Writing the comment above got me thinking and made me angry – as a libertarian I thought to my self why are some of my tax dollars used as subsidies to farmers and rural areas !
    Why to farmers get money when it does not rain, or when it rains too much – theses sort of issues should be covered by them either self insuring or taking out a policy.
    Why do my tax dollars subsidies rural telephony and internet services – if they want them pay full price.
    Roads, medical services, schooling heaps are taken from my pocket and given to someone else because they live in rural areas. Is this right ?
    I insure my house, my business, my health , my life, I have never claimed dole or benefits, yet I am paying to much tax to support those that seem to expect the state to look after them rather than relying on themselves.

  90. Bill misses the point.
    It is not about subsidising the farmer it is about taking the rights of a farmer or home owner away from us. I am not a farmer and nor would I ever be but I am sure worried what the government can now do with my home and land (no deeds anymore, Brigalow Corp etc) It is coming.
    But I do respect your view (as limited as I see it).
    This brings up another change on the horizen. Look at the filtering on porno etc sites. I think it is probably good especially for those people who have not taught their children the delete button and change the channel theory. However, the next thing will be this style of forum and radio talk back “fitering”. Look at the damage done by the radio talk back responces to the (almost) ETS tax burdon. I voted for Rudd, I was looking for something new and difference, well like many others who voted for him, We are now in shock.
    As a foot note to filtering. Some of you would be aware of the pending filtering. censorship of the american radio talk back industry by Obama.

  91. Bill, I have no trouble with the concept of private roads. I am a minarchist who believes that governments should be limited to things like roads, and other properties called public. Instead of completely removing governments, I think we should downsize them, keep them off all private property, and force them to be responsible- i.e., offer services that people have the option of selecting, or not selecting. No taxes or conscription!! As the owner, on the public’s behalf, of public roads, governments could charge for the use of these lands (car licences, etc.)
    And I agree that Peter Spencer should not be compensated- because the government shouldn’t be able to do anything to his property in the first place! Give back to property-owners the right to use property as they want!

  92. I think his protest is too little too late .. Is he concerned when police impound peoples cars and sell them at auction ( admittedly for breaking the law ) or is it just when it effects farmers . Wake up Australia it should be us who tell the politicians what to do. Not the other way around . they do work for us !!!!!

  93. I have just watched TodayTonight and finally, but finally, there is an honest representation on television about Peter’s plight. There is a poll happening on their site too.

    However, I am more than a little emotional having seen Peter up there and knowing K.Rudd is ignoring him AND US as the people of this country.

    I would like you to come down Peter. I don’t want to hear that you have died, I would like to see you go on to give the pathetic excuse for government in this country HELL.

    There are many of us here and now we know they make decisions to suit themselves and how they are seen on the world stage.

    Howard wasn’t game enough to sign Kyoto we know, but Rudd rushed to the table with a pen in his hand. My husband and I can’t wait to get rid of Rudd but where to from there?

    And, where is Rudd, in ‘conference’ with his spin doctors no doubt. I wonder how it will spin?

  94. Bill
    The *intent* of what you are advocating is not to give government total arbitrary power, but that’s the *effect*. It’s not about a government power to control “anything”, it’s about a power to control *anything it wants to* and that’s precisely what’s happening.

    In the noise example, the limitation is against affecting other people’s person or property, and it is therefore within libertarian reasoning and therefore within limit.

    But how could or would you limit a government power to control any human action that affects ‘the environment’ or ‘carbon’, even conceptually? It not only couldn’t work in practice, it can’t even work in theory.

    Granting such a government power not only would make it impossible to prevent abuses of power, it would also make it increasingly harder to *distinguish* them. We would see abuses going on right in front of our faces, and not identify them as abuses, just thinking “Oh well the government’s doing it, so it must be justifiable” even if people are being expropriate, or bullied, or starved, or stolen from. And that’s what Spencer’s case is demonstrating. He is being expropriated to stop his land from producing food which is causing other people to go hungry, and people defend it by saying “How could this government intervention be wrong? If it was, it would mean such and such other government intervention must be wrong!”

    Thus the circular belief, and double standard, of endless government privilege, introduces deep moral confusion, because the standard of morality becomes, whatever the majority votes for government to do must be okay, even if it would otherwise be a theft.

    As for subsidies to farmers, the fact that the government gives farmers ‘free’ handouts with property taken from someone else, is not a justification of their taking money from farmers, to give free handouts to others. It’s an argument against both.





  96. It is the principle of democracy that is causing the problem, because why should other people be able to vote themselves your property?

  97. Is civics taught in Australia? Are schoolkids actually trained in their rights, or it is left up to them to study up on the subject?

  98. What children are supposed to learn (according to the government) can be found here:

    Click to access SOL_CivicsCitizenship.pdf

    “Civics and Citizenship is concerned with the development of students as informed and active citizens of Australia. The Statements of Learning and the professional elaborations have been written in the context of the following aims that guide the Civics and Citizenship aspects of curriculums in Australia, and seek to provide students with the opportunity to develop:

    • an understanding of, and commitment to, Australia’s democratic system of government, law and civic life
    • the capacity to clarify and critically examine values and principles that underpin Australia’s democracy and the ways in which these contribute to a fair and just society and a sustainable future
    • the knowledge, skills and values that support active citizenship and the capacity to act as informed and responsible citizens
    • an appreciation of the local, state, national, regional and global rights and responsibilities of citizenship and civic life
    • an appreciation of the experiences and heritage of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their influence on Australian civic identity and society
    • an appreciation of the uniqueness and diversity of Australia as a multicultural society and a commitment to supporting intercultural understandings within the context of Australian democracy
    • an understanding of the ways in which citizens and governments contribute to environmental sustainability in local to global contexts and a commitment to adopting values, behaviour and lifestyles required for a sustainable future
    • an appreciation of the influence of media and information and communication technologies on the views and actions of citizens and governments
    • an understanding of historical perspectives on Australia’s development as a democratic nation
    • an understanding of the ways in which governance structures from other countries are similar to or differ from democracy in Australia.”

    The problem with such a broad brush is that it can mean different things to different people, and I’m pretty sure it means different things to the average teacher than it does to me. We were never taught such things so why is it perceived to be necessary now? Probably on the principle of “give me the child and I’ll mould the adult”. South Africa under the National Party used to have what was known as Christian National Education which was designed to reinforce cultural diversity (and hence apartheid) and to turn out good, white citizens and compliant non-white ones.

    I am always cynical when governments start educating children in these areas, I’ve spent a lot of time over the years trying to teach my children to have what I term “a healthy disrespect for authority”.

  99. “… development of students as informed and active citizens”
    (ie not subjects of a privately-owned government or monarchy but citizens, members of a publicly-owned government or democracy…”)
    “…understanding of and commitment to Australia’s democratic system of government”
    (ie a system of government based on the principle of one-vote-one-value, and therefore in direct or probable contradition of the principle of individual freedom and private property. Liberty and property are now to be held subject to the actions of the government as presumptively representative of the will of the people, or subject to constitutional restraints on government specifically intended to protect liberty and property from government overriding them in the name of the majority.)
    “…local, state, national, regional and global rights and responsibilities…”
    The ‘rights’ include the primary ‘right’ which government functions to enforce, namely the ‘right’ to vote for the government to take other people’s property and give it to you; and the ‘responsibilities’ include the meaningless catch-all for total government power: ‘sustainability’. What’s supposed to mean.

    No mention of the fact that individual liberty and private property are the necessary and indispensable foundations of civilisation, or form important values for all Australians, no mentions of the concept of limited or constitutional government; but two mentions of ‘sustainability’ a quasi-religious concept of an Eden-like stasis in which all economic problems of natural scarcity are permanently solved by … guess who?

  100. Now, children, has everyone handed in their “Road to Serfdom” homework? Yes, it was okay to use your dad as a case study, Hamilton Junior.

    Now, open up “The Ethics of Liberty” text at page 175.

    One can dream.

  101. 119, there are many who already doubted Peter’s credibiliy, this is just confirmation. Of course there will still be those who won’t let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

  102. Now the facts have come out see post 119. Can we now all leave the Spencer family to sort out what is a family problem.

    comments should end, reporting should end – the family should be left alone to sort out their problems.

    Having had family problems myself I can not see how all this attention will help.

  103. 90.The PM thinks he’s a whiz on the computer; now he’s just realised the Internet can bring down a government.
    Tweed Heads
    Comment by bob bragg | January 5, 2010

    Oh I hope so Bob, I really hope so. They are trying to dumb us down via news spin and stories that are so unbelievably bias they are not worth watching. The best way to get the news is to go to the web, get the stories and research. Or listen to researchers on the web.

    You know we are getting an ETS whether we like it or not. It is coming via our power bills over the next 5 years. Rudd has done a Howard on this, he hasn’t signed anything yet but he is abiding by the agreement. An agreement the rest of the world leaders has not signed!

    So pity the farmers over the next 5 years. If the politicians don’t get you the power companies will. Actually pity all of us trying to make ends meet.

  104. I have just read the family dispute article. Families amaze me, they are always picking at each other over money. Anyway the report had to go back to 1970 to dig the dirt, that happens to be nearly 40 years ago.

    Peter Spencer has brought injustice to the attention of the people and Peter Spencer IS NOT THE ONLY FARMER who has been treated unjustly by the governments of the day. It’s about right now, today, and over riding the constitution when it suits them.

  105. I don’t see how the origin of Peter’s debts or his financial troubles have any bearing on the issue of the government seizing his property rights without due compensation.

    The tradgedy with that story I posted is that it’s going to make people do just what you have done Bill. Lose sight of the core issue and pass it off as just another depressed farmer that can’t manage his money.

    I don’t care if he had huge debts and would have gone bankrupt regardless and it doesn’t matter if his clearing the land wouldn’t help anyway. His land, his choice.

  106. david, I don’t see why the government should bail out a failed business. It would appear that Peter has spent a lot of money on marginal land. His family says that he is more of a businessman than a farmer. Looks like he hasn’t been very successful at either.

    Again, don’t let the facts get in the way.

  107. Steven are you a Rudd green plant?

    You appear to be the one who is ignoring the facts. You say again and again Peter Spencer didn’t use his land, what has that to do with it? You say “his land” you admit by saying his land that he owned the land. The government took land away by stealth.

  108. You are right, the government should not bail out failed businesses. When did peter ever ask for a bail out? As far as I am aware he never asked the government to pay for the land to be cleared.

    This is still getting muddied up.

    1. Peter had the right to clear the land previously(wether or not he actually did it)

    2. The government took away that right and gained a benefit(carbon credits) from that seizure. By extension the taxpayer gained a benefit because that is a carbon credit we don’t have to pay for.

    3. Peter is either owed compensation for that benefit that he is providing, or his land rights back.

    I personally don’t want peter to be compensated, I want the government to stay out of his business in the first place.

  109. Raebee, he never used the land, that was his choice. He could have cleared when he had the rights. He didn’t. That was his decision. He screwed up. He ran up debt on various failed business ventures.

    He still owns the land but it’s going to be sold anyway to clear the debt he owes to his family. Perhaps the next owner will actually make use of it.

  110. So steven, I can come and seize your property if you are not using for an approved purpose? Who approves the purpose? Me? The government? Shall we have a vote?

    I don’t think it should matter if Peter had no intention of using the land and just wanted to clear it because he doesn’t like trees. If he had and his business failed because of it, so be it. At least he would have sunk or swim on his own without government intervention.

  111. Stick to the facts. His property has been seized by the sheriff because he has massive debt problems. The money is owed to his family. He is in debt because his business plan failed. The ownership of his land is now a family matter. They plan to sell to recover money owed to them.

  112. Even if those are the facts, how does that in any way detract from the discussion over the seizure of the land rights?

  113. @128

    “He could have cleared when he had the rights. He didn’t. That was his decision. He screwed up.”

    He screwed up by not anticipating the capriciousness of a government which took away his rights to do with his own land what the hell he chooses to do for no good or valid reason.

    “He still owns the land but it’s going to be sold anyway to clear the debt he owes to his family. Perhaps the next owner will actually make use of it.”

    Presumably the new owner will have the same issues with regard to land use and hence the value the family will receive for the land will be far less than it would have been if it were possible to clear the land and use it for farming. Maybe the rest of the family should join Peter up the pole.

  114. Steven Cousley infers:

    *If your constitutional rights are abused and as a(n) (agri)business owner, abuse of these rights forces you to fail during a drought where you can’t diversify your income sources where you otherwise may have succeeded, it’s all your fault. You should have predicted this was going to happen before it all did.*

    Ridiculous. Steven’s logic:

    *Farmers shouldn’t just prepare for drought, they should prepare for the Government to fuck them over, without even the promise of a reach around.*

    The Government tearing up the NVA would not be a “bailout”. It would be returning something they acquired without paying due compensation.

    Steven has very poor reasoning and moral guidance.

  115. Graham Spencer describes the land as marginal with limited farming value. He also said that the activists, media and politicians exploiting his brother for their own gains should have done their homework first. Sounds like Graham has a lot more commonsense than his brother.

    It’s quite likely the land has more value if it is not used as farming land. That will be an opportunity for the next owner.

  116. Steven,

    “Graham Spencer describes the land as marginal with limited farming value”

    Yes, the property is forested and Peter would like to cut down the Mountain Ash WHICH HE BOUGHT before the NVA was amended.

    I think you’re having difficulty in understanding what is actually happening. You’re engaging in speculation and character assassination, apparently to support the view that we don’t deserve private property rights or just terms.

    ““He could have cleared when he had the rights. He didn’t. That was his decision. He screwed up.””

    This isn’t slippery slope thinking, this is like jumping off a cliff.

    Do us a favour Steven – please don’t vote.

  117. Steve, even if we agree that he is not much of a businessmen, we still feel that the government shouldn’t be able to zone lands, or interfere in any way with what you do to land that you own. as such, despite his other problems, we want the government out of his life- the family should be able to resolve its’ own problems, perhaps by selling the land.
    To us libertarians, the government seems to be adding to the mess, not solving it.

  118. david, I am simply agreeing with his brother. I’m sure his family know him and his problems better than I do.

    Nuke, Graham has already stated the land will be sold and any extra funds after the $1 million debt is cleared will be given to Peter. Considering Peter has previously been offered in excess of $2 million for the land, he could still come out of this as a debt free millionaire. Problem solved.

    Now as a suggestion for anybody who wants the Australian government out of their life, consider voting with your feet. I believe over 80,000 individuals made that choice in the previous year. Off you go then

  119. Steven,

    You really have no idea, do you?

    Peter Spencer’s property is 12 000 acres. That’s about 4920 hectares.

    You want him to sell out at $406/Ha, whereas having a right to operate forestry on the property (let’s remember that Mountain Ash is a very valuable timber species) would make it go to a comparable value of unworked, unirrigated land at approximately well over $3k per hectare. Irrigated, cleared land in moderate rainfall areas sells for $5k/Ha. His property would be at a rough estimate, closer to this.

    How about you steal $5 million from someone in a business they have bought and managed…and expect to get away with it by quipping that they “are debt free and have $1 mln in the bank”.

  120. Steven, I for one will certainly cast my vote and I will not be voting for Rudd & Co, and I will also be looking at the senate closely, I have stated that before.

    I will not stand by and see this country diminished by obvious global warming alarmists who feel it is okay for a person’s land to be taken from them at the whim of government for a theory that has yet to be proven both scientifically and economically, just to make some egotistical politicians look good on the world stage.

    I still think you have a personal axe to grind but thanks for keeping the thread going, it helps to keep Peter Spencer’s plight in the public eye. Coming out of this with 1 mill instead of the real valuation is not what I call solving the problem. He should be coming our of this with 7mill. BUT THAT AGAIN IS NOT THE ISSUE.

    To everyone else here trying to argue logic, good luck! Steven won’t change his mind, he must be either very young or a labour pollie.

  121. “Now as a suggestion for anybody who wants the Australian government out of their life, consider voting with your feet. I believe over 80,000 individuals made that choice in the previous year. Off you go then”

    The fall back position for every statist, “if you don’t like it [irrespective of how just or right “it” is], sod off.”

  122. Steven,

    I think you should emigrate if you are found to be functionally inummerate.

    Here’s a test – is it fair if the Federal Government weasels it’s way out of just terms by having NSW acquire your home for them in trust and they offer you 2/7 of the value as a “goodwill” guesture?

    The maths part is here: does $100 000 = $350 000?

    RaeBee – the real shame here is that something like an ETS (otherwise very wasteful, not much mitigation at a high cost) would be much more fairer on farmers than the Kyoto terms satsifed by the NVA & their subsequent amendments.

  123. SRL,

    I don’t think we should get into a debate as to which poison we’d prefer. It would be better for everyone if the government left people to run their lives, properties and businesses as they see fit (subject to not interfering in the rights of others).

  124. I did not at any stage suggest what the property will actually sell for. It’s quite likely to attract a higher price than that offered by the government.

    The market will determine the value and Spencer will receive whatever is left after finally being able to pay his debt. As a real world comparision, another property situated between Canberra and Cooma consisting of pasture land and adjacent to two rivers is being offered at $1300 per hectare. Since Spencer’s property does not have a reliable water source it would be worth significantly less.

    Graham Spencer is closer to the situation than anybody here. He seems to be displaying commonsense. I’m happy to agree with him.

  125. “As a real world comparision, another property situated between Canberra and Cooma consisting of pasture land and adjacent to two rivers is being offered at $1300 per hectare. Since Spencer’s property does not have a reliable water source it would be worth significantly less.”

    Which one?

    Nevertheless, the Government wants to give Peter $406/Ha ($166/acre) and you think this is fair?

    You just don’t get this do you? Whatever he gets, it is less than he would have got without the Kyoto quid pro quo amendments to the NVA, which were passed AFTER HE PURCHASED HIS PROPERTY AND HE HAS NEVER BEEN PROPERLY COMPENSATED FOR.

    “Graham Spencer is closer to the situation than anybody here.”

    Besides his brother’s children?

  126. That’s great Steven, keep on spitting out the junk the ALP muckrakers keep on digging up and actually have nothing to do with, or are actually compounded by this man being ripped off in a constitutionally dodgy way by his Government.

  127. It’s quite simple to figure out the relevant value. It’s the sale value of the property with and without the relevant use-rights. No need for government to pluck figures out of their arse.

  128. Thus we see that all the arguments against Peter Spencer fall into one of the following categories:
    1. personal argument – snivelling irrelevance
    2. argument that your freedom and property rights are only whatever is left over after government has taken and done whatever it wants; that government should have unlimited arbitrary power so as to control the entire economy, ecology and climate on account of government’s presumed omniscience, omnipotence and benevolence.

  129. Steven, Good on you, at least there are some around with common-sense. Why should the government help out over and above what they already provide for a failed businessman (centrelink benefits are available if you’re not a millionaire!). Why should the government pay attention to a suicidal maniac. Maris, we do not need this man in the senate, we need him on medication! If all farmers are happy to try and hold a government to ransom like this (and I don’t believe most farmers are), then I’d be happy to get my food from overseas. Peter Spencer’s issues – family, financial, business etc are relevant here, because he put them in the public arena when he climbed up the pole and announced he was on a hunger strike. Supporters, you cannot have it both ways, can’t accept the publicity you like, and not the publicity you don’t like. Peter, come down, get some help, sell the property, get a job you are good at.

  130. Leigh – I cannot make this any simpler:

    He had a viable business plan (be a fine wool producer, if this is unviable, sell the Mountain Ash one day when it matures [you can also sell forestry products in the forward market so even if they aren’t mature now he could still derive an income from them]) but Howard made a quid pro quo to the States to acquire it for the Commonwealth in trust under amendments to the Native Vegetation Act(s)(NVA) (so they could follow the Kyoto treaty without making society at large pay)- after he had purchased the property with the right to the use of the trees – to which NSW never paid him for the loss of value – and to which Steven also points out they have offered to buy him out – which is less than the market price of the property now, after his trees have been put under lock and key.

    Also note if he could fell or sell forward the rights to the Mountain Ash, he could pay off his debts with interest and keep his property.

    NSW is not bound to pay just terms as their just terms are only legislative, made prior to the NVA amendments and thus voidable to the extent of the NVA amendments. This convenient legal loophole does not make this morally right, or legally questionable and perhaps invalid.

    If you want to use hyperbole “ransom”, then what the State of NSW did was theft, orchestrated by the Commonwealth.

    Has anyone stolen $5 million from you Leigh? How would you react?

  131. Thanks for the “simple” information, but I’ve read and heard enough. .No, I haven’t had $5million stolen from me, but seems to be a good financial position to be in, to even have the opportunity for someone to steal that much off me, and hope I have the opportunity to make decisions about that much money one day. He has had his chances they didn’t work out for him, he can’t cope with change, refuses to speak with some people who may be able to assist in some way, and now he has reverted to childhood tantrums. No need for Mr Rudd to visit every Australian who has a tantrum when they are unhappy with government changes, God I’d still be throwing one myself about workplace re-structuring that happened in the 90’s. Sounds like he has not taken all the opportunities afforded to him to source some possible solutions, instead opting for the very epensive and pro-longated legal system, where there are rarely any winners. Now he is a loser up a pole, possibly manipulating and/or being manipulated by his supporters, family, the media and the public by trying (or pretending to) try and kill himself. Do I feel sorry for him – absolutely yes, his circumstances have clearly had a major impact on him, and he cannot see what the solutions may be – sitting on a pole without food for 50 days is unlikely to help him find a solution, or bring one to him. Do people really think Mr Rudd can drop everything and make extra time for every Australian having a tantrum. If it worked, we may all start doing this. Let’s see, what do I want to have a cry about this week??

  132. I always find it kind of funny, but mostly tragic how some people are willing to let other’s rights be violated as long as it doesn’t seem to affect them.

    Leigh, I’d like you to know that should your rights ever be violated, I will defend them with just as much rigor as I would like to defend Peter Spencer’s.

    Not because I like you, you haven’t shown much here worth liking. I’ll do it out of enlightened self interest, because when your rights are violated, mine will eventually follow.

  133. “He has had his chances they didn’t work out for him, he can’t cope with change, refuses to speak with some people who may be able to assist in some way, and now he has reverted to childhood tantrums.”

    This is sickening. Your reaction to the Government making a viable business go bust is that he should have coped with them depriving him of his assets. This is just mind blowingly stupid and fascist. “Shut up and be a good little boy”. BS. The idea that he should take it like a fresh fish in cell block D simply because *you* have never had more than $1000 at any one time is absurd.

    He had his constitutional/human rights violated. I expect not a peep out of you when it happens to anyone else.

    Bugger off you fascist troll.

  134. From Peter Spencer himself:

    Peter Spencer protests

    Since the late 1990s, Peter Spencer has been unable to farm most of his property because of the state’s laws banning the clearing of native vegetation. Since then he’s sought compensation in the courts without success, he can no longer meet his mortgage repayments, and the sheriff is to take his farm and sell it for the bank. In protest two weeks ago Spencer began a hunger strike. Last week he went up onto a platform on a 100-metre wind-monitoring tower high on his farm. He says he will stay there and continue his hunger strike until the federal government gives farmers some sort of compensation.

    “Peter Spencer: To quote Bob Carr’s exact words, and this is a so-called famous man that apparently is an historian in regard to America’s great historical march towards the liberties that we recognise today, so many of which were borrowed for our own constitution, he said these words: ‘We locked up these farms, as did Queensland, and we will not pay them, we stopped them cutting their vegetation, and Howard made a carbon for Kyoto.'”

    “Peter Spencer: Well, we tried to follow due process, didn’t we, and we found the due process a complete waste of time. After 200 appearances, all they would do is move to strike us out. Because we tried in two ways; first of all we tried to get the rights heard about the claim in regard to the loss of our land, then we tried against the rates, because right across Australia because COAG locked up local government as well…not locked them up, they held them as parts of the meeting, they were able to participate…they could not remove that locked up land from their rateable income allocation under A1 agriculture. If they had they would have lost 90% of their rateable income, so they just ignored it, kept charging the rates. So these farmers have been paying the rates the whole time.”

    “”Peter Spencer: If you look at the judgements, they said, ‘We’re so sorry.’ As a matter of fact, one of them…I didn’t even go to the judgement, I just couldn’t be bothered, they just said, ‘Look, we’re so sorry what’s happened to Mr Spencer, but this is political, it’s not judicial.'”

  135. A big wake up call to the mindless support of such oppressive laws and lack of respect for constitutional rights:

    Like Berg says, what happened to Peter Spencer is like the Government telling you that you own your home but can no longer live in the building.

    The only reason why this didn’t get shot down years ago is because the Commonwealth found a loophole – the States could override their just compensation legislation with any subsequent Act of Parliament – whereas the Commonwealth is bound by s 51 xxxi of the Commonwealth Constitution:

    “the acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws”

    How would you feel in the example Chris Berg gives if the Commonwealth “got around this” by making a quid pro quo to the States, like in Peter Spencer’s case?

  136. RaeBee – the real shame here is that something like an ETS (otherwise very wasteful, not much mitigation at a high cost) would be much more fairer on farmers than the Kyoto terms satisfied by the NVA & their subsequent amendments.

    Semi-Regular Lib, hmm, yes I think I could agree with that. The whole thing has been a horrific stuff up for those on the land and without the knowledge of the general population. That’s the scary part. It has to change and this site will definitely help. There must be a fairer way for all of us, those on the land, and in the cities. That’s all we ask for, a fair go for all and to know what the government is doing.

    Perhaps a Pollie Watch could be set up to watch that they are doing. (only joking) Better still open forums when they discuss policies. Watching Question Time is like watching kindergarten at playtime. It’s down right embarrassing.

    To those like Leigh who seem to have a problem managing to talk sensibly about amounts of money in the millions. Billions are in the balance here, not just a few million related to Peter Spencer. Billions of dollars ripped off hard working Australians. Leigh, you and Steven could quite likely be among them in the future.

  137. This is a appalling situation,when all over the country the trees are dying.There are2many,meant to be educated people,fighting over who is better,has the better scientist on their side,grants willy nilly given out,no accountability,acheived nothing,this cancer in our trees,they know what to do but,only very few studied understand the large spread,the process,big picture,know how what is needed,may seem2overwhelming,but2many departments2deal with.Not got rich with money but spirit,aversion to money,a teacher without a degree,not many at all actually done handson as I started,seeing, living the big picture,2get the job in place but2get anything done impossible.I done hands on but when you have done as I withoutUNIdegree piece of paper at the end,a subject that you never stop thinking about,keep learning, to get the job started right,it can’t be money,borders, Councils2do the job right,you can make money,work with community,Councils volunteers,but you do need money to get it started.Most these departments are sheep,or egos,2get past,the truth,nature can not wait,ridiculous north can not see that nature continues to trash them like never before,open up the dams i been saying for years,people thought I was crazy,didn’t understand me.I travelled seen worked lived handson all over this country,can not put a price on knowledge,or find in a classroom,the country is dying at terrible rate,most are confused what to do,where how2start,it’s simple but tough to get it started,but with out water down south the country is in deeper than they care to understand at present,it is about a process,that should have started7years back,may seem overwhelming.For me,the shock was2many departments,states,borders,to get the right message across,the govt.offered grant but,but far2many,many departments,made up by millions offered by theLiberals,2007-2009? 2get past the bullshit,2get it right and done,can not buy certain knowledge,having lived all over this country,knowing so few have or get the opportune,other than backpackers,is so frustrating for yrs.this passion education geographically seeing working living,watching politic games,erking,cringing,dangerous. Knowledge is contempt.These people we have in place, actually,as long they don’t know what they are doing,will keep making suchGod damn mess of this nation.Taking a mans plot to save the country for the worlds climate change,is just ridiculous,interferences by multi-nationals who saw our water,decided to grow cotton,on sheep country.Many Aussies be disgusted the land stripped for cotton,and timberindustry,then down all the way south,grapes the Coorong even Berri once our fruit veg bowl,gone,disgrace, every which way,the beauty that once was Hindmarsh Island across to Gambier,planned started destroyed by damns and the bridge,and the damn cotton is when our climate changed,started2really change,our nature precious,the wetlands if only the country sustain south,without doing so the troubles just beginning,the basin of fresh water drying up4grapes,the Wolfblass’s and similar saw grapes,not what he had,the rest of the Country don’t understand or get the opportuntiy to see know what I know,always so much more2see learn.That our birds dying at terrible rate,even politician who shake hands with who, stripped,dams up,drained of water,dead dying trees all over,is devastating,to see.This man standing up prepared to die,maybe die to makeAussies wakeup,Copenhagen a front2distract,instead fauna flora of this nation first,law expectation desires for our nation,B4trying to save the world,who been making such a mess of their country’s,America,Amazon,Africa,Asia,why aren’t politicians of the world saying toPalmOil stop look what you are doing,enough in this world for everyones need’s,not their greed,but do you have to have a science degree to know the truth.There were no known courses when i got caught up into this thing called iradication regeneration of saving our dying trees 30yrs.back.By a science project,near my home,from there hopeless passion being spectator,not from the mainstream,then being female gets in the way,I have to be accountable2who,studied travelling this country living all over watching politics,doesn’t matter what political persuasion,to be a leader is2have passion of your country,land,and it’s people,it’s in your hands,but when you constantly away,throwing up borders as excuses,then pick on the vulnerable,how the hell do you learn what the hell is really going on.It ills me what is going on nationally,what this man is going through,prepared to die, I can not be anymore angry thanPeter2know how this country is going down faster than city people can understand or really care.It is vast,spectacular,dangerous,expensive 2see what is really going on.Wake up,enough is enough,largestIsland in the world but notRepublic,equal law agenda first,Howard menB4him,ruled talked by who, pushed byCommonwealth,so who is protecting ruling caring about our beat.Believe PeterSpencer is prepared to die to wake the rest of Aust.So hope he doesn’t die.For me,understand,with the passion,seeing, knowing,talking,learning about this country,stopping this cancer opened my eyes what it is about,what to do,it imitates the host trees.Taking this man’s land to save the world,it’s a joke,wish it was,shame on all pollies,it’s his land,for sure we need to slow down felling all over this country,the world,start giving back what we have stripped,every farmer should give back a paddock for the purpose of regeneration,but2talk to farmers,but instead take land with no compensation,because it’s to give back to the worlds climate change ridiculous,pathetic,what has he left,this foreclosure over him,his land,family,they grow move on down the road,but long days lonely nights,it can be for a farmer2having everything you acheived stripped away from you.The way they have allowed,stripped the trees from Sale2Sydney and up northward what is left cancered,takes a good eye,it is appalling,but most drive along see what the government want us2see,but fly5mins.across,Aussies would be appalled.The Grampians need prof.regeneration before all gone,aroundPt.Augusta,Hay Plains,the areas should be handled by experts,not by the many councils borders, departments,no good having parks when the trees dying dead,everywhere,betweenMelbourne2Wagga is sad,I hate going country because frustrated,money and education means jack,externally they look alive,just neglecting the process needed,unfortunately,it maybe too late,seems2take a man dying to protest how ridiculous our agendas are,what’s done to this land,the way thay just taking his land,so in20years time the theives,political party,banks can do whatever later,laws written by lawyers constantly changes day by day by lawyers to benefit lawyers.Let this man alone,give him his rights back,change farming pratices is needed,constant,we lost our dairies cheese most ridiculous price,government taken or given away all that what they doing towe had and this man his dilemma it is happening everywhere over the land2farmers,this country,many farmers in despair by the arrogance of city folk,the2many departments,sold off our supermarkets into the hands of the greedy,many have suicided by what govt.banks doing,the way they are taking from him as what they are doing to theMurrayMouth is so preposterous distressing.His trees is such a farce reason,the trees and natives species can come alive if there was the right person people out there,open dams till the lakes are full back to times before interferences,damming,start again,it’s nature against man,nature can’t wait while we neglect forget what and how much in so few years we destroyed this nation,asGod said,he first made idiots.I feel saddened,disgusted thatRudd more interested while in the country talking to cricketers,than this man and the farmers,disgusted that he so complacent,couldn’t give a damn about this cause,for centuries it always rained most up north but now,they beleive it is theirs,because of borders,to hold and owne,while the major artery dammed dire because stupidity.Rudd don’t care,infact doesn’t understand it,how could an office boy understand land,or when too busy in planes off to faraway places,or2busy at cricket or writing kiddies books,all is a sick joke.The situation withPeter is serious this man is serious,his plight real,this nation leaders should be so ashamed,as a whole,Rudd too busy sweeping his hair off his face trying to look pretty for the media,thinks he some kind of rockstar than trying to be a leader,than trying to be what he suppose to be,represent,grit,he has none,meaning strength or courage.I want Peter down and the government stop being full of the glib,so disloyal, insincere,sinceDavid Coombe was stabbed in the back,it has driven this Nation backwards to almost nothing,since all we had destroyed by people prepared to talk but not walk find out how the place ticks and really about.

  138. Anyway, I have heard Peter has arranged to come down tomorrow on Day 50. His supporter have arranged for Alan Jones and his radio program to be broadcast from Peters’ property, so that he can get lots of publicity as he comes down. Let’s hope they all enjoy their 15 minutes + of fame. Let’s give him a clap, a hankie, then hope he can start behaving like a normal citizen.

  139. Leigh – you sanctimonious twit – how would you react if the Government stole a lazy $5 million from you?

    What’s in it for you, attacking this man?

    Have you got something to gain by spinning this for Rudd?

    Maybe it’s just jealousy, seeing that you’ve admitted you never expect to accumulate very much wealth yourself.

    What a base, vulgar and uncivilised rationale for undying obedience to your elected representatives.


    Being more legible and not having throwaway BS references to “greedy banks” would make your speil more credible and less like a rant.

  140. Just realised that the dates when millions were offered out for grants for enviromental,wrote wrong was1997-1999roughly,trying to sleep but the heat,turn power off awhile,thinking over,shock i actually wrote sent an opinion,thoughts,then realised the dates wrong.
    Just reading SemiRegular,I being one not into this cyborg world,for sure it may seem,accept what one may think,years of watching,knowing,the frustrations,theBSof govt.past,present,selling this country short for so long,since the computer,suppose to keep us ahead informed,instead sinking feeling,for me held in vent out.The issues for this country run deep,what I know,seen.This man loosing what he has so worked hard for,my age,instead people too easily have given up for too long,too many left stunned,angry, upset,back against a wall because who really gives a damn,who is keeping law order,peace power and they steal all our money.This man and others caught up in beaurocratic bungling every which way you turn,for me travelled independantly,not expected of a female,what really is going to happen next the possiblities keep out of mind for now.

  141. Leigh is a Green Rudd Bug.

    Imagine not wanting to better your yourself in this country. I don’t understand that. You are right about one thing Leigh, not everyone expects or wants a lot of money, but most people want to at least be able to keep up a reasonable lifestyle without worrying about having their home or land taken by government bureaucrats without fair compensation. It is not rocket science. And if it means staying up a pole to get media attention when other avenues have been exhausted, then so be it. Good on Peter, now we all know a lot of things we knew nothing of 50 days ago. I thank him for that. I wish he would come down but it is said on the news that he will be put off his land when he does.

  142. More:

    *On Tuesday I visited Peter Spencer, 10 metres up a wind monitoring mast on his property in the high country south of Canberra. Spencer lives there these days, inside a tent on a small platform. State laws restricting the clearing of native vegetation have helped make his land unviable. Some years ago he was unable to meet his mortgage repayments and his sister and brother-in-law took over the debt from the bank. Spencer has been unable to repay them, and soon the sheriff will be arriving to arrange for a forced sale of the property. There are important political issues here, but it is also a family tragedy, and a personal one.

    Spencer has talked a lot in recent weeks about climate change and carbon sinks, but the root of his problem with government lies in the native vegetation laws that have prevented him from clearing – and farming – much of his land. In 2004 the Productivity Commission produced a report on the impact of the laws. It recorded how many farmers had lost income, their property had been devalued, and they had received very little or no compensation, and said the worst affected “often suffered serious personal stress in the face of the resultant marginal viability, or even loss, of their property”.

    The effect on Spencer has been greater than on most, because of his unique personal circumstances. He’s now 61, but in his younger days worked in the hotel and tourism industry in Papua New Guinea. Apparently he was successful there, and ended up owning some hotels. He sometimes stopped fights between tribesmen and at one point had his nose pierced so he could wear a bone through it on festive occasions. (You can still see light though the hole if you catch him in profile.) ABC television made a documentary on him in the 1980s.

    Spencer’s long-term dream was to return to NSW and become a farmer in the high country, where his mother’s people had lived for generations. From 1980 he began buying adjacent blocks of land as they came up for sale at Shannons Flat, just south of the Australian Capital Territory. It took him about 15 years to put together a holding that was big enough, and to build a house. He finally had a farm of 5600 hectares, of which 60 per cent was cleared. It was his intention to keep the other 40 per cent uncleared, and to log its alpine ash and mountain gum in a sustainable manner.

    During this period he was still working in Papua New Guinea, so he did little farming, and vegetation grew on much of the cleared land at Shannons Flat. In the mid-’90s he was hired by the office of the PNG prime minister, and wrote a paper on corruption and law and order that didn’t make him many friends. He says one night some men knocked on the door of his home, dragged him outside and tried to shoot him with a homemade gun. It misfired and Spencer escaped in the dark. Shortly after, he hopped on a plane and hasn’t been back. He settled at Shannons Flat, with the intention of spending the rest of his life as a farmer.

    A pressing task was to clear the saplings that had grown over much of the previously cleared land on his property, but with the clearing bans he discovered his farm had been turned into a vast nature reserve. He ran sheep on the small proportion that was still cleared, but was unable to make a living. Land clearing was not his only problem. His farm was not good grazing country on the whole, and like many farmers he was affected by the drought and by low wool prices. Opinions differ as to how important these various factors were to his financial failure. Some of his family believe he was undercapitalised and not a good farmer. A rural counsellor who tried to help him says much of the blame lies with the land-clearing regulations.

    Spencer could have walked off his farm, but he was too attached to it to do this. He protested for years about what had been done to him. This included complaints to politicians, unsuccessful efforts to motivate the NSW Farmers Association, and many court cases, where he often represented himself. A passionate and intelligent man, although without much formal education, he spent a lot of his time learning about the law. After a while his third wife, Anna, left the farm and took their young sons to Europe to live with her parents.

    Meanwhile his sister and brother-in-law were looking to recover the debt he owed them. They felt he was turning to political argument and legal action when he should have been more concerned about repaying them. Maybe government had hurt him, but that was life: it was time to sell up and move on.

    Spencer’s legal actions failed. One of them involved a government offer, made many years after the land clearing restrictions came in, to buy the farm. The price was based on the property’s present value, but Spencer argued it ought to be the value had the land clearing bans not been in place.

    In 2008 Justice Stephen Rothman in the Supreme Court rejected this claim, but expressed some sympathy for Spencer’s situation. He noted: “The State Vegetation Acts had a crippling effect … on the business of Mr Spencer … it is an extremely disheartening and sad occasion that a person, whose life and resources have been placed into rural property for the purposes of conducting a grazing and farming business, has been required to resort to this action.” He further observed: “While all members of society must accept that there will be restrictions on their activities for the ‘greater good of society’, when those restrictions prevent or prohibit a business activity that was hitherto legitimate, because of the area in which it is operating, and assistance is offered which does not fully compensate for the restrictions imposed, society is asking Mr Spencer, and people in his position, to pay for its benefit … it is a most unfortunate aspect of the operation of the scheme that a person in Mr Spencer’s position is effectively denied proper compensation for the restrictions imposed upon him by a scheme implemented for the public good.” However, he concluded, “that is a matter for government [not the courts]”.

    Peter Spencer is a complicated and volatile character. Most of us would regard going on a hunger strike as extreme, and he has shown a propensity for self-harm in the past. There was an occasion about 1970 when he went up a hill in Canberra and shot himself, as part of an effort to get attention during a dispute with his first wife.

    Some of those who deal with him have described him as obsessive, and this is certainly my limited experience. I stayed in touch with him after writing a column on land clearing five years ago, and on one occasion when I wasn’t displaying enough sympathy he hung up and didn’t speak to me for a year. He can be a thoughtful and articulate human being who draws on a considerable experience of life, but he is also a righteous man given to monologues and high emotion.

    Spencer’s siblings are upset about what has happened, and believe politics has clouded what is essentially a family dispute over a loan. This is understandable, yet there is a genuine political issue here. The land clearing bans have played a big role in what has happened to him.

    Spencer has now been without food for 48 days. He spends the time listening to animals and reading the Bible. On Thursday night he said he was losing strength and would give no more interviews.

    How should politicians respond to the action he has taken? They should not change laws because of a hunger strike. But it might give them pause to reflect on those laws. Others are already doing this: in the past week there has been a lot of media coverage here and some overseas, and much discussion on the internet. In a poll on Today Tonight, 14,000 people (98 per cent of those who voted) wanted Kevin Rudd to meet with Peter Spencer.

    This level of response is a reminder of the moral ambiguity of a hunger strike. On the one hand it allows people to question the mental health of the person engaged in the strike. On the other, it can attract attention to an important injustice: if Spencer hadn’t embarked on this action, no one today would be talking about land clearing. His action has been effective precisely because it is unusual, and unusual things tend to be done by unusual people.

    Mr Rudd has been much praised for making public apologies to Aboriginal people and to those who suffered as children in state care. These apologies are welcome, but in a historical sense they are (as I’m sure he would agree) regrettably late. With farmers and land clearing, we could say sorry while there’s still time to do something about the suffering that’s been caused.

    But if anyone’s going to say sorry, it ought to be the Premier of NSW. After all, it was the State Government that brought in the native vegetation laws.*

  143. “that is a matter for government [not the courts]“

    Then could someone please explain to me what the hell the courts are for if not to enforce the constitution?

  144. Peter owned the farm form 30 years. For whatever reasons (which may or may not have been his fault) he didn’t farm it adequately. Now he is losing everything. Native Vegetation laws may have played a role, but given where he was farming and what he was trying to do (sheep on such poor land) it is highly unlikely that laws were entirely to blame. I agree with Peter that farmers do deserve compensation. I don’t agree that these laws are the ONLY reason for his bankruptcy. I think his family is right. There are many people who would want Peter to prolong his hunger strike for as long as possible, as this clearly brings more attention to his ’cause’. Surely this also puts pressure on Peter: if he wants to come down, will some supporters think it is too early?? I really don’t understand why people would encourage him to be there. How about they get up and join him instead. It seems to me that he does the hard work while supporters may ultimately benefit. That is also my take on the family letter.

  145. To me the aim of the family letter was to tell those with vested interests to start thinking about Peters health. To stop using him. Clearly they also think more than just Native Veg matters impacted on the farm. They do state that they support Peters fight for due compensation to farmers. I don’t know if it was a good move by them or not to write the letter. They seem very worried about people using Peter. Anyway that’s my take.

  146. Every single Australian has a vested interest in Peter’s plight.

    If the Commonwealth can simply acquire land by a constructive trust through the States and a quid pro quo, on top of the expansion of the corporations, external affairs powers and weakened Federal structure, the constitution, and the rights from it are virtually extinguished. The damage to civil rights and the economy that could occur is devastating to our way of life.

    I hope he comes down too. The IRA guys started passing away after 47 days.

    His business plans are irrelevant – your rights are inalienable from the constitution, regardless of your status. That said – while he might walk away from an NSW Govt. offer with debts paid and a comfortable bank balance, he is still getting ripped off.

    Taking what’s someone else and not compensating them justly is still wrong. A legal loophole or jealously does not ever change morality or moral obligation.

    If Rudd undid Howard’s damage, the ALP would be bloody unbeatable – picking up rural areas.

    Take the opportunity, Mr Rudd.

  147. Yes, undoubtedly the State Government are the ones who should apologise, they compounded the situation by keeping the compensation money that was apparently provided by the federal government of the day, so Peter Abbott claims. But of course he would claim that I suppose. It’s the same old blame game.

    And that does not get Rudd off the hook while he continues to look the other way at the plight of farmers and continues to push an ETS against the wishes of the people now they know what the thing is all about – in a word ‘TAX’. Please explain Mr. Rudd, give us the perceived benefits otherwise it could be considered just a slush fund as his opponent is claiming.

    Please, please Peter come done, it is too bloody hot to be stuck up a bloody pole down there in your state. You will definitely achieve more now, you can’t do that dead mate.

  148. I’ve done some legal research and I am rather surprised this has been held up in court.

    I’ve been looking at George William’s book on human rights and the constitution. Deane J (later GG Sir Bill) said that denial of use wasn’t an acquisition per se, except if a benefit flowed to Government from the denial. Cases in the 1940s also said that the States acquiring property by agreement for the Commonwealth constituted Commonwealth acquisition, due to the obvious loophole and possible abuses.

    It seems like farmers are due compensation.

    More tomorrow.

  149. Semi Regular Lib, your story on Peter reads like an idea for a contraversial movie if it wasn’t so serious and a life was not hanging in the balance. Volatile family members are not new to me, I have a close one that could almost be the person you described as Peter Spencer. They are good people but are not able to take a backward step. Where to from here?

    The Farmers Association seem to have a bit to answer for as well. Where have they been?

  150. I have never read this site until tonight but really feel this Steven has a big problem. I would like to see this happen to him and see if he likes it. We don’t need Australians with his point of blind view. He has no compassion and is obviously a Rudd lover.

  151. Yes Elizabth, I agree on both points.
    This all needs to be involving of the wider community now. As it appears that it has got bogged down to just Peter (with respect).
    Now the rural sector, next the city dwelers.

    Think and google a few of the following

    *bunkers being built in canberra (also Norway and many other countries)
    *ETS tax
    *Brigalow corporation qld
    *porn filtering (good thing maybe) but think about it
    email filterin as to blogs and this type of forum
    Network Broadband Network, complete control over ALL emails into and out of australia, freedom of speech stopped via internet filtering
    THINK Australia!!!!

  152. Noel, I looked at the Fabian site and it looks to be all Labor members. I agree with your blog and feel we should ALL be more vigilant of what the Rudd government is doing. I did not vote for them but I am forced to put up with the antics of K Rudd and his merry followers.

  153. Hi Elizabeth,

    Sounds like you’ll be a valuable, free thinking contributor to this site. I find it very refreshing to come over here and get involved in high quality debate and to be among people who value freedom, particularly from the state, as highly as I do. State interference in our lives went too far a long time ago, sites like this are where the fightback begins.

  154. Elizabeth,
    Actually I have been informed that it is not only labor pollies and heads of important places are fabian. This could be why Abbot and the NFA have not reared their heads since before Christmas. However the greater part are labor and labor merrymen officials in selected places. (maybe courts and prosecutions etc)
    I am in telecommuncations and have been looking forward to the NBN. But now, considring the damage the internet (and talk back radio) did to the ETS tax last year, I would expect the NBN to be more a filtering for the masses (think, the pending porno filtering experiment). All will go through the NBN medium under the present plan (movies, cable news, email and etc etc) This is despite who you choose as your provider. As it will at a point all go through a government owned pipe, NBN access.
    We are at the point of Chinese style censorship, but we can stop it if enough band together.

  155. Ah Noel, You have just hit the nail on the head. We can stop it IF enough band together but we are in the state we are in because most people agree in their thoughts but do not want to get involved, which banding together means everyone must do. We are heading for a communist country and no-one is prepared to stop it, least of all our high paid, lily livered pollies. I have no doubt that the next election will see most voters remembering the Rudd pay out of $900 and they will forget what is happening to the farmers of Australia. Good men like Peter Spencer should not have to sit up a tree for 51 days being ignored whilst K Rudd is swanning around enjoying himself and ignoring the plight of this courageous man who is fighting for the rights of all farmers not just himself. Rudd should be very ashamed of himself and all who voted for him should hang their heads in shame.

  156. Elizabeth, I am a businessman, but while supplying jobs to many employees, I did not get any stimulous payment. But all the bottom dwellers who will never be doing anything constructive to help pay it back did. I am happy for the pensioners unemployed looking for jobs and industrious parents and students who got their 900 bucks but a lot of bottom do nothing dwellers did, and they of course will remember and revote for Rudd. By the way I voted for Rudd but like many others got something quite different to exectation. I wish that their was a Peter Spencer before the last election to make me think and research as I have now, (hopefully not to late). I know by these forums, I am not on my own.

  157. Hi Docbud,
    I agree with your sentiments. Keep up the free thinking thoughts. Unfortunatly we all should have become involved a long time ago before our beautiful country was allowed to deteriate to such a mess. I fear for the future of our young.

  158. RaeBee, Just to clarify that I am not a green Rudd Bug, I am actually a conservative, and did not vote for Rudd. However, I don’t want our Prime Minister to be reactive, and drop everything everytime one of us has a spit! I hope everyone improves themselves, in their own way, and happy for Peter Spencer to improve himself, but not by gaining some multi=million pay-out he most likely doesn’t deserve because he didn’t manage the business he was supposed to be operating. Anyway, he has said he won’t come down till Rudd sees him, so I’ll guess he’ll just drop from the pole soon. It amazes me that Peters’ so called supporters and friends are encouraging him to kill himself by starving on a pole. Where were you all before this drama unfolded? Had you ever written to your local members, government, media etc on this issue before? For most of them, I bet the answer is no, and most are just riding on the hard work and starvation of Peter Spencer, who is clearly nuts! Nice work, getting the crazy man to do all their hard work for you!

  159. Noel, I knew of K Rudd first hand by working for pollies in Qld 20years ago so was appalled when he was handed the opposition leadership. I told everyone who would listen what type of man he was but most people was taken in by his choir boy looks and smooth tongue. I forecasted what would happen and was sad to be proved right. I cannot believe how many voters do not research before they vote for a smooth talking, lip licking choir boy. Unfortunatly in life most people have to find out for themselves and don’t listen to anyone who is trying to save the country from ruin. I pray for Peter and hate to see him suffering to make a point. Whilst I would love for him to come down I can well understand how he feels. God bless you Peter.

  160. Leigh, I would not even bother commenting on the words of someone who thinks as you do. Peter is not nuts, it is the people of Australia who voted for Rudd who are all nuts.

  161. I guess, Elizabeth is correct in her statement on the way people vote but dont think. I thought I was a thinking person but this time like many others got caught out. Let us all now do something about it,, think before vote.
    Remember, if we do nothing now, we will have “filtering” via the NBN as the porno filtering is only a test run and the NBN gives Rudd complete control no matter who your supplier is.
    Foot note, Obama is preparing a legislation to basically shut up the talk back radio in the states, so I see Rudd doing the same along with his filtering.

  162. The Fabian Society is a particularly interesting study. Its coat of arms is a wolf in sheep’s clothing which illustrates its avowed aim of achieving Marxism through gradualism, achieving socialist goals at various levels of society without other people realising it and thus avoiding confrontation with those opposed to Marxist ideology. One of Marx’s daughters, Eleanor, was an early member, as was Clement Attlee, the post-war Labour PM who introduced the welfare state and widescale nationalism to the UK. It was a Fabian Society motion that led to the creation of the UK Labour Party.

    The modern Fabian Society may have softened its hard line socialist beliefs and added a few environmental ones, but its vision for society is still one of social control by an intellectual elite. It is at the very heart of the current UK Labour government which has been responsible for many retrograde steps with regard to individual liberty and plans many more, including the introduction of ID cards.

  163. “I am actually a conservative, and did not vote for Rudd. ”

    Care to defend Howard’s underhanded deal with the Labour Premiers at the time?

    What kind of conservative are you? The one that cares about farmers, the one that cares about the constitution, the one that agrees with the Liberal party credo or the worst type that expects unquestioning obedience and order to authority figures?

    “happy for Peter Spencer to improve himself, but not by gaining some multi=million pay-out he most likely doesn’t deserve because he didn’t manage the business he was supposed to be operating.”

    Peter Spencer’s financial situation may have pushed him to take action. Three things.

    1. If he had not lost the rights and was able to fell the valuable Mountain Ash, he would have made more money than he ever would have being a wool producer and/or selling the property.

    2. Your constitutional rights/Government’s moral/legal obligations do not change variant on your success as a business operator.

    3. Please refute William’s notes on just terms I referenced before – how does Peter Spencer “not deserve” such compensation.

    “It amazes me that Peters’ so called supporters and friends are encouraging him to kill himself by starving on a pole. ”

    You are full of shit. I said earlier I wish he would get down, if it is not worth killing yourself over John Howard and Kevin Rudd.

    Get that – you are a despicable bullshit artist. What is your agenda?

    “I bet the answer is no, and most are just riding on the hard work and starvation of Peter Spencer, who is clearly nuts!”

    Actually the only crazy person in all of this is that suck-hole, Bill Heffernan. The farmers rallying in Canberra told him what a jerk he was – a total lick spittle for Howard who set up this monumental land grab.

  164. DocBud, Thanks you for this very informative blog on the Fabian Society. I did not know much about it but am very interested in what you have to say. You sound very informative. Thanks. I can well believe all you say about the future plans.

  165. Semi Regular Libertarian,
    I too am a conservative voter but have to agree with a lot of what you have just written. It is getting harder and harder to seperate the two main parties. The trouble is that the pollies can say what they want when they are running for office but there is no accountability once they are in. They should be made to resign when they do not keep to the promises made within 2 years of taking office. There is a lot of change needed but because both sides cover their back sides we cannot get change. I hope this site makes a lot of readers think very carefully before the next Federal election even if it means voting for the independents. I believe preferences should be scrapped.

  166. I can’t say I like first past the post, but there are a lot of other alternatives that don’t used preferences(instant run-off voting) the way we do. The law surrounding preferences is interesting. NSW has optional preferential, but telling people to split preferences is illegal. I don’t know wether it is State or Federal law, but in either NSW or Federal elections, you can omit the last preference (so I have been told).

    I think we should have term limits and recall/initiative referenda. I would limit the initiative to striking down bad laws, not making law. Elected judges or renewable tenures for the judiciary may be a good idea.

    My advice to you is to push the ideas of free enterprise and civil rights wherever you go. If you want to join the Liberals or the Nationals, join their libertarian wing (if it exists). Set it up if you must.

    If you don’t feel right in those parties, there are some small libertarian parties in Australia. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is the largest, and many ALS members belong to it. However, they are not one in the same. There is also the smaller Liberty Australia, who haven’t launched yet. The LDP is more “moderate” and the LA is more “purist”.

    If nothing makes you happy, then I would say put sitting members last, no matter what.

  167. Libertarians are difficult to pigeon hole in terms of conventional left/right politics, Elizabeth. Typically we support free market economics with minimal or no state intervention. That clearly puts us at odds with those on the left who believe in a heavily regulated or state run economy. However, we also typically believe in natural rights which include freedom of speech, freedom of association and the presumption of innocence. This often puts us at odds with authoritarian conservatives. I have been accused of being a fascist (for believing that labour negotiations should be assumed to be between adults) and being a commie (for defending the rights of alleged prisoners and the rights of people with whom I disagree to offend me). Certainly no main stream party policies are derived on the basis of our beliefs, it is more a case of the lesser of two evils.

    If you hang around, you’ll find that we do not always agree as to what constitutes being a libertarian. Usually, we all agree that we want to be left alone to lead our lives free of government interference, the disagreements are generally to do with what, if any, are the appropriate roles for governments. The discussions are often fascinating.

  168. DocBud and Semi Regular Libertarian, Many thanks for all the information, I will try to digest it and will keep reading this column. I also look forward to Noels input. Great reading and let us all pray that Peter stays with us and comes down soon. He believes there is nothing for him to come down for but I know from experience that life comes good when we least expect it. Hang on Peter and please come down soon.

  169. I am crying as I write this as I am listening to Peter on 2GB saying he is coming down!!

    I want to go to Canberra to see Peter sitting in the front row on the first day of Parliament SO if anyone wants to make the jouney with me I would be thrilled to have Peters supporters with me.

    Peter is a great man and I admire a man that is not too proud to cry.

    God bless you Peter – I don’t know you but I love and admire you.

  170. What? DO something?? I’m just a ‘umble commentor, and Canbra is so far away!
    Does this coming down, if it happens, mean that the Govmint has won?

  171. That said, Peter Spencer did this for everyone else and still gets gypped.

    It is simply not a good outcome that farmers get used so that Australia can abide by an international agreement with little net benefit. It sucks that he has copped a great financial loss due to State-Commonwealth chicanery.

    I hope that he gets a comfortable retirement and any other farmer out there has there property rights restored soon.

  172. Good on ya Semi Regular Libertarian.
    I agree with your comments but we can only admire what he put himself through and pray he gets a decent outcome for himself and all farmers. Anyone who would like to back farmers should order their Milk, Bread and all meat, Fish and vegies from Australian Farmers Direct. They deliver free for any order over $5 and everything is fresh and good and we are backing the Australian farmers. You do not pay until the week after delivery so you see how good the produce is before payment.
    Nuke Gray, You are not funny so maybe you should go to another site that is not interested in backing the good farmers of Australia. People like you, Steven and Leigh make me ashamed to be Australian.

  173. Elizabeth,
    You need to lighten up, if possible. You are wrong about me not being funny. I am not very funny, but I do make some people laugh some of the time. If you had read some earlier comments on this same subject, you would have read me supporting the rights of property-owners to do what they want with their lands, and not have the government come in and dictate to them what to do. In fact, I suggested elsewhere that we should take the name of the family in the movie “The Castle”, and start up a Kerrigan-ism party, to fight for the right of land owners to keep their lands. So you are wrong to bundle me and Steven and Leigh together.

  174. Specifically, you could read my earlier comments at #74, #88, #96, #100, #107, and #136, where I support the rights of land-owners, and disparage the powers of governments.

  175. Nice advertisement Elizabeth. I’m all in favour of supporting good farmers but as Graham Spencer said, Peter is not a good representative for them. As a farmer, he wasted he greatest asset by not utilising his land. Hopefully the next owner will make better use of it. As far as I am aware, it’s not a crime to have a different opinion, even if some are are lambasted by a few noise makers.

  176. Nuke, I only discovered the site last night so I have not read all of it, just parts and your name I have not seen before today SO I will apolagise for bundling you with Steven and Leigh but I got the impression that you did not take what Peter is doing seriously. I am woman enough to apolagise if I am wrong.

    I hope Peter’s fight is not in vain and that farmers and supporters all over Australia will let the government know how we all feel about the rights of land owners to keep their land and do what they like with it.

    I was just googling Peter Spencer’s name last night to see how he was going OK health wise and found this site which I think is great for people to air their veiws, even those who do not agree with me BUT I get very uptight at the ones who cannot see the injustice served on Peter and our farmers. I think there is another agenda coming from the ones who pretend not to see the injustice.

    Once again, I am sorry I misunderstood your intentions.

  177. Yes, Nuke, When I get time this evening I will read your comments. Thank you for giving me the numbers.

  178. I hope Peter is there on the first day of parliament and I hope he is the elephant in the house. He has done a lot to raise the profile of this issue although a lot of commentators in the media still seem to completely miss the point about just compensation and the constitution being circumvented. I hope Peter can find a safer way to promote his message.

  179. Peter Spencer used to own and run several hotels in Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea in the 1970’s. While there, he produced a massive, impressive and ambitious project to build infrastructure – breweries, mines, schools, towns…the lot. He drew up detailed and thorough feasibility documents and obtained many high powered and influential signatories. The scheme was a folly. A pipe dream that was motivated by, in my opinion, a desire to be the architect of a utopian society. What Peter Spencer has always failed to realise, is that signatories to a utopian world often need to be rewarded. That idealists and dreamers like himself are prey to opportunistic men with nothing but greed and wealth in mind.
    He is being used by politicians and other self-interested characters to drive an agenda.

  180. I agree glazed ham, he has many issues to do with poor judgement, which may or may not be related to his psychological health. And, all these so called supporters and friends have used him big time to fight their battles for them, instead of them planning a significant united battle against those they believe to be either responsible, or those that have the ability to change the law. Peter Spencer has created the opportunity for them now that this issue has received so much media attention. However, my hope is that they do not continue to do this at the expense of Peter Spencers’ health. Make sure the effort is shared by all who feel strongly about this and are willing to fight.
    I don’t feel strongly about this issue because even after reading numerous articles, I am still not as convinced as some are that Peter Spencer has not significantly contributed to being in this situation by poor decisions. However, that is my opinion, and many obviously do disagree with me. I don’t understand why people on these sites get so angry though when someone forms a different opinion than they have. Surely that is what makes a successful community, having individuals that can see issues from a different perspective, contribute with new ideas etc? Just a thought

  181. Ham, Leigh,

    Please point out in the constitution where your rights are abrogated if you are utopian, have character flaws etc.

    “That idealists and dreamers like himself are prey to opportunistic men with nothing but greed and wealth in mind.
    He is being used by politicians and other self-interested characters to drive an agenda.”

    It is ironic that you say this, given that the Commonwealth acquired his $7 million dollar property for what averages out to be close to zero, by thuggery under the force of law and political chicanery. The State of NSW then offered $2 million for the remaining $2.7 million. I have nothing to gain financially by backing his plight. Every single Australian benefits from his cause – secure property rights.

    What is your agenda, Ham? Have you got anything to gain by others not having secure property rights?

    “However, my hope is that they do not continue to do this at the expense of Peter Spencers’ health.”

    Idiot. He came down the pole. This is just bullshit. He is of a sound mind and has been so in earlier interviews. He is not being “controlled” by anyone and wants the support.

    “I don’t understand why people on these sites get so angry though when someone forms a different opinion than they have.”

    Because you think it is okay for the Government to confiscate property extra-constitutionally. That just won’t fly on a libertarian site. Because you bring up irrelevant personal shit. Because you engage in character assassination. Because you have no psychiatric credentials and slander someone as “crazy” because they are not an obedient authority worshipper like you are. Because you have an agenda.

    “Surely that is what makes a successful community, having individuals that can see issues from a different perspective, contribute with new ideas etc?”

    A successful community needs the rule of law, which the Commonwealth and States choose to ignore.

    You’re obsessed with “community” and people “acting as they should”. It is pretty clear you have an agenda to slur Peter Spencer and his supporters to prop up these unjust laws, but also that we do as we are told to abide by the Howard/Heffernan supported Kyoto treaty, an agreement that does very little for a very high cost – not worth the paper it is written on.

    “I hope Peter is there on the first day of parliament and I hope he is the elephant in the house. He has done a lot to raise the profile of this issue although a lot of commentators in the media still seem to completely miss the point about just compensation and the constitution being circumvented. I hope Peter can find a safer way to promote his message.”

    Right on, Terje.

    “Nice advertisement Elizabeth. I’m all in favour of supporting good farmers but as Graham Spencer said, Peter is not a good representative for them. As a farmer, he wasted he greatest asset by not utilising his land. Hopefully the next owner will make better use of it. As far as I am aware, it’s not a crime to have a different opinion, even if some are are lambasted by a few noise makers.

    Comment by Steven | January 13, 2010 ”

    You are a bloody idiot Stephen Cousley.

    It has been explained to you ad nauseum that the land was to be used in FORESTRY, then the land was locked up by the NVA amendments. The marginal land he had left was insufficient for fine wool, and he could no longer clear the land. He had financial problems, which may have never of existed if he was legally allowed to fell his trees WHICH HE PAID FOR IN FULL. Nevertheless, not clearing and tilling the land doesn’t remove your claims to property rights. The Government acquired his greatest income earning asset and most valuable part of his land without ever paying him a cent and then offered a new, post NVA price, which was still lower than the current, post NVA market price.

    While Leigh has a sickening authoritarian tendency, you are simply too dumb to contribute any further.

    The issue isn’t wether you think he would have been better off by destroying his income earning capacity before the Government did by clear-felling his immature Mountain Ash before the NVA was amended (unless he could predict the passing of such an amendment), but rather, that the Government acquired property without paying for it.

    You’re also too dishonest to take any notice of what Peter Spencer said himself and take selective quotes from a brother. You are not worth involving in the discussion.

  182. You’re an angry individual semi regular. The root motivating issue here is a simple matter of cash. Lots of cash. My agenda? simply to discuss the truth. What’s yours?
    ps. There’s no need to splash about nasty invective. This is a democracy. Perhaps you often forget that 😉

  183. “As a farmer, he wasted he greatest asset by not utilising his land. Hopefully the next owner will make better use of it. ”

    FMD, don’t you get it, the next farmer won’t be able to “use” it either, hence why the market value dropped 65%. How thick are you?

  184. Yes, cash is the key.

    The Government ripped him off 5.7 million, extra-constitutionally. That’s the truth you love so much.

    My agenda is that I would like to see the Government behave like the rest of us are meant to.

  185. That is a good point, Leigh, but I think Elizabeth is a farmer, and is thus very close to this situation emotionally. A lot of writers here, like myself, are not as directly caught up in the issues. I have a general distrust of Big government, though no horror stories of my own.
    So long as you remember that mine are the only True and Correct opinions on any subject, we’ll get along fine!

  186. Why are you all on the last few posts avoiding the real issue of the government stealing from property owners. I ask you, are there any plants on these posts for the government?
    What if?
    Land taken away from rural owners
    Land taken away from city and urban dwellers
    So yo are safe if you are not a land/home owner, not.
    What if a government housing person was told once their kids moved out, strangers would now have to posses the spare rooms.
    What if the public and private housing was forced to be collective housing multi living units (single amenities) as in Russia and China.
    Think Fabian, think Brigalow Corp, Think NBN control of media.

    Forget Peter (with respect), it is about all the government theft. Peter has only been a willing tool to bring it to our attention (and the governments and their plants) They are only to happy that we are stuck on the Peter (martyr) issue and not the wider issues of government organised theft and filtering controls.

    I suspect that some bloggers are not plants for the government. Or they are definitely not land owners in the rural sector. But waite your turn along with the rest of us is coming; rural/urban/city owner or rentor.

  187. Actually it’s only the libertarians who are true and correct here. Any other opinions are irrelevant.

    Semi Regular seems very set on the idea that the next owner will be a farmer. I’m more of the opinion that the land may have a higher value for other uses. The market will decide it’s real value.

  188. The issue is not about whether Peter Spencer is a good businessman or bad one, or a good farmer or a bad one. It is not about him being a dreamer or gullible. Any character flaws are irrelevent. Hell, it’s not about Peter Spencer. The issue is quite simply this: the Howard government managed at the Kyoto negotiations to get other parties to agree that Australia would be able to meet its commitments by reducing land clearing. The Commonwealth government decided to achieve this reduction at zero cost, something it could not do under the constitution if it was responsible for denying farmers the rights to clear, and hence use, their land. So the Commonwealth got the states to do the dirty work and introduce Native Vegetation Acts. The reason being that the states are not under an obligation to compensate the owners of compulsory acquired land. In effect, the states have “stolen” the carbon credits of these farmers.

    The only questions to be answered, without caveats about timing and mental state, are: is it right for the state to take private property as it sees fit without making a case, in each individual situation, that the acquisition is unavoidable and is it right for the state to take the property of a private individual or deny an individual the use of their property without just compensation?

  189. “Semi Regular seems very set on the idea that the next owner will be a farmer. I’m more of the opinion that the land may have a higher value for other uses. The market will decide it’s real value.

    Comment by Steven | January 13, 2010 ”

    Okay genius, what can the land be used for now that it cannot be cleared and it is heavily forested and out of the way? The market has decided that Peter has been ripped of 5 million, but the NSW Government offered to rip him off a few hundred thousand dollars more.

    DocBud is 100% correct.

    However, to answer Doc’s questions George Williams notes William Deane and 1940s constitutional case law to infer that a) this really was an acquisition by the commonwealth b) of property, not just rights to land, and thus, this should never of happened without compensation on just terms.

  190. “Actually it’s only the libertarians who are true and correct here.”

    At last, something upon which we can agree, Steven. I’ll defend the rights of statists and socialists to spout their drivel, but it was, is and always will be wrong.

  191. Docbud, compensation of over $2 million was offered.

    Keep in mind that the property was never more than 60% cleared land since WWII. I have not seen seen any mention of exactly how much was cleared when Spencer bought the land and allowed it to be over run.

    In any event, I believe the land to be now around only 10% cleared. To my mind, the government should only be liable for the 50% difference. It might even be less than 50%, depending on the state of the land when Spencer purchased it.

  192. Steven,

    So bloody what? What was the value of the land before the NVA was introduced? What was it after? The difference is the minimum that any farmer should be entitled to as compensation. Land that is not cleared but has the right to be cleared has a value because its potential can be realised, it is the taking away of that right that has harmed the value of the land.

  193. “Okay genius, what can the land be used for now that it cannot be cleared and it is heavily forested and out of the way? The market has decided that Peter has been ripped of 5 million, but the NSW Government offered to rip him off a few hundred thousand dollars more.”

    There has been some mention in the news over the past several years or so of wind farming in the Shannon’s Flat area. You might enjoy this document which appears to have some relevance regarding Spencer and a certain wind monitoring tower

  194. DocBud you are so right. The issue is about stolen land and no compensation. NO I am not a farmer, this made me laugh as I am such a city dweller. I am always in high heels and make up. I always have painted nails and blow dryed hair. I would not make a good farmers wife not to mention a farmer!! I just believe that farmers have had a bad deal for too long and when my daughter started using ‘Australian Farmers Direct’I was impressed with the produce. As a christiam I care about people not money. Peter Spencer is a hero in my eyes and if Steven had half of Peters guts he would be able to call himself a man. I have always been interested in politics and in the rights of the little man in the street. I am very suspicious of Steven’s agenda and I would imagine that Leigh is very upset that Peter did not fall off his perch today.

  195. Thank goodness you came down Peter but thank you, thank you, thank you for what what you have done.

    Some people here have belittled your plight here but they are more than likely young and arrogant people who cannot identify with the Australian spirit of a ‘fair go’. You brought to the attention of many people the wrongs done to farmers by both state and federal policies and underhanded undemocratic decisions. I will fully support whatever action you decide on in the future.

    Unfortunately, I was taken in by Rudd and I have to admit I voted for him, struth and stone the crows!! The birds will fly backwards before I do that again. I now feel like I was conned big time.

    Because of this thread I am now leaning very much towards semi-libertarianism! And why not Semi-Regular Lib has made the most informed posts here since the get go.

    It will be interesting to see what sort of spin Kev can come up with now to try to ignore everything that has been revealed. So called democratic socialism does not particularly turn me on any longer. We don’t have democracy here anymore, the government of the day does what it likes.

    The NSW state bunch are gone shortly so will not say a word, they are incapable of useful thought on anything anyway unless they are directed to do so by their masters or unless it is a Sydney Festival or something equally inane. If they get in again I’m moving to WA.

    I like ‘Nuke’Grey’s self-effacing comments about his style. I am somewhat inclined to that way of thinking myself.

    Elizabeth you came in after some rather spiteful comments by Leigh and Steven but they are plants, not necessarily of a green variety, and if they aren’t, they are brain dead. However, your comments are spot on and way to go babe. Stay cool don’t let them get to you, they are AH’s.

  196. Noel and RaeBee I think we are on the same wave length. I too will fully support anything Peter comes up with to show the no thinkers what type of people we have running this once fantastic country. This is far from the end for the farmers, in fact it is only the beginning.

  197. Steven,

    What has that got to do with anything? The bank and energy company settled to take the cash over specific performance. They did their sums and decided that wind wasn’t viable either.

    It is still terribly smug of you to conclude that “the market will decide” when 65% of the value of his property has been wiped out. it smacks of support of the Kelo decision. He could have sold out or used the land as forestry, keeping 100% of the value he paid for, and the market still would have decided.

    It doesn’t matter if he is volatile etc. It reflects poorly on us as a society that only such a person can gain our attention when Government rides roughshod over us.

    Really, if your constitutional rights have been legislated away/read down and only a few *characters* get any media attention over this, then what’s left to say other than, “poor fella, this country of mine”.

  198. Steven – why do you even bother?

    1. No one’s rights should be abrogated because of what another business developer thinks. Do you support the Kelo decision?

    2. Are you even certain that they want Peter Spencer’s land?

    3. Why do you think being ripped off 65% / $5 million is simply irrelevant?

    4. Did you even bother reading the article, and think how it was completely irrelevant to Peter Spencer?

    *With any wind farm you need to do a certain amount of clearing around the site. The site is fairly clear but we’ll be applying for a small amount of tree removal if we can.

    If not, it’s not totally necessary for this particular site but it will get the output of the site up if we can remove some trees and replace them elsewhere.*

  199. Steven what are you? If you are not a green Rudd bud, then what? A uni student trying to tic up points for arguing the negative? Hmm….law or psychology, or do you not understand what I am getting at?

    I just watched Peter Spencer coming down, I was very very emotional, he has been brave enough to do something very few people ever do, put himself up a pole for public scrutiny, warts and all. If we don’t support this man and the government (both parties Labour and Liberal) are allowed to get away with taking people’s land, then we deserve the government we get.

    The problem is people don’t know what is happening. The government do it secretly without public consultation and the Court seem to defer to this situation which makes judges no better than the politicians.

    Rudd never ever read the Copenhagen agreement, his advisers did, he didn’t. But we will suffer because it was not enacted. He will make us pay regardless, it is already happening.

    All the while, a school (so called) which is a ‘cult’ and one Rudd ‘admonished’ previously as such, has been given $2 million?

    So Rudd can ignore the plight of farmers in this country at his peril because the voters are watching this time, very carefully.

  200. 1. I don’t consider matters concerning the US Bill of Rights to be relevant.

    2. Not certain. Confidentiality agreement between the landholder and the developer prevents disclosure of the exact location. However the Cooma-Monaro Shire Council makes note of a wind monitoring tower constructed in the vicinity. Could be another tower

    3. I do not know what Spencer paid for the property. The property was not bought as a single package of land but several properties,some of which are freehold, some are leasehold. Therefore I cannot say for certain that he has been ripped off.

    4. Yes I read the article. The fact that wind farming has been considered as a use for the property for several years makes the article highly relevant.

    Raebee, I agree, we do not know the full story. Graham Spencer suggested there is more to it. I believe him.

  201. 1. Steven, you are forgetting that our s 51 xxxi is virtually plagarised from sections of their Fifth Amendment. Do I need to quote them for you? Do you support a decision like that of the Kelo case, yes or no?

    2. You don’t know. This is merely speculation.

    3. It doesn’t matter what he paid for the property. What matters is how much value the Government ripped him off for, being the present value of the Mountain Ash, or use of land he is otherwise not allowed to clear anymore. It doesn’t matter what your parents bought a home for in the 1960s for example. This is not how land vaulation, nor market prices are calculated.

    4. The amended NVAs in their present form would make land clearing seriously difficult for any developer. It is also a snowjob to suggest this is a solution when you are only speculating – if a wind farm can be installed, that doesn’t stop normal farming or forestry practice anyways.

    It is interesting thatb you keep on playing these diversionary games, never acknowledging our constitutional rights, and ignoring Peter’s word for word quotes whilst cherry picking what his brother has said.

    I ask again, what is your agenda Steven?

  202. The purchase price is completely irrelevant, Steven. Say I buy land for one million dollars and then discover oil on it, causing the value to increase to a $100 million dollars. If the government compulsory purchases my land for $2 million, I have been ripped off by $98 million, not profited to the tune of $1 million.

    Why will you not answer the question as to whether the state should be able to acquire private land (or in some other way devalue it) without fully compensating the owner? Those who wrote the Australian Constitution thought compensation should be paid.

  203. I do not know the market value of Spencers land before or after the NVA acts introduced in 1997 and 2003.

    I do not know how much of Spencer’s property is leasehold.

    Do you?

  204. Peter what difference does it make. It isn’t your business. But please keep making comments, you are completely free to make a goose of yourself.

  205. Interestingly, before you told me that you knew how much his property was worth.

    Clearly Peter Spencer was ripped off, extra constitutionally.

    He was offered $2 million by the State of NSW (as you told me). He estimates his land is worth $2.7 million now, which is a conservative estimate per hectare. He estimates the Mountain Ash/clearing for use rights are worth $5 million. This a reasonable figure on Mountain Ash figures alone ($250 per felled tree), over 4290 Ha. That’s only four of these trees per hectare on average. On a heavily forested/vegetated property, that’s entirely reasonable. This doesn’t include the use rights after clearing.

  206. Just answer the bloody question, Steven:

    Should the state be able to acquire private land (or in some other way devalue it) without fully compensating the owner?

    I’m going to go outside now and bang my head against a brick wall.

  207. I did not at any stage claim knowledge of the value, only of what the government offered. Likewise, you have only ever shown estimates, not actual valuations.

    Native vegetation on leasehold land is the property of the crown. This was the case prior to state NVA legislation and remains unchanged to this day. Peter Spencer does not and never did own native vegetation on his leasehold property.

    It would be interesting to know how much of Spencers property is leasehold, it might shed some more light.

    As for your question about state acquisition of land (which has not occurred in Peter’s case) the question of freehold or leasehold makes a difference.

    If the land is leasehold, it is already owned by the state so it can do pretty much whatever it wants with it.

    For freehold there should be a distinction between rights and ownership of the land itself. If the land along with rights is acquired I would expect full compensation to be paid.

    If it’s a case of the rights being changed but ownership remains unchanged then there should be compensation for the rights only.

    I also consider the actual use of the land to have more bearing on it’s value than any potential use. Eg, a fully maintained grazing property should have a higher value than a neglected grazing property with potential.

  208. After looking through the last many posts, I am convinced that Rudd has infiltrated through a plant (not green vege) on this open site. Think!! imagine what he could do with complete control via the proposed NBN, no matter who your provider is.
    I was all for the porno filtering and the NBN but the more I read this and other sites, It is obviously all about control.

  209. Yes Noel, I live in an underground earthbase and fly to work in a black helicopter. It’s only a little one and I have to pilot it myself. I’m not important enough yet to get a really big one with rockets and all that cool stuff. Mind you, my chopper is really cheap to run, it’s wind powered.

  210. Noel, This site is really scary and should make every person be vigilant as to what the government is up to. I firmly believe that Rudd has no interest in protecting the people of Australia. He is only interested in Kevin Rudd. We have to vote him out before ‘dreams’ really do come true. I urge everyone to research as much as they possibly can before voting for anyone with a Labor tag.

  211. Steven,
    You really are a crazy. A Labor one at that. Why don’t you get into your little black helicopter and fly away and give us all a bit of peace.

  212. Steven, if you are feeling a bit put out cause I suggested that there were plants on this site. You could consider this; A successfull plant or spy would not outwardly have the trappings of a well paid person eg gadgetry, helcopters and such like. They would be made to be very very average if not a little below. Living in a very normal house and wife in a suburb but not Red Hill Canberra. So if there was to be a plant on this site, the person you described that you weren’t is presisely the person that would not be. Does that then mean that you are a confessed plant by you not being what they would not be.

  213. “I did not at any stage claim knowledge of the value, only of what the government offered.”

    Rubbish. You were estimating how much he should get per hectare based on what a similar property with riparian access and water rights had. The only problem was you thought the NSW offer was fair based on water rights. It wasn’t, it is totally out of whack with the value of water on a property.

    If native vegetation was Crown property on leasehold land before the NVA, this is irrelevant. The logical implication is that no one in Canberra could clear their land to build a house.

    Leasehold land is different to freehold, quite correctly – but long term leases are very close to freehold in terms of use. However, what blows your “argument” apart is that leasehold land is also able to be converted into freehold land. There is an option value here. That option value has been degraded by the NVA amendments.

    Thus, the rest of your argument is bunk, and whilst bunk still only based on speculation.

    I notice you still refuse to answer any questions directly. Please answer 1.-4.

  214. “I also consider the actual use of the land to have more bearing on it’s value than any potential use. Eg, a fully maintained grazing property should have a higher value than a neglected grazing property with potential.”

    What you think is irrelevant considering; you now say you don’t know how to value land, you don’t know what an option on real estate is and your views about i) what the High Court thinks about use ii) sustainable farming and iii) Peter’s farm being used for grazing instead of forestry are just plain wrong.

    The irony is, sustainable farmers get kicked in the balls by these laws.

    Again, what matters is that Australian citizens are getting their constitutional rights violated, and Rudd thinks this is beneath him.

  215. “#

    Paranoia abounds!

    Comment by Leigh | January 13, 2010 ”

    This is irrelevant.

    Where does the constitution state that;

    “an Australian citizen’s rights are voidable if they have less than perfect personalities”?

    Please tell us.

  216. Yes, I agree, estimates. I have not seen an actual valuation and I have not quoted one. Any estimates you, I or Spencer have suggested may be way off the mark.

    I answered, you just choose to ignore the answers. You have the rights to do so.

    I seriously suggest you do some research before commenting on the differences in rights and ownership between freehold and leasehold land. As I said before, leasehold land is owned by the crown. Yes the crown can allow leasehold land to be used in the manner of freehold land but it can also change those rights. As the land owner, the crown also has rights.

    If the figure of 200 court cases claimed by Spencer is accurate, I’d have to say the courts have demonstrated very little actual support.

    As for sustainable, Peter Spencer never did anything with his land that was sustainable. All of his business ventures appear to have failed. Not just the ones in Australia.

  217. “Yes, I agree, estimates. I have not seen an actual valuation and I have not quoted one. Any estimates you, I or Spencer have suggested may be way off the mark.”

    Rubbish. I made some better informed estimates than you to show you that even your diversion was full of it.

    Don’t lecture to me the difference between leasehold and freehold, you didn’t know about convertibility or how it affected your argument with respect to option values on land.

    “I answered, you just choose to ignore the answers. You have the rights to do so.”

    No, your answers are dishonest. Do you support a decision similar to the Kelo case? – Which is, as you denied previously, entirely relevant to Australia.

    The Government appropriated property extra constitutionally. William Deane’s judgment once defined an abrogation of rights that flowed as a benefit to the Commonwealth as acquisition. Case law in the 1940s held that the Commonwealth cannot have the States acquire property for it…the Court wised up to this potential loophole and closed it up.

    “As for sustainable, Peter Spencer never did anything with his land that was sustainable. All of his business ventures appear to have failed. Not just the ones in Australia.”

    This is just bullshit. How did he purchase the farm if he never made any money? Have you got financial records have you? I was referring to sustainability. He is being punished for having a sustainable farm. You value a dust bowl more highly than forested land. How daft.

    Again…what matters is that Australian citizens are getting their constitutional rights violated, and Rudd thinks this is beneath him.

  218. I have seen no evidence to support your claim that Spencer has a sustainable farm. The land has been described as marginal with little farming value.

    Spencer’s land has not been acquired by the government.

    The property will be sold. His family will not be bankrupt.
    Spencer will not starve to death.

    A happy ending.

  219. “I have seen no evidence to support your claim that Spencer has a sustainable farm. The land has been described as marginal with little farming value.”

    ….right. Go back all the way to the start. He planned to harvest the valuable Mountain Ash. The NVA amendments put an end to this.

    “Spencer’s land has not been acquired by the government. ”

    You really are stupid. Before you said it wasn’t his. Do I need to keep quoting the judgment of Sir William Deane and the cases from the 1940s to make it clear that i) property WAS acquired (Deane) and ii) the Government is not allowed to do what it did (1940s cases)?

    “The property will be sold. His family will not be bankrupt.
    Spencer will not starve to death.”

    That’s fantastic. What is encouraging is that there is so much public awareness now, that he stands a chance to be supported by many others and perhaps this unconstitutional property grab will be reversed, and in specific cases like Peter’s compensation will be paid.

    A “happy ending” it is not yet. It is merely not tragic (which we are all happy for – it is not worth dying over Kevin Rudd, John Howard or Bill Heffernan). He has had over $5 million stolen from him. You seem happy with this outcome.

    Do you or do you not support the abrogation of just terms for compensation of compulsory acquisitions?

  220. Pardon me for being a realist.

    If the land is owned by the crown then it has always been owned by the crown.

    If the land is owned by Spencer, then it has always been owned by Spencer. At least until it is sold.

    There has been no compulsory acquisition.

    I answered your question on acquisition of land and/or rights previously. You seem to have ignored it so I won’t bother stating it again.

  221. “Steven poppit, you’ll be late for school.”

    “Coming, mama.”

    “How would you like your eggs, scrambled or poached?”

    “How much did the eggs cost?”


    “In that case I’ll have poached.”

  222. The land seems to have been devalued by government actions, not bought by the government. A libertarian should still be someone who wants to reduce the power of Government, until he gets into government, when he will then realise that governments are the source of all good, and need more and more power. As a non-politician, I will strive to lessen govmints, at all levels. If I become a politician in the future, well.. you have been warned!

  223. Steven,

    You call yourself a realist but you are just wrong, in more ways than one.

    Leasehold land is convertible to freehold. You ignore this and then conclude that there has been “no acquisition”. This is ludicrous. You cannot just ignore the value of real options when valuing assets.

    The basis of your argument “no acquisition” is completely bunk and everything else said after this is just rubbing salt in your wounds.

    Wrong you are again – property rights are more than “ownership” – you’ve been shown that your assumptions about land clearing are so absurd that it would mean there would be no houses in Canberra. The Commonwealth’s actions have been characterised by previous High Court decisions as a compulsory acquisition. A long term lease also has rights quite similar to freehold land.

    “I answered your question on acquisition of land and/or rights previously. You seem to have ignored it so I won’t bother stating it again.”

    No you didn’t. You dishonestly said that the Kelo decision was irrelevant to Australia.

    Do you or do you not support the abrogation of just terms for compensation of compulsory acquisitions?

  224. “If the land is owned by Spencer, then it has always been owned by Spencer. At least until it is sold.

    There has been no compulsory acquisition.”

    You really are stupid, aren’t you boy?

    The High Court has said that property extends to rights and uses of the land {Justice Starke said the term includes: “every species of valuable right and interest including real and personal property, incorporeal hereditaments such as rents and services, rights-of-way, rights of profit or use in land of another, and choses in action. Justice McTiernan confirmed the term property extends to tangible and intangible property}.*

    A prohibition which has a benefit accruing to the Commonwealth is an acquisition.** An acquisition by the States for the Commonwealth***, by agreement or not****, is treated as an acquisition made by the Commonwealth and must be made on just terms, “as a protection from a serious gap in our constitutional safeguards”.*****

    * Minister of State for the Army v Dalziel (1944)
    ** Commonwealth v Tasmania (Tasmanian Dam Case) (1983)158 CLR 1
    *** PJ Magennis Pty Ltd v Commonwealth (1949) 80 CLR 382
    **** Jenkins v Commonwealth (1947) 74 CLR 400 at 406 per Williams J.
    *****Trade Practices Commission v Tooth adn Co. Ltd (1979) 142 CLR 397 at 452 per Aickin J.

  225. Read this. make up your own mind, but looks like the beginning of End To Free Speech. Add this to the NBN and this and other forums will not be avaialable

    ACMA link removal: A free speech analysis
    By Nic Suzor, Electronic Frontiers Australia
    06 May 2009 05:50 PM
    Tags: australia, blacklist, efa, electronic, filter, free speech, frontiers, high court
    commentary Yesterday Electronic Frontiers Australia’s hosting provider received a Final Link Deletion Notice from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), requiring us to remove a link to a page that contains images of aborted foetuses from our website.

    We believe that Australia’s current and proposed censorship regimes result in the illegitimate blocking of political speech.
    We have complied with this notice because it exposes our host to fines of up to $11,000 per day that we do not remove the link.

    This post examines some of the free speech arguments and technicalities of potential appeals processes. Expect long-winded legal analysis.

    ACMA advises that the page we linked to has been classified by the Classification Board as being R18+ content. A summary of the classification decision is available at the OFLC site, classification Number 56671019. The description of the content we received was that it contained “gratuitous, exploitative and offensive depictions of violence, which have a very high degree of impact.”

    In our original post, we explained that we were concerned that the ACMA blacklist included not just child sexual abuse material, but also political speech. We believe that the page we linked to was political speech. It is a set of images of aborted foetuses, designed to shock, aimed at furthering the organisation’s messages that women should not terminate pregnancies and that abortion should be criminalised.

    Our linking to the page, however, was not to support this message. We used the page as an example of over-blocking of political speech by the current and proposed censorship regimes. We are extremely concerned that Australian websites are currently being required to remove links to what we believe is legitimate political speech, even where that speech is offensive. We are also extremely concerned that, if the Government’s plan for mandatory ISP filtering goes ahead, such websites will be blocked without any transparency or avenue for review.

    We believe that linking to the blocked page was essential to communicate our message. We believe that Australia’s current and proposed censorship regimes result in the illegitimate blocking of political speech. To illustrate this point, we need to link to what we believe to be an example of a page that has been illegitimately blocked.

    Linking to the actual blocked page is important. We could have described the content of the page, but we believe that this would not have been sufficient to let Australians make up their own mind about whether the current or proposed censorship regimes are appropriate. We responded directly to comments by the Minister and others in the current debate that material on the ACMA blacklist is ‘illegal’ material, and that the proposed filter will not block any political speech.

    The images on the linked page, being R18+ rated political speech, clearly demonstrate that both of these claims are false. While they may be offensive, they are political in nature and they are certainly not illegal to possess. No amount of textual description would have been as effective at demonstrating this point.

    What does this mean?
    We believe we may have a colourable claim under the implied freedom of political communication. Clause 121(1) of Schedule 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) (BSA) explicitly provides that the take-down scheme “does not apply to the extent (if any) that it would infringe any constitutional doctrine of implied freedom of political communication”.

    The High Court considered the scope of the implied guarantee of political speech in a series of cases in the 1990s. The test developed in Lange v ABC means that laws that “effectively burden freedom of communication about governmental or political matters, either in its terms, operation or effect” must be “reasonably appropriate and adapted to serve a legitimate end”, the fulfilment of which is compatible with the constitution.

    This is certainly a worrying example of the dangers of Australia’s current and proposed censorship regimes.
    It is apparent that Schedule 7 of the BSA “effectively burden[s] freedom of communication about governmental or political matters”, as demonstrated by this take-down notice. We might be able to assume that Schedule 7 of the BSA generally serves a legitimate purpose. However, whether it is ‘reasonably appropriate and adapted’ to that purpose is not clear.

    In Levy v Victoria, a restriction on protests against duck hunting was appropriate because it was adapted to avoid physical harm to members of the public in hunting areas. This is not such a case. Any potential harm of somebody finding the publicly available R18+ rated images through a link on our website would seem to be far outweighed by the detrimental effect that the take-down notice has on our ability to engage in informed debate about the legitimate scope of our current and proposed censorship regimes.

    All this is complicated by the fact that EFA cannot directly appeal this decision. Because EFA does not host its own websites, our provider is the “links service provider” within the meaning of Schedule 7. Under cl 113(5), an application can be made for a review to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, but it “may only be made by the links service provider concerned” (cl 113(6)).

    We are currently investigating potential means of appealing this decision. As Colin already mentioned, this is certainly a worrying example of the dangers of Australia’s current and proposed censorship regimes.

    This article was first published on Electronic Frontiers Australia and is republished here with permission.

  226. So Noel are you saying that a site such as this, where we freely discussed the ineptitude of government and criticsed political decisions could be banned entirely? filtered? bits left in or bits taken out? What do you think the end result will be? Would site such as these be blacklisted?

    If so, do you believe that in the long run people in Australia will accept this type of censorship?

    I don’t believe they will because even though young people don’t seem to care much about many things in general and are being dumbed down, there are still those who are intelligent enough to expect a democracy that allows freedom of speech and along with that the right to criticise the government of day if it is not performing adequately.

    Do you believe a government in this country could get away with completely filtering political discussion?

    That of course is totalitarianism. They practice that in China.

  227. “Do you believe a government in this country could get away with completely filtering political discussion?”

    They’ll try until they get bitchslapped good & proper in the High Court.

    The unfortunate thing is the High Court is both reading down it’s powers and our rights in the last few decades.

  228. RaeBee and Semi
    I assume your replies are “tongue in cheek”. Cause it is happening, you read it for yourself. That is what the NBN pipe is all about, “filtering” I am in telecommunications and stand to get a lot of work for my employees and myself, I am also not against the porno filter, but that is where it will start and be controlled. While most of us are accepting of the porno filter and ilinformed of the benefits of the NBN across all users, the government are using it as a test bed on control.

  229. I apolise to all as I have unfortuneately taken the conversation off Peter Spencer and the rights of land/home, rural/city owners and rentors.
    Please continue but be aware.
    Let us trust that we all across the nation have enough momentum to crush this government theft (and censorship).

  230. Well I think the High Court has (thankfully) interpreted the constitution as having a right to political free speech and an implied right to free speech generally.

    However – the continual reading down of rights, and self inflicted eroding of the Justice’s power worries me.

    The porn filter shouldn’t exist. Just like buying magazines – don’t let your kids see it. No need to ban pornography.

    The worst thing about the NBN is not only is it a tool to control, necessary if Rudd makes good on his offer of a computer etc for every school kid, but that it is actually a piece of crap.

    “Perhaps my heading for this article is wrong. Rather than saying “100Mbit/s will be slow in 2017″ perhaps it should have said “100Mbit/s will be slow in 2028″. At least according to the following news report:-,21985,25898529-664,00.html

    IT WILL take at least 18 years for most Australian homes to be connected to the Rudd Government’s National Broadband Network, according to financial services giant Goldman Sachs JBWere.

    In a 92-page report on the NBN, Goldman analysts say it will take until financial year 2017 before 50 per cent of homes are passed by the network, and until 2028 before 85 per cent of homes are connected.

    Comment by TerjeP (say tay-a) | August 8, 2009 “

  231. Yes, sorry I sort of got side tracked too as Noel said.

    I think I might look at a few more sites re this Noel, where? Is there a thread aleady on this site. I have have only been looking at the Peter Spencer issue and will continue to do so.

    However, I’d like see exactly what the government intends to put on a ‘blacklist’.

  232. Raybee
    google “Rudd Censorship” this will give you lots of reasons for a sleepless night/s Too many for me to list.
    Also look at the american site that I put the link up for on yesterdays forum (Peter S.). This will double worry you especially as we are a mini USA in the controls of the masses. Then google “Obama pending talk back radio censorship”. It is not actually censorship as such but it will prevent the 2UE, 2 SM, 2 GB and other states from holding the “open mike” as they do now. Think Fabian and control.

  233. The beginnings of censorship called filtering.,23739,22990520-27197,00.html

    What has this all to do with the subject matter on this post;
    This has a lot to do with Peter Spencer, Why, cause we can talk unfiltered for and against the government and Rudd, currently. But the technology is there and running on internet feed to you. Worse when one government owned company pipe feeds your internet no matter who your supplier is.
    Enjoy while we can, but we could already be flagged.

  234. The situation is this is a vast country that most don’t get to see,politicians included,they fly everywhere,when there is a real issue where are they learning trying to make sense to make things fair,they don’t see care about the big picture,just to drive along the highway to Naracourte the grapes for miles and miles and miles both sides of the highway as the cotton country,and we don’t make a stand,the govt.doing nothing about taking land back to regenerate those regions,where the hell is the native veg.gone,birds winemans worse enemy,to have got rid of so many trees,why the Gambier basin drying up,what trees are left stressed,dying,deseased,why they built the bridge to HindmarshIsland plans to destroy the river years ago,but make a stand.was away on the Tamini,the total ignorance and arrogance of humans,many who protested here forCopenhagen,yet so few protesting to understand, to screw up this major vein,RIVERis screwing nature,why climate changed,was when they decided to grow cotton here,water creates evaporation,creates rain,dams stopping natures process,the trouble is politicians care only for their wage rises,their retirement fund,they only about me me me is all they are about,not about standing up doing their jobs,keeping multi-national back,they screwed the rest of the world working with the devil,and we are sucked in by greed greed greed,what’s in it is just for them,Aust.general working class people but the new generation commercial,never happy with what they have,politicians they only about their bank accounts,don’t give a damn about the real picture,the long term future generation,education only teaches what they want people to know,believe,most humans are like sheep.Understand our nearest neighbours before conquering faraway lands,it’s devastation bully tactics every way,so many areas stripped for oats wheat barley,they took more than they gave.Happy thatPeter is alive not giving up,he can not do with out the everyday farmer,man,they must get a fairgo,stop the multi-nationals,banks,developers getting what there is left,as what has happened in this state,bleak,while stuck in cities this country has no political backbone,grit, against these outsiders,the multi-rich.Spent years chaseingSkase while insurance company took off with millions more who really gives a damn about protectingAust from all this chaos.

  235. Many thanks Noel, will take a look. I have enough sleepless night now thinking about the way this country is headed, dam I don’t want to live in little America.

    When Peter is able I hope he can contribute here although he would have to take a bit of flack from the likes of Steven. Still I have the feeling Peter can handle most comers.

  236. Noel; You make a good point here as the eventual breaking of the press blackout on this issue was essentially achieved by internet activists.

    The only major media to touch it until the last few days were Allan Jones early in the piece followed by a rather shallow coverage in a five minute segment by A Current Affair which did little more than show him up there and really would have left the average viewer wondering just what the hell that was all about. There was some regional coverage including regional ABC presumably caused by the locals knowing of the situation so it couldn’t be ignored. The national media were solidly in the tank for Rudd and not a word got out.

    The protest at parliament was the straw that broke the camels back, (organized on the web.) There was even an attempt by the NSW government to shut this down using transport inspectors to threaten the bus companies involved.

    The fact is that as the old ‘reliable’ media slowly sinks into obscurity and irrelevance the internet is the wave of the future. The selection of Palin as VP choice in the US was the result of an internet campaign.

    Had it not been for the net the press would be currently reporting the discovery of a body of a farmer who appeared to have committed suicide up a wind tower on his property owing to imminent foreclosure. The government would have wanted it that way and given the involvement of the Howard government in this matter I doubt that Abbot would lose any sleep over it.

    There is little doubt in my mind that if Rudd gets the chance he will extend censorship to block sites that do not concur with his and his governments interests, in the public interest of course. The ‘public interest has a remarkable habit of mirroring the governments interest. All in the name of protecting the little children of course.

  237. They’ll be back. Most of us disappear over the weekend, chasing chicks going down the beach or getting on the piss. (at least thats what I think they do.)

  238. Well Jim Fry, I have been on this watching and adding to this site for more then four weeks now (yes big deal 4 weeks) but there has been a steady flow day and night for while. But now complete blanket since 15/1/10. except for you and me. Who is the plant if there is one?

  239. On 15/1 I was in a serious mood, today I am being a bit whimsical.

    I am not sure what happened after I posted this as I left for my job the next day, but from experience the weekends tend to be a bit slow on this site, (I suspect them of doing most of their posting at work.) I think that if there was a lot of activity on the comments on the weekends it was probably because the issue broke in the press for the first time a couple of days after I posted this and as such it became topical.

    With Peter down from his strike interest will probably wane to some extent but hopefully the property rights issue will get a lift from this.

    I hope 274 didn’t offend you and you are welcome here at any time.

  240. I was not shut down- I was getting on with life! There’s more to life than blogging, young man! There are lots of DVDs I still haven’t seen!

  241. Yes you are correct Jim and Nuke, I was just getting phobic after all the activity on this site that suddenly slowed (stopped)on the weekend. Due mainly to the coming down of Peter Specer.
    Unfortuneately this could NOW be the loss of aparent interest in land rights and censorship in Australia. Maintain the Rage.

  242. It looks like people have lost interest, not because they don’t care about Peter’s plight but the media have let it slide.

    However, Alan Jones is having a guest on his 2GB morning show tomorrow who might stir the pot again. Lord Monckton is in Australia and will be making some addresses about GW and the UN/EU and the inside story about Copenhagen.

    I am hoping Alan Jones will again bring up Peter Spencer’s problem with the Native Vegetation Act which was enacted because of Kyoto targets.

    Alan Jones was one of the first to take up the fight for Peter Spencer by the way, that was way back before Christmas when Peter had only been up the pole for a 1 week or so, the regional stations hadn’t picked it up then.

    The thing is the state Native Vegetation Act has to be repealed and I intend making my thoughts know to Alan Jones tomorrow.

    Since Rudd’s pilgrimage to Copenhagen for that non-event and after Peter Spencer’s plight we have heard very little about anything to do with global warming or the ETS. I have wondered at times where the bloody Prime Minister actually is. But, I have read yesterday that our PM will be back on TV doing some sort of ‘people talking to the leader thingy’ on Sunrise. Bet the people he talks to are hand-picked and asking the right questions. Looks like Rudd is back to promoting his TV persona. Of course the public might not be so easily fooled this time.

  243. I attended the lecture by Lord Monckton at the Newcastle Town Hall yesterday. There were at least 400 people there which I felt was pretty good considering it was day one back to school and a working day.

    The man may be called eccentric but of eccentricity is shown as as enormous intellect as this man possesses then please keep calling him eccentric. Of course he is not eccentric he is trying to tell people what an EST and global warming scare tactics will do to the lifestyle of people in the western world if the UN have their way.

    It is becoming clear that global warming is, at the very least unproven, and at worst, the greatest con in history.

    Of course the computer modelling has been the problem in all this, you can’t prove what you have not proven.

    Be that as it may Lord Monckton stood on his feet and addressed the audience for a full two hours without missing a beat and afterward continued to answer questions from the audience. Peter Spencer’s plight came up and a lady next to me had to ask what it was all about so I told her the story. She was shocked.

    So we need to try to make sure the government does not sign up to any further CO2 reduction policies to suit the UN and the EU. The Kyoto protocol should be allowed to run it’s course and no further agreements signed. Unless the labour government is prepared to do this, then I am not prepared to vote for them, nor any other party.

    Professor Plimer who wrote “Heaven and Earth” said to me personally, Lord Monckton has one of the greatest intellectual minds he had ever come across. I am with him. By the way read his book, “Heaven and Earth” it is easy to read and understand, and may clarify the global warming scare tactics put out by some scientists. Clarity is is not happening presently and needs to be brought to the public attention via fair media reporting, this only appears to be happen with 1 or 2 news outlets presently.

    An ETS is a waste of time although obviously not for the government, it’s the tax they want and the bottom line is, they are not scientists.

    Sorry of this is disjoimted, I have a 5 year old talking at me while trying to put this post up.

  244. Nice post,
    I learned a lot of information from this post. Thanks for the effort you took to expand upon this topic so thoroughly.
    I look forward to future posts.

  245. That is great but there are but few additions to this thread since early in the year. You are game putting your company name up there as, Rudd’s censorship machine may just get back in at the next elections and they will be hunting down anyone with an opinion that is not labor government/communistic. Via the net/NBN or talk back radio. Take care.

  246. Pingback: Peter Spencer – back again « Thoughts on Freedom

  247. I have ploughed through a lot of this site and am a bit puzzled by the need to consider ‘land clearing’ as rhe only way to run livestock.—-the practice of ‘Native Forest Management’ would be a much more suitable alternative.And Yes it does work!

  248. Dianne,

    Peter did not want to clear the land to run livestock. He had a very valuable timber species and was forbidden to harvest in any way by State legislation (subsidised through a Federal-State agreement however). Let’s say he did want to run livestock: there was in fact no way he was permitted to optimise tree growing space, as the NFM principles dictate, for example.

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