*Sound of loud sustained applause*
There is always hope remaining when a brave politician points out the obvious – that a government overriding your individual property rights is an act of theft.
From Farm Weekly today (emphasis added):
QLD Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce has condemned the rising amount of “green tape” holding back Australian farmers.
Senator Joyce will raise the issue during an address to the Rural Press Club of Victoria today.
He also plans to tell the gathering that rural Australia will never warm to the Greens as its new leader plans to stamp her leadership by trying to recover lost ground in rural electorates.
“Our side of politics believes that property rights actually mean something,” Senator Joyce told Fairfax Agricultural Media.
“If someone wants an asset I own they can offer me a price.
“If they can’t afford it then they should not be allowed to just steal it.
“The community may see it as their right to restrict the removal of trees but the community has not been prepared to pay for that right.
“If I were to steal property that I wanted but could not afford I would go to jail.
“I might have a very righteous reason to steal a car, perhaps I wanted to take elderly people to bingo night but I would still go to jail.
“And this can be done through a straight transfer of that asset to the government or via regulation that effectively divests you of that asset. “
Senator Joyce said regional Australia would never warm to the Greens because they have been the key drivers of a revolution in regulation via environmental laws over the past two decades.
It was a veiled reference to new Greens leader Senator Christine Milne’s plans to conduct a listening tour of regional Australia.
Senator Joyce said previously the environment was important and it had to be traded off against economic and social factors: “There was a triple-bottom line.”
But now the term environment has transformed into something that invokes omnipotence, “which you must not question”.
He said that was seen in many “ludicrous” examples of green tape now like farmers not being able to farm their own freehold land.
The ownership of trees has been taken off them without compensation and absurd requirements for vicarious environmental issues such as when the constructor of a dam had to fund $1.5 million in shark research to get their project approved, he said.
“It feels like you are living in a Kafka novel,” he said.
Senator Joyce said the productivity growth in agriculture had reversed over the past decade from being one of the strongest performing sectors to one of the poorest.
“A large part of that must be due to the encroachment of green tape which stops farmers from innovating to grow more at a cheaper cost,” he said.
“If we keep on the path we are going we will lose the opportunity to be Asia’s foodbowl.”