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5 February, 2021

‘Agriculture needs a voice, not an echo’

The Green Shirts Movement didn’t come to be solely because our state has been governed by a litany of Labor governments who have horse traded the future viability of agriculture and the regions for greens preferences and the plush leather seats of parliament.

By Rachael Cruwys GREEN SHIRTS MOVEMENT

THE Green Shirts Movement didn’t come to be solely because our state has been governed by a litany of Labor governments who have horse traded the future viability of agriculture and the regions for greens preferences and the plush leather seats of parliament.

For too long those at all levels of representation who lay claim to speaking for our interests, have continued to make concessions on our behalf until we have reached a point where there is no more left to concede.

Thus, eroding both our ability to manage our farms effectively and our livelihoods.

We have lost our voice and become far too pre-occupied with having a seat at the table where invariably the dishes are cold leftovers after other dinner guests have dined first.

Yet, still we see our position conceded, a tactic that has seen a continual decline in rural political influence.

We continue to see the bending of ears at both ends of the political spectrum by so-called stakeholders.

Those who do not live on the land and have no practical experience in or contribution to its management, claiming to be ‘green’.

Their claims are often based on misinformation, ideology, self-interest, or a blatant social agenda under the guise of environmentalism.

They continue to drive laws and regulations that are crippling family farmers in all forms of agriculture, with flow-on effects to all regional businesses and communities.

Just as those within the agricultural industry have to endure and hold steadfast amidst ever changing weather patterns, it is the expectation those elected at any level and who suggest they speak for the industry plant their feet rather than bending to the wind of whatever trending position is taken by these so-called stakeholders.
There is also a need to overcome the reluctance rural elected members experience when imploring support from urban-based politicians from their own party.

This is firstly, a lack of understanding of rural and regional issues and secondly the fear of backlash by media, political activists and politicians with opposing views emboldened by the support received from political activists.

This distortion of the modern political process is not being challenged on behalf of rural productive businesses and regional and remote communities.

Agriculture needs a voice, not an echo.

We must counter the misinformation repeated so often, it is viewed as fact. We must be the narrator of our own story. The entire story, complete with the simple and unsanitised fact, that agricultural viability is beholden to our resolve when faced with rains and regulations.

In a time when it seems we have apologised for our industry’s very existence, the Green Shirts Movement will unapologetically never be fence sitters.  

Taking a position with conviction is often and incorrectly viewed as not being objective or taking a negative stance even from within the allyship of the industry.

When, in reality it is a refusal to whitewash over the impacts felt throughout our industry just to appease sensitivities.

In the current landscape whilst it may be desirable to address issues gently and diplomatically, there are affairs that must be confronted without couching or softening. Those who try to sway the court of public opinion against all facets of agriculture and have the ear of government certainly do not dilute their message.

Being indecisive and critical of the intensity with which issues are fought, does not afford those on the fence an exemption from the consequences and impacts of government and opposition to the industry.

One of the most important decisions that we make is at the ballot box. 

The day when amongst the desired traits of our elected representatives, indecision is not one. We expect of our elected members to make decisions on a daily basis in the best interests of constituents. In some instances, we applaud the crossing of the parliamentary floor.

Yet, it would seem many are unwilling or unsure on taking the first step down from their position atop a fence post.

We must never be so lost to impartiality and fence sitting that we refuse to call out wrongdoing when qualified merely because of fear of reprisals and reverberations.

No matter what you are drafting; cattle or legislation, blocking or bushing, you can’t do it by sitting on the top rail.

Green Shirts Movement will continue to send a message, through a powerful, and uncompromising grassroots voice that their members and supporters and both producers and consumers alike want and need a healthy and robust agricultural industry.

For more information on Green Shirts Movement or how to become involved or a member, visit the GSM Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/GreenShirtsMovement or their website at www.greenshirts.com.au



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