Peter Spencer – back again

Peter Spencer has been mentioned before on this blog. In fact the discussion was quite popular with the number of comments on that article being ten times the average. A brief recap.

The Howard government wanted a way to reduce Australia’s CO2 emissions. To do so it decided to stop farmers clearing their land. Under the constitution it couldn’t do this without offering the farmers just compensation. So in order to avoid paying the farmers the Howard government bribed the state governments to do it’s bidding because they are not bound by the constitution in the same manner, or at least that was the logic that guided the federal governments decision to act in this manner.

A lot of farmers lost out. Peter Spencer claimed that it made his land uneconomic and caused him to default on his debts.  He went on a now somewhat famous hunger strike to publicise his case. Leon Ashby is another farmer previously mentioned on this blog that claiming that the new laws made farming more marginal. Leon went on to found a political party called “The Climate Sceptics”.  Obviously a lot of people are annoyed at having their land rights trampled.

In comments on the original Peter Spencer discussion I drew parallels between this rural example of property rights being trampled and the urban example of heritage laws. Both are examples of laws enacted for idealistic reasons trampling the rights of property owners with no compensation at all, let alone a just compensation.

Peter Spencer has now been given the all clear to have his case heard before the High Court. The NSW Farmers Association is prepared to help fund the case. Let’s hope that he managed to pull off a win for the rights of all Australian property owners.

9 thoughts on “Peter Spencer – back again

  1. I certainly hope this goes somewhere. Though I never went in for the “hunger strike” BS, I obviously support property rights – and hope it gets the recognition it deserves. Heritage laws are a complete joke, but even they aren’t the end of it…

    Parramatta council has gone overboard on heritage listings – there are now so many slum areas that can’t be developed! – and now they want to stop new apartment dwellings having more than one parking space! Their reasoning is that this will “make public transport better.” Apparently, after restricting parking to absurd levels (and over-taxing commercial parking), apartment dwellers were selling off their extra spaces at a tidy profit. Naturally, someone decided to put a stop to it!

  2. Before the hunger strike he had been repeatedly fobbed off, since the news of it broke of it he has begun to make some progress. Thousands of farmers are in the same boat.

    Apart from ruining many financially, it has broken up families, and driven people to suicide. I

  3. What case?
    We have no rights. The government can pass acts to do anything they want. They take our money. For us to buy things we don’t wnat. Does anyone really think they cannot tell us what to do with our own property (as if it was ever really ours)?
    If he was going for compenstation, he would probably win, after all the government would just steal more of our money to pay them off. But instead he is going for the right not to be stolen from in the first place (very nobel of him) but he will surely loose.

  4. I don’t think he can win then. There’s nothing saying that compulsory acquisitions need be for a public benefit.

    The case for compensation on the other hand is very strong.

  5. As the case in America proves (Kelo? Kelso?), the term ‘public benefit’ can be interpreted very broadly- in that case, the county decided that it would benefit the public if there was a mall on the property, because they could charge more in taxes which would ‘benefit’ the rest of society, so they resumed the property. I remember a similar case here in Sydney, in Castle Hill. A house was resumed for one reason, at a low price, and then the council changed its’ mind, and sold the house on the open market, with the original owners ignored.

  6. What I meant was that we would make any acquisition that ended up not for public use would be invalid and we’d extend the obligation to States and Shires.

Comments are closed.