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.