WA’s Attorney General has backed down on his threat to slap animal activists who trespass on farming properties with restraining orders.
Under questioning from The Nationals WA during a Budget estimates hearing this week, Attorney General John Quigley revealed he was now considering community supervision orders for vegan activists convicted of trespass, rather than a restraining order.
The revelation comes despite the Attorney General telling State Parliament last month that punishing activists with a community supervision order would “offend the community”.
“If a person disrupted a piggery or a milking shed, a lot of people would think that they walked away scot-free if they got a community service order, so I had to scratch that off my list of alternatives,” Mr Quigley said in response to a motion brought by the Leader of The Nationals WA on 10 April 2019.
“I do not want just a community-based order under which they will not get fined or face the possibility of imprisonment.”
The Nationals WA agriculture spokesperson Colin de Grussa said the Minister’s backflip again showed the indecisiveness of the McGowan Government when it came to dealing with the rising wave of criminal behaviour undertaken by vegan activists.
“The McGowan Government can’t make up its mind. Earlier this week the Attorney General described activists as ‘mushy headed’ but it seems he is suffering from the same affliction,” Mr de Grussa said.
“One minute the Attorney General says a community order would not serve as an adequate deterrent, the next minute he is championing community orders as the best way to curb activist behaviour.
“Meanwhile, WA farmers and food producers are left in the dark as to how the Government intends to tackle this extremely serious matter.”
The Nationals WA Roe MP Peter Rundle interrogated the Attorney General during this week’s estimates over when the new laws would come into force.
“The Attorney General would only say his ‘best guess’ was sometime this year but could not offer a concrete date,” Mr Rundle said.
“Frankly, that’s not good enough. If the Attorney General and the Premier were fair dinkum about protecting our farmers then these new laws would be fast-tracked through Cabinet and brought before the Parliament straight away.
“The Attorney General has given no indication that these laws will be enforced by year’s end, which is cold comfort for our farming families living in fear that their property is going to be the next targeted by these delusional criminals masquerading as activists.
“The Nationals WA are calling on the McGowan Government to urgently provide out farmers with the protection they deserve.”