The government is working to better protect farming families and agricultural producers from illegal trespass and invasions by anti-meat activists. If you choose not to eat meat that's your choice - it doesn't give you the right to disrupt someone's business.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what we've seen increasingly occur - radical protestors trespassing onto farms, damaging property, and stealing livestock - for the simple reason that they don't want anyone to eat meat.
Many Australians were disgusted at the publication of the names and addresses of farmers online by the Aussie Farms organisation, designed to tell activists where to invade. Often these addresses are not only the farm location but also where farmers and their families live.
Farmers deserve protection from harassment and threats, and that's why the Morrison Government put forward the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019, introducing new offences for the incitement of trespass, damage to property, or theft on agricultural land.
Penalties of up to five years imprisonment will apply for those who promote unlawful conduct online. While the acts of trespassing and theft are already illegal under state laws, the rise of unlawful actions against farmers has made it clear those laws on their own weren't adequate.
It's pleasing that this important legislation passed the Senate this week and will soon be in place to deter farm invasions by activists.
It is important to note that the Bill contains protections for journalists and whistleblowers who lawfully disclose allegations of animal cruelty or other criminal activity.
You would like to think that such reasonable reforms, which would protect hardworking agricultural businesses from law-breaking activists, would be supported unanimously in the Parliament.
The industry employs hundreds of thousands of Australians, and of course, it's our farmers who feed the nation.
Incredibly though, not only did the Greens vote against the legislation and in support of the illegal actions of activists, but reportedly many within the Labor Party wanted to as well.
It took weeks of internal division in the Labor Party before they finally agreed to support the Bill. The close ideological marriage between Labor and the Greens is never far from the surface.
As elected representatives, the least we can do is to ensure farmers aren't subjected to threats and harassment by narrow-minded activists who feel entitled to break the law.