'We’re not kidding': Animal activists could face jail under Morrison’s tough new policy

Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants vegan activists who target farmers' homes to face jail terms of up to 12 months.

Melbourne's vegan protest led to criminal charges and a renewed call for farmers to take action.

Melbourne's vegan protest led to criminal charges and a renewed call for farmers to take action. Source: AAP

Animal rights activists who target farmers' homes and lawful businesses could face a year in jail under proposed new laws to stop disruptive protests.

If re-elected in May, Mr Morrison plans to change the laws to prevent vegan activist organisation Aussie Farms from using private information about farmers to harass them.

The prime minister wants to come down hard on animal activists.
Source: AAP

"They are being targeted in the most mercenary way by an organisation that can only think of itself and not think about the real damage that is being done to the livelihoods of these hard-working Australians," Mr Morrison told reporters in Launceston on Wednesday.

He promised to introduce laws banning people from inciting criminal activity against farmers, with jail terms up to 12 months.

"Those who engage in using such information to incite criminal activity of people going and seeking to trespass or cause these types of injuries to the well-being of our farming community, they will face jail terms of up to 12 months," Mr Morrison said.

"We're not kidding. It's not just their farm, it's their home. It's where their kids live and grow up."

Vegan protesters on Monday launched a cross-border campaign targeting a busy Melbourne street, plus abattoirs and farms in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

The Aussie Farms website publishes an interactive map of farms across the country, which the organisation says exposes animal exploitation in a secretive industry.

Melbourne's vegan protest led to criminal charges and a renewed call for farmers to take action.

The protests resulted in scores of arrests, criminal charges and a renewed call for farmers to take action, with the federal government committing to underwrite legal claims.

Privacy laws were changed last Friday to potentially expose Aussie Farms' website to significant penalties for publishing farmers' addresses and contact details.

Animal rights protesters march through the business district in Sydney.
Source: AAP

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the laws would make it illegal to use a carriage service to disclose personal information to incite criminal activity.

But the laws would include exemptions for journalists and whistleblowers who reveal illegal conduct within the agricultural industry.


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Published 10 April 2019 at 2:24pm, updated 10 April 2019 at 3:51pm