The Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019 also creates an offence for encouraging property damage or theft from agricultural land, such as destroying farm fences or stealing livestock. Both offences will carry possible prison sentences. Journalists reporting on matters of public interest—such as ‘questionable’ farming methods—and whistleblowers reporting unlawful actions—such as animal cruelty—will be protected from these offences.
Introducing the bill in the House of Representatives, the Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP, said, ‘Farmers are of course a vital part of the Australian community. They deserve to go about their business free from harassment and threats of harm.’