Sowing seeds of discontent

Farming is a hard and important job.

How we, as a country, control our food sources should be an issue of importance for anyone who cares about the future.

So I believe we need to look after our farmers and support agriculture.

I went to listen to former hunger-striking farmer Peter Spencer on Tuesday evening and left shaking my head.

Apart from the undeniable fact that he rambled incoherently for more than an hour, it left me dismayed that someone who obviously feels disenfranchised from our democratic system thinks it is a reasonable action to manipulate people’s fears.

To engender a blame culture rather than come up with solutions is easy. I get rather sick of people expecting the government to solve all their problems; whatever happened to the idea of personal responsibility or even shared responsibility?

Just because you’ve read a couple of books on philosophy it doesn’t make you a philosopher and just because you compare yourself to Ghandi and Nelson Mandela it doesn’t make you a prophet or the leader of a movement. And just because you’ve been unsuccessful in court numerous times, it doesn’t mean you’re an expert on justice or even injustice – it just means you’ve been to court.

Spencer knew how to work the room; he knew what his audience was after and he gave it to them: government bad, farmer good and bad government wants to hurt good farmer. But he didn’t offer any hope, solutions or sense.

From the wide-ranging ranting wherein Spencer blamed everyone from the Romans to communism for society’s ills, he seemed to be telling people to tell more people that if they believed in property rights, then the State shouldn’t be allowed to take people’s property without “just terms” payment, and that should be enshrined in the constitution.

It didn’t really seem the place to ask him what he thought his simplistic approach would do for Native Title claims, but then he wasn’t there to discuss issues. He just wanted to blame the government.

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