Avoiding Salem Witch Hunt Trials in Australian Agro Politics

Folks, to provide some balance to Steve Truman's Post about the Death Of Australian Agriculture I have decied to post a Letter to the Editor re the recent Armidale Beef Industry Crisis Meeting.

Please note that Senator Bill Heffernan was in the lead at Armidale in opposing the resumption of our pre 2004 trading protocols with the US for popularist protectionist reasons in my view. My friends that are major grain growers have told me that Senator Heffernan was one of the strongest advocates for deregulation of the Aussie wheat industry and abolition of the Single Desk.

Does the good Senator "run with the hares and hunt with the hounds" on our agricultural trade policy? 

Dear Editor, please consider for your column.

Might I be provocative enough to suggest Bindaree Beef's Armidale Revivalist Meeting had some of the heady mix of the explosive social ingredients of the famous Salem Witch HUnt Trials of 1962 in Massachusetts. Truth was a very early casualty of the cultural and religious wars enveloping Salem in 1692. Like wise Truth took some early heavy hits at Armidale on Feb 27 and throughout the day's stacked agenda. When the "congregation"  was welcomed  by a local pastor and we were asked that the Good Lord would enlighten us in our deliberations, I became distinctly uneasy.

Cattle producers are hurting from prolonged drought and depressed cattle prices and did not need much winding up by the oratory skills of Mr. Torbay M.P., Allan Jones {2GB}, Senator Bill "The Devil" Heffernan, and the redoubtable JR Mc Donald himself and others. The stacked deck of speakers convinced many in the crowd that cattle prices would get even lower when US beef flooded the Australian market after the Commonwealth Govt. adopted new trading rules in respect of imports from countries classified as Controlled Risk for BSE under OIE classification, as from March 1.

The truth is that when the US had unimpeded access prior to Jan 2004 no more than 40 tonnes annually was ever imported. Also NZ with much lower freight costs and no quarantine impediments has been restricted to exporting to Australia only 1900 T /year on average by commercial realities.
So if NZ has not flooded the Aussie market, how can US processors pay $150 Aus/ head more for US slaughter steers and freight the beef across the Pacific? Furthermore NZ has accepted US imports for the last three years totalling a meagre 29 tonnes, not exactly a flood.

I was tempted a number of times at Armidale to call out "More Truth" or perhaps "More Weight".As readers might know, that was the now famous taunt of Giles Corey one of the 20 witches sentenced to death. The other 19 were much luckier. They were only hung. Poor old Giles was crushed to death over two days under an increasing pile of rocks. His unrepentant response to his accuser's demands for a confession was "more weight"

Should I dare persist with my cries for "More Truth" ?

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Some people dont like to have the truth get in the way of a good story or in this case a good old witch hunt with industry systems and organisations in the firing line. The bigger the lie the better chance of some of it being believed. Unfortunatly those who make their living out of the Beef Industry in this country will be the ones to suffer from this recent spate of sabre rattling.
Now Lee- to write such a load of old bull it is hard to beleive you are a genuine Beef Producer.You talk of "stacked" meetings-perhaps you prefer those Brain Dead AGM's the MLA put on each year.

Paul- could you please explain the "lie" that we have all been party to.I saw David Byard there but I didn't notice you in the crowd.

Lobbiests pushing for the lifting of the ban bought this state of affairs and the obseen haste of the Govt and the subsequent cover up caused this bad press.There WILL be damage IF and WHEN imports start- if they are stymied in Import Risk Assessments and noone bothers- then we will be back to where we were.

The domestic market used to be 56% and has slid to 36% due to neglect and rampant profiteering at home here.
Turn the clock back and we can stop grovelling to the world. I thought the "Clean,Green image" meant a lot to the CC hence the need for our NLIS etc,etc.

I make my living out of beef and if this meeting which showed signs of a backbone for a change-is a witch hunt, then there should be more of them.
Needless to say I wasn't there, But Robs point is worth an asnwer..why? was it kept so quiet?
It appears from the info allowed out it sure Was a behind closed doors deal, and I for one am wondering Why?
the guys behind pushing this through, KNEW! would upset consumers and producers alike if they got to hear of it.
How can Industry representatives be so against? their own members real interest and well being?.

Robs states our market, domestic, is already a Lot down? how could anyone saying they care allow a means to jeopardise it further.
I will not stop eating beef, BUT I will stop eating any meat supplied from supermarkets and that includes when at barbies whatever, silly? no..it,s a stand against purchases that hurt OUR Industry and rip off Monoplies.
I already avoid WW and Coles so its actually not hard.
If? I should be in the position to eat out..I will be asking the source of the meat, and if they cannot tell me Local I will be ordering salad or pasta if need be.
I cannot see that our export of trims( they dont even take decent meat?) will stop, they NEED a source of SAFE meat from a non BSE country, for their sales. cutting their orders here will simply force stock supply drops and they would have to source where??? or put up prices.
And as stated before, seriously OUR pet food market would Love to use it, without the loss of that product OS, we then have an industry here we can grow.
A campaign Supported by VETS!!! Hint Lee:-)
would go a long way to get a raw meat for pets movement happening. Mind you it also keeps animals healthier...so maybe it wont get support? whatchya say Lee?
I would guess you don't have obese diabetic and hi cancer ,liver issues in the meat fed working dogs?
excersise apart- Diet sure makes a difference.
Pet industry is HUGE growing and a billions a year market.
we do not have a shortage of market, we DO have a shortage of initiative.
Mr 0.5%,a more accurate annalogy of the Salem Witch Hunt Trials (as you insist on taking that tact) would be the 1980,s film Witches of Eastwick to describe the current battle.The Devil played by Nicholson seduced three women by offering them riches etc .The analogy you draw between Heffernan and the master of the dark side is innacurate I suggest you look further to discover his identity .I dont have the answer but I am confident you are off target.
I do not normally take on adversaries in this battle on such bizarre groung hower so important is it that we reverse this decision to import beef from BSE affected countries I will fight with the pro camp on any field they so choose.
Hello Laurel and Mr 99.5%, Iam starting to know how poor old Giles Corey felt!!. I have not gone into hiding but have spent the day completing our family's submission to Senator Joyce's Senate Inquiry into the effect of Veg.Man Laws. This came about through Peter Spencer's stand. I was priveleged to be a part of organizing the first rally at Sharanlee and also did my bit towards the Canberra rally.

Therefore I owe it to Peter and Barnaby to do a good job on my submission. I will return to my contest with the "Forces of Scaremongering and Witch Hunting" tomorrow. Cheers for now.
Lee "More Truth" Mc Nicholl
Lee, I am not a supporter of importing beef if there is a risk, and on that we depart, but I am interested in your comment re the "Devil" and his financial background and you are suggesting that he is indeed a beef producer, but not a grain producer.

I was among the grain men who tried to defend the single desk worth on average $30 per tonne to Austraian farmers and was taken aback by the behaviour, the language and so on used to openly attack us at the Senate enquirey in Canberra, I find it difficult to believe that the Devil would would behave with such self interest and if it is as you say he does very serious damage to the position of Senator in our national parliament...surely he is a grain grower as well.

As a matter of interest a mate was telling of a web site which has the US gloating over getting rid of the SD. The US seem to have better results than Australians at running trade policy in this Nation.
When you went to the US and met with the Rcalf folks. Did you eat the beef?
The US seem to have better results than Australians at running trade policy in this Nation.

Leave Heffernan out of this- he was only one of four senators there amongst 1200 (approx). I am not a wheat grower but I knew instinctively that the "free" market was going to white ant returns and Rowell has confirmed this historical fact.

It was the Australian media fanned by overseas money and their lobiiests that bought the AWB down.
Every single company dealing with Iraq was doing the same but "oh no" we have to shoot ourselves in the foot forever more.

These same faceless multi national lobby will undermine our "Single -desk" of total desease free clean,grean image which will be devalued to whatever Perception the Consumer has in their minds over BSE. We will have lost our only point of difference from every other meat producing country in the world.
To me it is a no brainer that must be dealt with- not trying to smear one of the messengers.

Matt- If you want to go to Rome be prepared to eat their food- why wouldn't you as the risk is infintessimal. When in Aust-eat our meat and rest easy it is one nasty that has never shown up on our shores. If it were to, we could just be one of the group then and not before then thanks very much!

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