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The NFF, the Family Farmer and the ABA

In this, the world wide year of the family farmer, it is ironic that the family farm seems to be under siege in Australia. It is difficult to get through to government that their policies over the last forty years have been responsible for our demise.

Union boss Paul Howes launched a severe attack over the decision of the government not to allow ADM to buy grain corp., stating that the government was placating Ma and Pa farmers.  It was a relief to my friends involved in the grains industry that the government did not allow it to go through so possibly this government  has woken up, we can only hope.

The Union movements’ origins in Australia are well known.  Those who established it were great men and the tree of knowledge is one of our great national treasures.  Undoubtedly in those days when woolgrowers were doing well and the shearers had low wages and no power it was necessary.

Fast forward 120 years the opposite now seems to be the case.  The best in the team that help me for 2 weeks of the year can earn 5 times as much  as a profit margin that I experienced last year as a farmer.  It’s the hardest work I have done so they deserve every penny.

Yes wages are high in Australia but for your average Ma and Pa worker they need to be to pay for high costs of living and the purchase of the most cherished asset a home to live in.

This brings me back to Paul Howe’s .His criticism of Ma and Pa farmers also carried a suggestion that farms in Australia should be run by large corporations, to give economies of scale and better access to markets.  If this is his belief for farmers then it may be his belief for the Ma and Pa workers (that is the workforce needs to be controlled by large multinational corporations}.There is nothing wrong with the AWU movement but they have been sold out by their leadership.


Our official leadership whether we like it or not is the NFF.

We have a form of compulsory unionism that partly funds the NFF.  Their location means that they have direct access to Canberra.  They were meant to capture Canberra but Canberra has captured them.  They have evolved from an organisation which was meant to represent farmers but has now become a bit for everyone with their mishmash of membership trying to represent everyone.

The ABA went in the opposite direction we started off representing beef producers, processors, agents and large pastoral companies.  Because we are democratic one vote per member the large pastoral companies left .The processors left because our policies were for the producer not processors and the agents followed them.  We now represent producers or more specifically grass-fed cattle producers.


On Friday a large contingent of ABA Directors will give evidence at the senate inquiry into the expenditure of levies and representation of beef producers.  It is our job to give evidence to the RRAT committee Senators.  It is there job to give advice to our Federal Ag Minister.  The ABA is there to help them make informed decisions.

Agricultural in Australia is at a crossroads.  This drought could wipe out a generation of young Australian beef producers, if the correct action is not taken. The ABA will be fighting to save the future of the beef production sector and keep it in the hands of the most efficient means of doing it THE FAMILY FARM.

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