There is a new online campaign urging all politicians to stop selling off Australian farmland to foreign investors.
FIVEaa radio broadcaster Leon Byner in January launched ‘Don’t Sell Australia Short’ in January and the campaign has grown furiously since, amassing thousands of followers in days, with a current count of over four thousand.
The selling off of Australian farmland is an issue that Byner believes is crucial to the future of our nation.
“We are allowing other countries and commercial interests to buy, for themselves, what if we lose, could bankrupt us down the track,” Mr Byner said.
“I’m concerned about the future of this country, because over time, food and water will be the weapons that nations use, not arms.
“Nations can buy our land, but there is not one example of where we can grow and sell something elsewhere…why on Earth would we allow this? We need to get real,” he said.
The site is a Facebook community page, where people become a member of the group and discuss with others the issues on the website.
Politicians and public figures have already taken notice, with Senator Nick Xenophon referencing it in parliament and prominent Australians, such as Dick Smith and Bryce Courtenay speaking out in support.
Byner says as the numbers grow, the powers that be will have to take notice.
“This website is important as it gives people an opinion and a platform for their voice to be heard, and given that the people who make decisions are supposed to be acting in our interests, they will realise they have to make a stand,” he said
The page also uses its link with FIVEaa, by featuring audio that was broadcast on air of interviews relevant to the website’s cause.
As well as the campaign’s base membership of 4,042 people, there is a group of regular contributors who actively check the website, commenting on new posts and creating discussions.
Byner says this group is crucial to the support of the website, as it keeps the debate alive with comments he describes as “very important”.
Corbin Schuster, a farmer, is one of the regular contributors and he applauds the creation of the site and its use of social media to further a cause.
“Using social networking sites as well as talkback radio as a forum, these issues can reach a wider audience and a wider audience can partake in discussion,” Mr Schuster said.
“I think this is brilliant.
“Every citizen can voice their opinion and in doing so, can introduce new issues which have major bearing on their country,” he said.
Another active participant, Jaimee Hockabout believes the group adds another platform for all Australians to voice their opinion.
“It is important for Australian citizens to have their say.
“We all offer great opinions and possibly solutions or problems in regards to the issue at hand,” Mr Hockabout said.
The campaign is just one of several grassroots uprisings seeking to make the government take notice of the voice of the citizens.
Senate candidate and activist Christopher Cochrane is hosting a meeting, chaired by Senator Xenophon, to discuss the importance of Australian farms and farmers.
He said campaigns like his and ‘Don’t Sell Australia Short’, are important.
“The issues that have been raised in the Facebook pages that I have created, as well as the various rallies that I have been involved in are important to the community as more and more people here in Australia are worried that our valuable agricultural and food industries are being taken over by Global Corporate groups,” Mr Cochrane said.
“Politicians will have no choice but to take note…they have to remember that it’s the people of this great country that are the true bosses of the members of parliament who are in office… they’re meant to be representing the people of their electorate,” he said.