Premier: Farmers ‘went a step too far’
QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she was shocked by her treatment at the hands of some protesters who heckled the Premier during her visit to Beef Week yesterday.
"Unfortunately there were a couple of people there who went a step too far," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"I don't believe verbal abuse, swearing is acceptable. I was quite shocked by that. I wouldn't expect that as part of a Queensland that I live in."
A large group heckled Ms Palaszczuk as she toured the Beef Week event at Rockhampton's showgrounds on Wednesday night.
Graziers are unhappy with the tree-clearing laws, passed in State Parliament last week, that revive a ban on broadscale land clearing.
Ms Palaszczuk said she also found some of the behaviour "personally threatening and intimidating".
But she said she also believed people had a right to voice their views so long as they did so respectfully.
"I firmly believe in democracy and I believe people have a right to protest," she said.
Ms Palaszczuk stood by the laws.
"These are laws that my government made a commitment to before the last election. There was no secret.
"Most farmers are doing the right thing, let me make that very clear, but what we have seen is some large-scale land clearing happening across our state which are levels that are unsustainable and contribute to climate change."
She said she believed there was misinformation being distributed to graziers about the changes and pledged a new information campaign to address that.
As reported last night, Ms Palaszczuk flew to Rockhampton yesterday afternoon to open the national beef event, which was also being attended by Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington.
Graziers are unhappy with the laws, passed in State Parliament last week, that revive a ban on broadscale landclearing.
As the Premier walked through the expo site at the Rockhampton Showgrounds in the company of Beef Australia officials, a large mob of graziers, mostly dressed in green shirts, chanted loudly, "Go away Palaszczuk, go away Palaszczuk, go away Palaszczuk."
A smiling Ms Palaszczuk made her way from the expo entrance to the official function at the Qantas International Lounge, briefly stopping to answer questions for a media throng.
The Premier said she had heard the graziers' message, and Agriculture Minister Mark Furner would continue to "work with the industry".
Farmers and those opposing the laws had been urged to dress in green to symbolise their plight.
Earlier Ms Frecklington, dressed in a green blazer, had walked in to the expo to loud cheers from the same graziers.
She has previously slammed the Labor Government for its "arrogance" over the new laws passed last week.
"They have silenced the voice of our farmers and rural and regional Queensland by ramming their contentious and damaging vegetation management laws through Parliament," Ms Frecklington said.