Stand united in Green Shirt

Midwest Times - - OPINION - Rae­lene Hall

A bright shade of green is spread­ing across WA’s ru­ral ar­eas and it isn’t an in­flux of John Deere machin­ery.

It’s those who have joined the WA Green Shirt Move­ment.

Aus­tralians, and by de­fault, WA farm­ers, have al­ways been rel­a­tively low key about their in­dus­try and the pol­i­tics sur­round­ing it, but times are chang­ing.

Now, it seems, ev­ery­one feels they have the right to an opin­ion on how the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try is run and they aren’t shy about let­ting farm­ers know.

Across all ag sec­tors, there is a range of in­dus­try bod­ies and, un­for­tu­nately, many of these groups seem un­able, or un­will­ing, to work to­gether for the com­mon good of agri­cul­ture, its as­so­ci­ated in­dus­tries and those who work in it.

Queens­land farm­ers were the first to turn “green”, when they donned green shirts to protest against their Govern­ment’s veg­e­ta­tion laws. To them, wear­ing green shirts sym­bol­ised who were the true en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists (gree­nies) car­ing for the land.

The move­ment quickly spread to WA, when frus­tra­tion led to ac­tion, af­ter a large meeting in the Great South­ern, held in re­sponse to the Fed­eral Govern­ment’s can­cel­la­tion of the li­cence of Emanuel Ex­ports.

Those in at­ten­dance at the meeting felt they were be­ing ig­nored and their con­cerns dis­missed.

Alan Satler, a Bev­er­ley farmer, de­cided it was time WA joined the Green Shirt Move­ment. A man of ac­tion, Alan soon had a WA Green Shirts Facebook page up and run­ning, along with a Twit­ter ac­count. Shirts were or­dered and worn at a range of places in­clud­ing Par­lia­ment House, the Royal Show and the Pas­toral­ists and Gra­ziers con­fer­ence.

It’s time ev­ery one of us in­volved in agri­cul­ture of any kind, and as­so­ci­ated in­dus­tries, stands side by side as one. When we aren’t united, then it is easy for wedges to be driven be­tween us. We need to show ev­ery­one that Aus­tralia has an in­cred­i­bly valu­able agri­cul­tural sec­tor and those in­volved in it are us­ing world’s best prac­tices, while also teach­ing oth­ers. We need to stand tall and proud.

The ed­u­ca­tion cuts an­nounced in De­cem­ber 2017 showed just what a com­mu­nity, and a State, can do when peo­ple are united by a cause or be­lief, ir­re­spec­tive of their po­lit­i­cal lean­ings. When we stand united, be­lieve in our­selves and our in­dus­tries, we are a force to be reck­oned with.

So get your “green shirt” and wear it proudly, wher­ever you go.

Liam Johns of Kil­lara Sta­tion in Meekatharra, with daugh­ters Mia and Ali, wear their green shirts with pride.

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