Angry farmers rally outside Australian parliament

2010-01-04 18:44 BJT

250 angry farmers, wearing broad-brimmed hats and cracking kangaroo-hide whips, have rallied outside Australia's Parliament House demanding compensation for Australian climate change policy.

Their protest drew attention to the plight of sheep farmer Peter Spencer, who is staging a hunger strike because he is not allowed to clear the vegetation from his farm. State laws introduced in Australia in 1995 restrict the amount of land that farmers can clear of vegetation which absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Peter Spencer and other farmers argue that farmers deserve federal compensation because the restrictions make their land less productive. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the dispute should be decided by the courts.

In this undated photo provided by Kahn Spencer, Australian farmer Peter Spencer perches on a makeshift platform 6 meters (20 feet) up a steel wind monitoring mast on his farm at Shannon's Flat, near Canberra, Australia. A protest by 250 farmers and their supporters in Canberra, Monday, Jan. 4, 2010, drew public attention to the plight of sheep farmer Spencer who they say has been on a hunger strike for 42 days because he is not allowed to clear vegetation from his farm.(AP Photo/Kahn Spencer)
In this undated photo provided by Kahn Spencer, Australian farmer 
Peter Spencer perches on a makeshift platform 6 meters (20 feet) up 
a steel wind monitoring mast on his farm at Shannon's Flat, near 
Canberra, Australia. A protest by 250 farmers and their supporters 
in Canberra, Monday, Jan. 4, 2010, drew public attention to the plight 
of sheep farmer Spencer who they say has been on a hunger strike for 
42 days because he is not allowed to clear vegetation from his farm.
(AP Photo/Kahn Spencer)