I watched the ABC TV program Landline this week, listening with interest to a segment addressing the campaign led by fruit growers and conservative politicians to save SPC-Ardmona.
Farming double standards
I was impressed and appalled.
Impressive was the community campaign that ultimately led to high levels of community support and even an increase in the number of consumers prepared to pay a higher price for SPC products – in the hope of helping to save the business.
This was social media and community support at its best - and all participants are to be congratulated on the outcome.
I was also impressed by the action taken by the government to clamp down on the dumping of federally subsidised product coming into Australia from other countries.
But appalling was the pressure on government to take direct action, intervene and injects funds into SPC.
This campaign was also waged by farmers and conservative politicians, with both groups claiming to be champions of free enterprise. They seem to support free enterprise or government support when it suits.
Also appalling was the criticism of Coles and Woolworths over the price they were prepared to pay for SPC-Ardmona products.
This criticism was largely levied by farmers who, in addition to being supporters of free enterprise (which is all that the supermarkets were involved in), were almost certainly customers of Coles and Woolworths. They were certainly not complaining about the lower prices they were paying for the products they were not producing.
I also found it appalling that these farmers and their conservative political mates were drawing on the resources of industry groups such as the Farmer’s Federation. These are the same farmers and conservative politicians that consistently criticise unions supporting workers and calling for higher wages for the employees of businesses like SPC.
Indeed, Barnaby Joyce and then prime minister Tony Abbott blamed the unions for the demise of SPC.
What is the Farmer’s Federation, if not a union?
Is there any group in the community that demonstrates double standards more than farmers?