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Statement on DFAT investigation

14 November 2019

The National Farmers' Federation is disappointed in the deficiencies of a month-long internal investigation carried out by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade into the connections of a senior official with radical group Aussie Farms.

"It is not good enough that it took a news outlet to identify the links between Dr Julie Delforce, a senior official with DFAT and Aussie Farms and it's sister websites," NFF President Fiona Simson said.

"It beggars belief that a Commonwealth Government department would not have had the resources to determine this link over the course of the four-week investigation."

"We acknowledge that the Department has now taken the appropriate action and stood down Dr Delforce, pending an external investigation."

The NFF has led calls for action against Aussie Farms since the radical group published the details of more than 3000 farmers and supply chain businesses online for the alleged purpose of inciting trespass in January this year.

"The map incorrectly implies that the farmers featured are in some way doing something illegal or unethical.

"In fact, the opposite is true. These mums and dads are producing food and fibre to feed Australians and the world. They are the backbone of regional Australia.

"Many are battling one of the worst droughts in living memory. The last thing they need hanging over their head is the fear and anguish of radical extremists invading their home and business potentially putting themselves, their family, their workers and farm animals in peril."

Since the map was published in January, responding to pressure from the NFF and its members, the Commonwealth Government has acted to curtail the activities of Aussie Farms – founded by Chris Delforce.
The company is now subject to the provisions of Commonwealth Privacy Act and the Parliament supported amendments to the Criminal Code Amendment Bill that make it an offence to use online means to incite trespass, theft or damage on agricultural property.

Ms Simson also recognised the various changes at state level.

"However, we continue our call for Aussie Farms to have its charitable status revoked. It is highly offensive that tax payer-funded benefit should be extended to a group that targets farming families with such dangerous, reckless behaviour."

Media Enquiries: Laureta Wallace
P 0408 448 250
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