The collective political actions of the Australian farming and rural communities: Putting farm interest groups in context
Centre for Rural Social Research
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of International, Cultural and Community Studies
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is generally presented in the press and public policy analysis as the authoritative spokesgroup for Australian farming, and sometimes even rural, communities. Closer scrutiny reveals a somewhat more fluid political context in contemporary Australian farming. Farming and rural communities are experimenting with, or are involved in, various forms of collective action. This article reviews an illustrative range of collective political activities involving Australian farming and rural communities against the backdrop of significant and rapid socio-economic change catalysed by Australian agricultural reform and a growing disillusionment with the NFF. This overview serves to illustrate the polyvalent nature of farmers’ political activities. The paper discusses the responses, both discursive and substantive, of the NFF and the emerging pattern of Australian farmer representation.