How Is Land Clearing in Australia an Example of the Conflicts Between the Needs of the State and the Needs of the Individual?

Land clearing, which is a term that describes the removal of native vegetation or habitats, is not a new concept in Australia. In fact land clearing has been happening for at least 200 hundred years, however recently it has become a widely discussed issue, with two main parties concerned. These two parties are the government and landowners (in particular farmers).   Legislation prohibits land clearing in certain areas for the purpose of protecting native vegetation and wildlife, or to attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Landowners generally feel that ownership comes with the right to clear land if needed.

The government has the duty to create policies that ensure the overall wellbeing of the country and it’s people. Individuals all have needs, basic needs that are similar for everyone, for example the need for education or street lighting can be met easily by the government, however some individuals, or groups of people have needs which conflict with the needs of the state. An example of this conflict can be seen when the Howard government introduced the Northern Territory National Emergency Response, which was established in response to alleged child abuse. This brought about a conflict between the state and the individual, as the policy aimed to improve the overall wellbeing of children in aboriginal communities, however it removed many rights individuals had in the community, such as the right to use a certain portion of welfare money on items aside from necessities. (1)

Individuals also have duties, such as to follow the law. In the next example a conflict has risen after individuals failed to meet their duties. The new proposed laws to ban bikie gangs, and to prevent members of gangs from associating with each other was a response to a brawl that occurred at Sydney Airport on the 22nd March 2009 where rival members of the gang Comanchero beat a man from the gang the Hells Angels to death. Due to the violent nature of the attack, and previous...