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Monday, 20 April  2009  Bush Voice

Meet Peter Kenny, and discover how he's working to be the voice of the bush.


PETER KENNY, AGFORCE PRESIDENT: It's certainly a big change from living in the bush. I guess living on your own in the bush it's a much more carefree way of life compared to what we're having now.

PETER KENNY: I go to the office first thing and then I've got about three or four meetings today.

JO-ANNE YOUNGLESON: Peter Kenny is the new face of agri-politics in Queensland, but he's no stranger to the muster, after decades of working properties in Central Queensland and years of service in the Cattleman's Union.

He and wife Hilary have sold their major property to move to Brisbane and take on the AgForce Presidency.

PETER KENNY: There are certain pressures put on me by certain people to take on this job and for a long time I wondered if I had the ability, if I had the skills that were required to carry this out but it was the people who walked beside me who gave me the confidence to have a go at this.

JO-ANNE YOUNGLESON: It's here, in the office, he hopes to make a difference. Peter Kenny lists environmental concerns and sustainability as the major issues facing the State's primary producers who he says are struggling to work within the Beattie Government's strict land clearing legislation.

PETER KENNY, AGFORCE PRESIDENT: I guess the big issue is to make sure we in the bush are looked at as people of worth and that the right attitudes are developed in the cities with regards to what we do. We can't do this ourselves. Nor can Government and that's why we have to work in unison and we have to put a plan in place to address that problem.

JO-ANNE YOUNGLESON: A father of four and grandfather of 11 Peter Kenny knows bush life is worth preserving. But he also knows that he and others like him are only half of the equation.

PETER KENNY: If the environment is such that our women folk can no longer live in that environment then there'll be absolute devastation as far as we are concerned it'll be an absolute disaster. If our women aren't prepared to live in these isolated areas then there'll be no family life.

JO-ANNE YOUNGLESON: For now at least Peter Kenny is living a life far removed from the one he's fighting for, but he says he's well aware of what he's walked into and says he'll never forget where he's been.

The first step he says is to remember that while money might not grow on trees much of it does come from the land.

PETER KENNY: Agriculture and certainly life on the land has been very, very kind to me and I believe it's time now that I can put a few years back into the industry and to make sure people in the industry get a fair go.



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English Bites - Bush Voice
story notes

new face
To be the face of something means to be the most important person or most well-known person in an organisation or business. Itís the person who has the public role, or the person that the public can see.

agri-politics
Agri- is a prefix meaning of the land or farming. It occurs in the word agriculture, which means farming.
So agri-politics means the politics of farming - all the important decisions about rural and farming life.

no stranger to the muster
The muster is when cattle or other farm animals are all brought together, usually for shearing, milking or branding.

If heís no stranger to the muster, it means that he knows the muster well. He has lots of experience with working on farms.

properties
farms

service
work

Cattleman's Union
Union here means trade union. Itís a group that looks after the interests of a group of workers in an industry. The cattlemanís union is the group that looks after cattlemen, more commonly called cattle farmers.

sold
Here sold is the past participle of the irregular verb sell.
more information: sell

take on
To take on something is to accept a task or a responsibility and try to do it as well as you can.

Example: Iím going to take on the job of selling three cars every week.
For more meanings of the phrasal verb take on, follow the link.
more information: take on

AgForce
Agforce is group of people who work to promote farmerís interests to people in the city.

have a go
try; make an attempt

Example: I'm going to have a go at playing tennis.

far removed
Far removed here means very different. Heís living a very different life from the life he lived on his farm.

never forget where he's been
Tis means that heíll never forget what his life was like before.

money might not grow on trees much of it does come from the land
The saying money doesnít grow on trees means that money isnít easy to get. You canít just pick money off a tree, you have to work hard for it.
But Peter wants city people to remember that lots of money comes from people growing things. Things that come from the land are things that are farmed.

a fair go
A fair go means a reasonable chance, or a fair opportunity.

Example: You expect the legal system to give you a fair go.
spotlight

What is 'life on the land'?

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