The Sydney Morning Herald
January 10, 2010

A HUNGER-STRIKING farmer protesting over NSW laws on land-clearing laws has renewed tensions between Liberal and National parties.

Protesters cheered the Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce and heckled the Liberal senator Bill Heffernan yesterday as they gathered outside Parliament House in support of the farmer.

Peter Spencer, of Shannons Flat near Cooma, whose family said he had not eaten for 43 days, is protesting – on a platform 10 metres up a wind-monitoring tower on his property – against laws that prevent him from clearing vegetation on his land.

Mr Spencer’s cause has drawn the climate-sceptics network together, mobilised via blogs, and has renewed tensions in the Coalition as it seeks to unite under Tony Abbott’s leadership after a year of infighting.

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