Rates campaigner Terry Martin stands to lose the farm he ‘slaved day and night’ to pay off.
Rates campaigner Terry Martin stands to lose the farm he ‘slaved day and night’ to pay off.

Farm owner ready for battle

RATES ‘refusenik’ Terry Martin says he will not pay his rates but he will not give up the deeds of his Snows Road farm or sign it away, either.

Mr Martin is one of the Bellingen ratepayers whose land Bellingen Shire Council plans to sell in February so the council can recover the rates owed on the property.

He is the largest debtor with Bellingen Shire records showing he owes $23,913.24.

He and his wife, Claire, said they had managed to resist efforts by the council to sell their portable possessions, including their lawnmower, to pay the debt.

Mr Martin said the only way his property could be seized under the (English) Bill of Rights, which Mr Martin says applies to Australians because it is recognised as underpinning the Constitution, is if he commits treason.

“Any other reason is banned,” Mr Martin said.

“They can’t jail you on a debt, otherwise it is economic slavery.

“They are selling up a $2 million property to pay a $23,000 debt.”

The Martins are now demanding the identity of the person who will be selling the property and evidence of the agreement between council and ‘a natural living person’.

If the property is sold, Bellingen Council will retain only the money for the rates debt. The balance of the price paid for the property will be returned to the owners.

Mr Martin is now planning to approach his local MP Andrew Stoner on the matter and plans to fight the action using the Commonwealth Law Assessment Act.

While Bellingen Shire Council is selling up 28 parcels of land, it is likely to face a real battle getting hold of Mr Martin’s land.

He quotes the proceedings of the Federal Council of Australasia whose members said municipal councils had no power of taxation and were ‘voluntary’ funded by contributions by Commonwealth, State and local people. Several referendums have failed to gain formal constitutional recognition for local government.



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