A "bit more mongrel" is the type of spirit National Farmers' Federation's (NFF) newest vice president, John Hassell hopes to inject into the organisation.
The East Pingelly farmer and WAFarmers' president was appointed to the role unopposed earlier this week, with Victorian grain and livestock producer David Jochinke elected as NFF president, winning against fellow nominees Georgie Somerset from Queensland and WA farmer Tony York.
Mr Hassell, who has been WAFarmers' president since 2021 and a director on the Wool Producers Australia (WPA) board for the past six years, said he was looking forward to working alongside Mr Jochinke, who he thinks will share his stance on NFF being a "bit tougher" when it comes to defending farmers' back pockets.
"I put my hand up for the job because I felt there were a few things that needed to change and I wanted us to be a bit more vocal about some of our positions," Mr Hassell said.
"Not to say that Fiona (Simson) and her team haven't done a fantastic job in their own way...but everybody is different, and I want to inject a bit more animal cunning in there if we can.
"At the moment I think it's a very polite organisation and it needs to be a bit harder."
Acknowledging that the NFF had done a great job in supporting Australia's farmers fight against Federal Labor's policy to ban the live sheep trade, Mr Hassell said he had also begun actioning a "five-pronged attack" against the policy with Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) of WA president Tony Seabrook, which he hoped to continue implementing through his new role with the NFF.
Since coming into office, Mr Hassell said the Federal Labor government had been "very anti-rural people" in their policies.
"We've got to fight that and we've got to fight it hard," Mr Hassell said.
"Part of the reason I get stirred up is because we've never had such a flaming avalanche of things coming at us.
"Whether it's the biosecurity levy, which is another filthy tax, or the heavy vehicle road user charge, the banning of the live sheep trade, Aboriginal Cultural Heritage legislation or the industrial relation laws that will mean we have to pay the same amount of money to an inexperienced person as an experienced person which doesn't make sense or is even fair.
"WAFarmers are feeding things up to NFF to try and work on issues like these, so motions come up through our organisation, as they do through all of the other state farming organisations to the NFF, and then it's our job to fight hard for them."
In terms of the industry presenting a united front to the government, Mr Hassell said WAFarmers and PGA recent work together on some issues had resulted in better outcomes for the industry.
"I've actually enjoyed working with Tony (Seabrook)," Mr Hassell said.
"We talk to each other fairly regularly about strategy and it's been working really well, so we're pretty pleased with that outcome.
"We're still not agreeing on everything though, which I think is good, as a bit of healthy skepticism between parties helps you to get better outcomes."
In regards to juggling his various other commitments as WAFarmers president and running his own mixed farming enterprise, Mr Hassell said he would be finishing up on the WPA board in November, so the NFF role had come at the right time.
"I also have the backing of my family my son is really stepping up to the plate, he's doing a fantastic job and my daughter still helps on the farm a fair bit... so I have a lot of family support which is fantastic," he said.
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