Waleed Aly: This is the "greatest call to arms I have ever made"

Waleed Aly is renowned for his poignant opinion pieces on The Project, and last night he delivered what he called “the greatest call to arms I have ever made”.

“Dairy farmers are begging us to eat more locally produced cheese,” Waleed told to the Tuesday night audience, explaining that our dairy farmers are suffering from an inherently unfair relationship with the country’s two largest dairy companies, Murray Goulburn and Fonterra.

Over the past month, Waleed says farmgate milk prices have been drastically slashed, meaning many local milk farmers are staring down bankruptcy. The changes mean that milk farmers are now paid 37 cents for each litre which costs them 38 cents to make.

Last night Waleed delivered what he called his "greatest call to arms" yet. (Image: Channel 10)

But the blows don't stop there, and "the situation for our farmers is actually much, much worse than they first expected". Alarmingly, the big milk companies have said their price changes are retrospective, meaning the farmers must cough up the money they've made over the last financial year.

"Because our farmers have been paid $5.60 all financial year, Murray Goulburn and Fonterra are essentially claiming that the farmers were overpaid from July last year until the price cuts three weeks ago," the father-of-two said.

"Now, the farmers suddenly owe Murray Goulburn and Fonterra massive debts. The average debt reportedly owed to Murray Goulburn by a dairy farmer is $120,000."


It's a dire issue which is being dodged by the pollies, the TV host pointed out scathingly, frustrated by the topic being dodged simply because we're in the middle of an election campaign. While the proposition of a "milk levy of 50 cents a litre" at a time like this might seem unattractive, Waleed says one may be necessary if we want to save our hardworking Australian farmers.

Politicians have gone missing, when Australian families need them most. (Image: Channel 10)

"That levy would cost Aussie families less than a dollar a week, and it could save lives and potentially an entire industry," he said, adding:  "I don't believe Australians... would have the attitude that there's no point buying the cow when you can get the milk for free."

Our greatest opportunity, however, is simple: To eat more Australian dairy products.

"Dairy farmers are begging us to eat more locally produced cheese," Waleed told the audience. "And the good news is, thanks to data released last week by the bureau of statistics, nine out of 10 of us aren't eating enough dairy produce to meet the dietary guidelines ... so chow down."

"Farmers have told us that the best way to lend them a hand is to pay an extra few cents for Australian-produced, brand name milk. It really will help our farmers stay afloat."

You heard him, people! Go out and buy a massive cheese platter, pronto. (It's not like you need any more encouragement.)