In his "greatest call to arms", Waleed Aly is urging Australians to eat more cheese to support dairy farmers being #MilkedDry on home soil after a massive cut to milk prices has left the industry on its knees.
In The Project co-host's latest Something We Should Talk About segment written with Tom Whitty, Waleed accused politicians of distancing themselves from the issue out of fear it could compromise their re-election.
In April, Australian dairy processors and exporters Murray Goulburn and Fonterra slashed the amount the companies were willing to pay per milk litre.
"For every litre of milk that we buy in the supermarket, it costs a farmer about 38 cents to make it, and they're paid just 42 cents," Waleed said on Tuesday night.
"Murray Goulburn announced it was cutting its price from $5.60 [per milk solid kilogram] to somewhere between $4.75 and $5. A week later on the fifth of May, Fonterra followed suit cutting their price to $5. So now, farmers will be paid about 37 cents for that litre of milk that cost them 38 cents to make."
Waleed's issue with the moves made (both companies are currently under investigation by the ACCC) is the retrospective debt claimed since the introduction of the cuts three weeks ago.
"Murray Goulburn and Fonterra are essentially claiming that the farmers were overpaid from July last year," Waleed said.
"They're spreading that cut over the entire financial year so doesn't look like such an extreme cut. And when we recognise that, it means that for the next two months farmers will be paid 14 cents for that litre of milk that cost them 38 cents to make. The more successful they are, the further in debt they'll become."
Farmers have called for a 50 cent per litre levy which both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have not addressed. On Tuesday, supermarket chain Coles announced a new milk brand would be hitting shelves, with 20 cents from every bottle going straight to Aussie farmers.
"You might be wondering why no politician including Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has appeared in this story; and that's because - they have gone missing on this issue," Waleed said, holding up a milk carton with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce printed on the side.
"It wasn't until today that our deputy PM spoke publicly on the price cuts."
Joyce praised Coles' bold move but would not commit to government assistance or a levy.
Waleed doesn't believe Australians want farmers to be #MilkedDry, calling for viewers the sign up to the Change.org petition. The Project co-host also urged Aussies to buy Australian dairy brands and "chow down" on cheese.
"The truth is, our farmers are being let down and they are desperate. And if our politicians won't stop our farmers from getting MilkedDry, maybe the rest of us can."Suggest a correction