A FORMER Griffith octogenarian has taken his crusade to save the citrus industry to the streets, making a last-ditch plea to locals to "teach the major parties a lesson" at this year's federal election.
Brian Mills, 81, donned a sandwich board with the message "tariffs can save citrus" and hit Banna Avenue on Wednesday, spreading the gospel of protectionism.
The former company CEO, who moved to Victoria nine months ago, said "dirt cheap wages" in countries like Brazil meant local citrus farmers were fighting against an unstoppable tide of imports.
He said the major political parties' mantra of "free trade at any cost" was slowly suffocating industries like citrus, dairy and manufacturing.
In a bid to garner support for selective tariffs against Brazilian juice concentrate, Mr Mills handed out leaflets to locals and asked them to support pro-tariff parties at the September 14 election, which include One Nation, Katter's Australia Party, Australia First and Rise Up Australia.
"Tariffs are absolutely decimating citrus and a host of other industries and I don't want people coming up to me in five years and saying 'you were right'," Mr Mills said.
"We have to act now before Australia becomes a third world country because it doesn't have any industry left.
"If Michael McCormack, who doesn't support tariffs, wins this year's election in a landslide then I give up I'm going fishing."
In recent months, Mr Mills has been selling citrus door-to-door in country Victoria averaging about half-a-tonne a week in a bid to help lift farmgate prices for growers.
His one-man campaign comes just three months out from the findings of a senate inquiry into the state of the citrus industry being handed down.
Former One Nation candidate for the Riverina Craig Hesketh said the supermarket duopoly and consumers themselves had a role to play in ensuring fair farmgate prices.
"Australians need to accept that if they want to have locally grown food then they need to pay more for it and supermarkets, especially Coles and Woolworths, need to be held accountable for their profiteering," Mr Hesketh said.
"Change will not happen with the major parties in power as they lack the courage or will to fight for Australian business.
"They believe in the globalist model and have sold Australians out to a future of imported second-rate food."