Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Water, Water Nowhere

Nice to see our pollies point-scoring over what is now the most critical natural resource. Take as long as you like with your pissing contest over this, boys - it's not like it's about anything terribly important. Just whether or not most Australians will actually be able to continue living in Australia.

Interesting latest line of attack against Kevin Rudd by an increasingly-desperate looking and sounding PM and his cronies. It's all about 'two-way Kevin', 'something-for-everyone Kevin', etc. I had the misfortune of catching Lackey Downer on Lateline last night getting characteristically putulant and pursed-lipped about Krudster never making the 'hard' decisions of Government - you know, in the way that the US decides something and then J-Ho and Lackey make the 'hard' decision to agree and go along with them on everything, all the time. Funny how after 11 years of this government, the other mob putting forward options of compromise and accommodating both sides where possible appears weak, because it's not ruthlessly single-minded or parochial.

Anyway, back to water. My former Premier Mike Rann is a bit of a knob at the best of times - and I'm REALLY not a fan of his government - but I think his idea of an independent, Reserve Bank-type regulator for the Murray-Darling basin is spot-on. This is an issue that's too important to be corrupted and fucked around by politicians hunting for voter mileage points.

And you can understand why Rann is the person to come up with an idea like this: His State interests goes far, far beyond defending unpractical industries that over the years should have been slowly and steadily dismantled - that is, essentially irrigating rice and cotton crops in a desert. The eastern states seem to forget that the MD basin is the source of Adelaide's drinking water. It's hard and it tastes like shit, yes, but ultimately we're weighing up some farmers having to find new work against over a million South Australians having no drinking water. Honestly, you gotta have some perspective about these sorts of things.

Bill Shorten nailed it in an Oz op piece on Monday. Money quote:

It's time to bite the bullet on cotton and rice. Is it really sustainable to keep farming these high-water, flood irrigation, low-yield crops in places such as the parched Murray Darling Basin?
The answer of course is no - but it's also not sustainable for the Libs' coalition partners, the Nats, to support this measure come election time. Shorten offers a viable solution -

We'll need to help farmers through this period of structural adjustment; in the same way we helped workers and employers in the car industry and the textile industries in the 1980s. The Prime Minister must show some leadership and buy water entitlements from cotton and rice farmers, compulsorily if necessary.


- but that's just not gonna happen, is it?

Howard really, really hates not getting what he wants, and this is no more evident than now when only Premier Dilemma is immediately bending to his will and signing up to handing over his State's powers to the Commonwealth, no further discussion entered into. The States and the Commonwealth being able to work harmoniously to devise a feasible solution to this crisis would make a pleasant change for we plebs down here who've become sentimentally attached to old-fashioned, romantic notions of drinking, showering, cooking, etc.

It really is a case of the PM fiddling while Australia dries up. The premiers aren't much better, but they deserve to be heard.

4 Comments:

At 21/2/07 3:08 pm, Anonymous David said...

It is all the drought's fault. If it wanted to be addressed it should have held off until after the election when achieving a suitable outcome might take precedence over political point scoring.

 
At 21/2/07 3:53 pm, Blogger Splatterbottom said...

Sam: Take as long as you like with your pissing contest over this, boys

Is this a new way of making drinking water? Although many of us respect Ghandi, not everyone shares his drinking habits.

 
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