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A shooting star? « Previous | |Next »
May 16, 2003

Like Gummo Trotsky I missed Simon Crean's reply to the Costello budget on telly last night. Too busy getting myself hooked up to broadband. Crean's speech is here for those who like to read set pieces. It was a defining moment. It would have been nice to have seen the performance. Its the performance that counts in terms of establishing credibility.

Two comments. Labor has begun to talk about its own core social democratic convictions. Crean defended the idea of equitable access to health care and education on the grounds of them being public goods. He was strong on Medicare and sidestepped higher education with promises.

The other comment is that Simon Crean committed himself to saving the River Murray--to restoring enough environmental flows to keep the mouth of the Murray open and to restore to water. However, the $150 million down payment is a long way shsort of the $1.5-$2 billion that is needed. Ken Parish concurs.

But figures for environmental flows for the River Murray were actually mentioned---1500 gigalitres over 10 years & 450 gigalitres in the first term of a Crean Government. There was even mention of buying back water licences from irrigators, buying out farmers by RiverBank and recyclingof storm and waste water. The proposed Environmental Flow Trust to manage environmental flows is a good idea, as it takes it out of the hands of the various water authorities (SA Water in South Australia) who have EVERY interest in selling water and NO interest in restoring environmental flows. The trust will ensure that all water savings were used permanently for environmental flows and did not go back to irrigation.

This speech has enough good rhetoric and enough detail to play well in SA and would be welcomed, and talked up, by an embattled Rann Government that is very short on actionable policies to return water to the River Murray in its own state.

Margo Kingston was very impressed. Her heading was Let our rivers flow, says Simon Rightlyso because there was nothing on this issue from Howard at all even though he said water was a key priority of this term of office. Since he actually cut money in the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality, water is not a core policy issue.

Simon Crean even went further. He would stop "large and indiscriminate" land-clearing to prevent salinity and commit to legally binding greenhouse gas reduction targets by signing the Kyoto protocol. It is too good to be true.

Addition There is a great post on the Murray-Darling at Southerly Buster

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:53 PM | | Comments (1)
Comments

Comments

fyi - the delivery was verging on galvanising - certainly the best I can recall him doing since he took leadership