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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

questioning drought relief « Previous | |Next »
October 21, 2006

Clive Hamilton was right.

The current policy of taxpayer handouts to farmers confronting a lack of rain in semi-desert regions should be questioned. Part of that questioning is do away with the conservative mythology about our national character (Australianness) being forged in the battle of man against Nature and, although the climate (drought) sometimes defeats us, real Aussies doing it tough will find the courage to rise again, stronger than before, to continuing the taming of nature to make deserts bloom. If we do then we can begin to look at what is going on on the land.

If the dry conditions turn out to be the rule and not the exception (ie., the drought is an early sign of global warming on this interpretation), then drought relief needs to be tied to ensuring agricultural sustainability. When drought affected land becomes arid land or desert, then non-viable farmers should be eased off the marginal land (structural reform); or if they continue to stay on the land, then they should be doing remedial environmental work for getting the dole. Mutual obligation applies here.

Why keep farmers on a drip feed of drought relief when the land is a dustbowl? Doesn't that deepen their misery and intensify the land degradation? Aren't many arid parts of Australia not suitable to intensify farming. Why continue the subsidy of cheap water prices for irrigators when a water shortage is looming due to climate change.

This shows that what is needed is a blueprint for tackling climate change that goes beyond the current spruiking of nuclear power as clean and green. Climate change is also about water.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:30 PM | | Comments (6)


I've never read so much unAustralian rubbish!

What next? Sportsmen aren't gods? Steve Irwin wasn't the greatest environmentalist the world has seen? Everyone to put on an Australian Army uniform is not an ANZAC hero?

It's sedition, that's what it is!

criticism of a public policy or a lack of it is unAustralian? Is that the assertion? You come across as either a troll , or a partisan attack dog wanting to collect a scalp and who cares absolutely nothing about how this bad policy of agrarian socialism might affect the public good of Australia.

I don't recall Steve Irwin--- the Australian bush character--- saying much about the effect of climate change on farms, biodiversity or the flows of the River Murray. He was notable for his silence on these public policy issues for all his concern for wild animals and their habitat.

Huh? Whaaaaaat?

You traitor! Now I DARE YOU to say that Kylie Minogue isn't the sexiest woman on earth!

It seems that perhaps my sarcasm is a teensy bit too dry...

why do I need to say that? I see no reason why my masculinity is online over my judgement about Kylie Minogue as a sex goddess for Australian conservatives adopting a persona of a troll or a partisan attack dog.

May I suggest that you read what I have written on the pop princess over at Junk for Code

It's not that I find your sarcams too dry for my taste. It's more that I find your sarcasm to be a distant echo from an early Frank Zappa album, or a late Sex Pistols album.

I think I live in the same country as some people who have the time to write crap on blog boards. Seriously, it makes me sad. Sometimes you see those same people on TV. Mostly they have highly paid, fixed income jobs, live in the city and blame the rural community for such things as water shortages and draining the government purse. Last night on 60 Minutes another expert blamed the water shortage at Bourke on cotton production further upstream taking too much water. Er Homer, the drought is Australia wide. Another blog writer stated that climate change was the cause of the problem, at least in Perth. All this of course is further proof that there should be a law against being dumb and ugly.


it is an open question whether "the drought" is just something temporary as many in the farming world presuppose, or whether the dry conditions represent something normal --the drying out of Australia due to global warming. We do not have the evidence to say it's either one or the other definitely.

the water shortages downstream are not just due to the drought---in the sense of a lack of rain. It is widely accepted (though not amongst Nationals) that there has been an overallocation of surface and groundwater water in the Murray-Darling Basin by the various state governments.

Perth's rainfall has been decreasing over the last decade --that is why the city has to start building desalination plants. I do not see that kind of response to the city's lack of water as being a dumb response. It is a very rational and considered response.

What is dumb is Sydney refusing to recycle its storm water which drains away to the sea.