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The Australian: water politics « Previous | |Next »
February 11, 2008

Water politics brings out some strange views doesn't it? Here is an editorial in The Australian:

Politicians like to hide behind climate change, but the root cause of the water crisis in Australian cities has been the failure of successive governments to build dams. They also like their water authorities to make money, and while consumers endured tough restrictions last financial year, the water utilities of Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane paid dividends to state authorities totalling $857 million. It's time the profits were reinvested in infrastructure.

In case you missed it the root cause of the water crisis is repeated:
For householders and businesses across the nation, the water crisis has been a wake-up call against water waste. Tanks, grey water systems and recycling plans mean that water usage per capita is unlikely to climb back to pre-restriction levels. Governments, unfortunately, have not been as efficient over the years and until adequate dams are built, cities and towns, especially in growth areas, will remain vulnerable to the protracted droughts that are a normal part of the Australian climate.

How this applies to southern Australia is beyond me. There have been no rains and the dams in the Murray Darling Basin are at very low levels.

On the Australian's account the lack of water in southern Australia has little to do with rain or the over-allocation of the water that is available to subsidize irrigated agriculture.

This little snippet indicates that The Australian, in continuing to advocate conservative politics will run with the most dubious views---politicians hide behind climate change (a smokescreen) to cover their inaction over building more dams. Dam-building is what is needed to drought proof the country. It sounds like the 1950s voice of the irrigated agriculture doesn't it; one that has updated itself to speak as a climate change denialist.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:54 AM | | Comments (3)


Robert Manne describes The Australian:
"a newspaper that manages to combine the ambition of an ideologically engaged small magazine; the reckless, take-no-prisoners, smart-aleck tone of an undergraduate publication; and the financial resources of an American-based global media empire".

It would be nice if people who owe their position to the existence and lowliness of undergraduates would stop refering to them in a derogatory manner, but apart from that it's a pretty good description.

An editorial about water in the Australian is not about water at all, but about boosting an ideology.

Up here, the Labor state govt is building a pipeline between the Gold Coast and Brisbane dams so water can be shared. The Gold Coast dam is overflowing but Wivenhoe in Brisbane was built in the wrong place because dams seemed like a damn good idea at the time. It doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone that there's no point building dams if water doesn't fall into them.

On one hand the population has been very good at saving water, on the other hand the population couldn't build the required infrastructure. Up here, the 'profits' are being invested in infrastructure we need as a result of bad dam planning.

I guess Maine's "reckless, take-no-prisoners, smart-aleck tone of an undergraduate publication" refers to the innuendo, harsh attacks, Fox News bravado style favoured by the political talk show hosts of American cable networks. It's their house style.

I imagine so, although you see people using 'undergraduate' to describe all kinds of things. I don't see the point in getting too worked up about Fox News or The Australian. They are products tailored to suit the tastes of a niche market. If you're not part of that market they're only good for arguing with or seeing how the other half thinks. Both use 'news' as an excuse to sell products, advertising as well as opinions.