As if more proof was needed

In March, after the self-absorbed, venal nature of Barnaby Joyce became plain for all to see, I argued that like Joyce, the National Party has sold out to big coal, big gas, big irrigators, big agribusinesses and the big fish in the small ponds of regional towns1. This has been clear to anyone who even vaguely follows politics. There is now even more support for my argument.

In giving evidence to the South Australian Royal Commission into the Murray Darling System, the former head of the Office of Water in New South Wales, David Harriss, has stated that he and others were pushed out by government ministers from the National Party for attempting to investigate water theft on the upper reaches of the Darling River. Hariss’ replacement as chief water bureaucrat closed down the ‘Special Investigations Unit’ that was charged with investigating and prosecuting those accused of water theft on the Darling River.

A NSW Ombudsman’s report from 2013, which has not been made public, recommended compliance and enforcement be improved. However, when member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries (National Party) became the junior minister with responsibility for water under the Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson (National Party), the Office of Water was told that “compliance was not a priority”. When Harriss told the minister he intended to continue implementing the Ombudsman’s recommendations, he was moved on, after 25 years of service in the Office of Water2.

In a particularly dry year, cotton farmers in the Gwydir and Namoi valleys had needed extra water to finish growing a crop, but of course preferred not to pay for it. Instead, they lobbied the minister for access to water which was supposed to be reserved for environmental flows2. This clearly demonstrates that the Nationals are under the thumb of big irrigators, and that keeping environmental flows in the Darling is of no interest to either when the system is so corrupt. It also makes it clear that any farmer in the lower Darling who relies on irrigation, or any people who rely on those farmers, and who still vote for the National Party, are either crooked or halfwits.





  • Jim says:

    There is also the small matter of very large, shallow water storages in the headwaters of the Darling River system. Apart from anything else there must be an enormous loss of water through evaporation. There are also archaic practices in other parts of the basin. About six years ago we were in Mildura and found that some of the grape vines were still being watered by overhead sprinklers–this sort of technology went out with the big bikes.. In summer this means that about half or the water evaporates before it hits the ground. Dripper systems have been used in other parts of the basin, such as the South Australian Riverland, for many years. It is hard to believe that the Federal, NSW, Victorian and Queensland governments are about looking after the Murray-Darling Basin.

    • admin says:

      I think the Murray-Darling basin ‘plan’ was just a PR stunt to give the impression of doing something, without actually doing something.

  • Christian Gavin says:

    It sounds like a similar thing with the investigation into the banks, the LNP will only do something if they are dragged kicking and screaming. Look what the investigation into the banks has shown but alas the Darling Murray issue has not gotten very far in public. It was on that ‘bloody leftard, green ridden, commie’ ABC a in 2016 or 2017.

    • admin says:

      And they must be dragged into investigating it, because they will not do it at all by themselves, because it might cost them votes. The dual citizenship debacle is a case in point. There are at least 5 and as many as 14 coalition parliamentarians who are suspected dual citizens. The government has covered up that, as you’d expect.

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