You can’t blame the drought for corrupt water management.

No doubt by now you have all seen this photo, and others like it. That’s a Murray cod, like all its relatives it has survived droughts, damming of rivers, irrigation pumping and more. But this summer it died, along with thousands of other fish, because river flows in NSW are so depleted there’s just no oxygen left in the water.

Australians, or most of them, tend to go around with their heads up their bums most of the time, until a disaster grabs their attention for a few minutes. After a brief flurry of outrage and a bit of “they have to do something about this” comment on social media it’s all quickly forgotten. After the five seconds of outrage at least  45% of  Australians will keep on voting for the same conservatives who are responsible for the disaster.

The current crisis with the rivers in the eastern states has been developing for a few years now, but until this week’s fish deaths hardly anyone noticed or cared.

I blame it all on Barnaby Joyce, David Littleproud, their water-hoarding cotton-growing mates and above all, on the NSW government.

In this video Menindee resident Dick Arnold and Rob stand in the Darling river above weir 32 each holding a hundred year old fish. These Murray cod have lived through the highs and lows of this system however could not survive this man made disaster.

The NSW “Liberals and Nationals” government decided to reconfigure the Menindee Lakes last year. Part of the process involved the decommissioning of the pipeline that fed Broken Hill from the lakes. Instead of providing water to Broken Hill and Pooncarie, and a thriving irrigation farming industry, the water would be diverted to cotton farmers upstream. Many of those huge, water-guzzling cotton farms are overseas owned.

Others that are Australian-owned have had their CEOs charged with corruption.

The Menindee pipeline was to be replaced by a pipeline carrying water from the Murray River to Broken Hill. A pipeline from an already depleted river, placing more strain on a river already struggling to cope with demands on its flow.

Only a government as incompetent and as corrupt as the Berejiklian government could come up with such a stupid idea.

In 2017 Four Corners ran this program –

Pumped: Who’s benefiting from the billions spent on the Murray-Darling?

As usual with exposes like this there was the usual brief spate of outrage and then everyone – or almost everyone – went back to sleep until this week, when all those images of dead fish were all over the media.

The Australia Institute didn’t go back to sleep. They produced this, in June 2018, on mismanagement of the scheme . Result? Crickets from those in a position to make changes.

The Basin Files
Maladministration of the MurrayDarling Basin Plan: Volume I
“Since allegations of large-scale water theft were aired on Four Corners in 2017, a flood of media reports have shown that the $13bn Murray-Darling Basin Plan is not being well implemented: agency coverups, political and regulatory capture, agencies with cultures of non-compliance, dodgy water deals, alleged fraud and unlawful amendments.”

Click to access P531%20The%20Basin%20files%20Vol%20I%20%20%5BWEB%5D.pdf

This file contains a huge amount of relevant links.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was yet another Labor initiative destroyed by the ATM government.

Residents of Walgett are living on the banks of a dry river. Water that would normally flow down the Barwon River, even during a drought, has been diverted and hoarded by upstream cotton mega-farms. They are relying for water on a rather dodgy bore that produces water too saline for drinking. The bore was taken out by a lightning strike a week ago and the residents had to go without any water at all for a day. That meant no air conditioning in almost 40 degree heat. Walgett residents use evaporative air coolers, they need water to run. No water = no air conditioning. I’ve lived out west, just under 150 km east of Walgett, , and I can tell you cooling is essential in summer out there. So is drinking water. The situation is so bad in Walgett that private citizens are appealing for funds to buy bottled water which they will drive to Walgett. The NSW government doesn’t want to know and won’t help.

You can’t blame Walgett’s water problems on the drought. You can, however, blame them on corrupt water management and on the interventions over the past five years of Barnaby Joyce, his successor, David Littleproud and the rotten-to-the-core NSW government, with willing help from the Queensland government. Littleproud, until his marriage fell apart, was married to the second cousin of one of the owners of Norman Farms, a cotton-growing mega-company and a very corrupt one. A responsible Prime Minister would never have made a man with such an obvious conflict of interest his Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, but Turnbull did exactly that. Morrison kept him in that position and gave him the added responsibility of  Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Drought Preparation and Response. Talk about putting a fox in the henhouse!

Meanwhile, much further south in NSW, the coal-loving NSW government is refusing to admit underground coal mines have been stealing Sydney’s water for years. ‘No place for mining’: coal mines drain water from dams.

Gas drilling companies across NSW and Queensland are still being given unlimited access to water, especially artesian water, and their drilling is damaging the Great Artesian Basin, but our governments, state and federal, just don’t care.

What will it take to make our state and federal governments wake up? When will they realise this is a very dry continent and our water resources are precious,too precious to be frittered away on industries we simply cannot support, industries like cotton growing and gas mining.

698 thoughts on “You can’t blame the drought for corrupt water management.

  1. The mass fish kill crisis in New South Wales is now affecting the state’s north with thousands of carcasses found on the banks of Lake Inverell.

    The federal government has launched a review into why up to a million fish died along the Darling River at Menindee, in the state’s west, earlier this month.

    It will also analyse how future deaths can be avoided within the parameters of the Murray-Darling basin plan.

    But the NSW government on Tuesday night confirmed thousands of fish have since been found dead almost 900km away along the Macintyre River, one of the basin’s northern-most catchments.

  2. I needed a laugh!

    Guess who is a “professional advisor” at Wazza’s outfit? His wife, Elizabeth Henderson. Her blurb makes no mention of her relationship to Wazza.

    So both of them are paying themselves with government funding. How very Liberal Party!

    Now I’m wondering how the very white and totally non-indigenous Ms Henderson can be a Director of the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce. Were there no suitable indigenous persons available?

    • Sounds like Rupert has set up an Institute of Public Affairs in the UK to direct the public conversation on the BBC

  3. Bridget McKenzie reckons Captain Cook first stepped ashore on 26th Jan. Scott Morrison reckons Captain Cook circumnavigated Australia. And I reckon if you’re spending millions of taxpayer $ on ‘celebrating’ a historical event, you should probably know the basic facts about it.— Wil Stracke (@WilStracke) January 22, 2019

    But, hey …

  4. They’re still having fun and the longer May goes on the worse it will get

    The scale of no-deal panic gripping major companies has been thrown into sharp focus by a series of damage-limitation announcements, as corporate Britain signalled it is running out of patience with Westminster gridlock.

    Sir James Dyson, the Brexit-backing billionaire, dealt a further blow to the government by revealing he is shifting his company headquarters to Singapore in a move that drew sharp criticism.

    Dyson’s decision to move his HQ out of the UK came on a day in which a series of high-profile names revealed measures to mitigate the impact of a disorderly departure from the EU:

    • P&O announced that its entire fleet of cross-Channel ferries will be re-registered under the Cypriot flag, as the 182-year-old British maritime operator activated its Brexit plans.

    • Sony confirmed it is moving its European headquarters from London to Amsterdam.

    • The chief executive of luxury carmaker Bentley said the company was stockpiling parts and described Brexit as a “killer” threatening his firm’s profitability.

    • Retailers Dixons Carphone and Pets at Home announced plans to shore up supplies in the event of chaos at British ports.

  5. It’s finally gone to trial

    A deputy commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office allegedly shared confidential information with his son in circumstances where he had a clear conflict of interest, a Sydney jury has heard.

    Michael Bede Cranston, 59, is on trial in the New South Wales district court after pleading not guilty to using information he obtained as a deputy commissioner, and exercising influence in the capacity of his role, with the intention of dishonestly obtaining a benefit for his son.

    Crown prosecutor Peter Neil SC, during his opening address on Wednesday, said one of the charges related to allegations Cranston had instructed a staff member to search for information on an audit after a request from his son, Adam, in 2017.

    He said that, on the crown case, Cranston should have “recused himself” immediately from his son’s request about the audit into another taxpayer, with whom Adam Cranston had a commercial connection or relationship.

    Instead, when the staff member could not access the blocked information, Cranston informed his son, the jury heard.

    “There was, on the crown case … a disclosure of confidential information in a circumstance of clear conflict of interest,” Neil said.

    He said the second charge involved an allegation that Adam Cranston, later in 2017, asked his father for help in relation to tax issues involving a company named Plutus Payroll.

    There would be evidence that the ATO had issued a large tax assessment against the company and orders that had the practical effect of freezing company accounts, the jury heard.

    Neil said Cranston’s son, who had a commercial interest in the problem being resolved, sought his help in organising an urgent meeting with people at the ATO.

    The crown case is that Cranston, who was at a “very high level” within the tax office, agreed to see what he could find out and exercised his influence by contacting an assistant commissioner for assistance.

    But defence barrister David Staehli SC said it would not be proven that Cranston “believed he had no right to make the contacts which he did”.

    Cranston disputes that he “acted in any way dishonestly in relation to either of these charges”, the lawyer said during his opening address.

    He told the jury Cranston’s role included dealing with disputes and making sure the office’s pursuit of taxpayers was reasonable.

    In relation to the first charge, Cranston merely asked what audit area the matter was in, which did not lead to a disclosure of details about what the dispute was from an ATO perspective, he said.

    The trial continues.

  6. This is why FauxMo is not in Davos. He knows he can’t defend his head-in-the-sand attitude to climate change so rather than turn up and face criticism he’s staying home.

  7. I was listening to David Gregory, former president of the Berry branch. He resigned because of Mundine. Well worth listening to him if you find the tape. I’ve never heard a Liberal speak so genuinely. Was on ch 24.

    • I couldn’t find the whole thing, just some snippets on various news reports, but it was enough to know Gregory was very angry. An “idiotic decision” by FauxMo, he called it.

  8. I wonder, would Morrison have been so keen to parachute Mundine into Gilmore if he (Mundine) wasn’t ex Labor.
    Is it more tricky shit by scummo attempting to rag the ALP?

    • He probably thought he was being immensely clever, but it has all blown up in his face.

      Mundine left the Labor Party ages ago, in 2012. The general feeling at the time seemed to have been “thank goodness”. Mundine had had a huge and very public sook about being passed over in favour of Bob Carr for the Senate seat vacated when Mark Arbib resigned.

      You could say he went off in a huff. He was already leaning towards the dark side, involved with Twiggy Forrest and courting Gollum Henderson’s daughter.

      He was desperate to get a seat in parliament, and he said he’d never get one from Labor. Labor dodged a huge bullet by not giving him that seat.

      You have to wonder who suggested Mundine as a suitable candidate for Gilmore to FauxMo. Was it Mundine himself? I bet it was.

    • Lots of phone calls between FauxMo and Mundine?

      A secret visit by Mundine to the Shoalhaven, where FauxMo was conveniently taking a family holiday?

      From FauxMo -“How would you like to represent this area, Wazza?. I could parachute you in, mate.”

  9. Someone was asking what Australians at Davos

    On the political side, Australia is fielding Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham and Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo.

    None of those would be fielding close to the wicket.

    Not an issue for the environment woman or the Prime Muppet.

  10. Appalling behaviour from Gladys, Barilaro and Blair – the meeting was arranged two weeks ago, but Blair and Barilaro made sure they were out of town today and Gladys said she didn’t know. Lies and cowardice.
    Ignore what Gladys said about her government doing all they can Nothing is being done.

    Great way to go to an election in eight weeks. The NSW government must be desperate to lose.

  11. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. It’s going to be real stinker of a day here!

    Eryk Bagshaw tells us how the confidential electoral roll data of more than 16 million Australians is being used by buy-now-pay-later providers, debt collectors, marketing giants and betting agencies. Something smells here and Home Affairs is right in the middle of it.
    The NSW state government is being urged to block the sale of the prime harbourside Sirius public housing building to the developers behind the cracked Opal Tower in Olympic Park.
    John Ruddick writes, “Don’t blame Mundine, blame the Liberals’ anti-democratic faceless men”. He states that the dysfunction in the NSW Libs has continued and today is at its high watermark.
    Michael Koziol reports that the ousted Liberal candidate for Gilmore, Grant Schultz, has returned fire, calling the Prime Minister’s claim ” false, baseless and unprovable”.
    Richard Denniss asks, “Will Bill Shorten’s tax strategy make him a winner or cost him the election?”
    Morrison’s attempt to upgrade 26 January’s national significance, despite growing opposition from Indigenous Australians, reflects its appropriation by right-wing extremists, writes Peter Henning.,12304
    Officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra were alerted to concerns that Australian-Chinese writer Yang Hengjun may be in the custody of Chinese secret police. This is described as Canberra’s biggest nightmare.
    The SMH editorial is quite concerned about the revelations about the receipt of gifts and lavish treatment by ASIC and ACCC staff.
    The heads of key Commonwealth departments are withholding from public view the details of gifts and hospitality public servants receive from businesses and other organisations, against the advice of the Auditor-General.
    A former judge of Victoria’s highest court has attacked the Coalition’s proposal for an anti-corruption body, describing it as a sham designed to shield politicians and public servants from scrutiny.
    Greg Jericho’s contribution today is headlined, “All flexibility, no security: why conservative thinktanks are wrong on the gig economy.”
    Tensions simmered in Davos as global leaders slung barely-veiled broadsides at Donald Trump’s America First agenda.
    Clancy Yeates explains how the embattled wealth giants AMP and IOOF could face more than $2 billion in combined costs from cleaning up problems in their financial advice business, analysts have estimated, in a sign of the potential for large compensation payouts in the coming years.
    The volcanic effects of a no-deal Brexit would have unthinkable consequences for the global financial system and must be avoided at all costs, the leader of the world banking union has warned.
    The unexpected breakdown of a generating unit at AGL’s brown coal power station in Victoria threatens to push the already stretched grid close to breaking point.
    Having been accused of political bias, John Lord examines how deeply this concept is ingrained in our news media.,12303
    Jess Irvine reports that the Productivity Commission has begun work on its next landmark inquiry, into the economic and social costs of mental illness – and this one will be different in that it will be able to put a precise number on the true cost of failing to adequately care for those in our community experiencing mental ill health.
    Stephen Koukoulas wonders if Australia has fallen into a per capita GDP recession.
    A fight on climate and transport looms for Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah, with Malcolm Turnbull’s former infrastructure adviser taking on the former prime minister by expressing concerns about a major road development, saying more needs to be done to prevent “dangerous” climate change risks, and in raising scepticism about Labor’s proposed tax changes.
    Sarah Hanson-Young sends us a postcard from the edge of the Murray Darling’s ecological disaster. It’s not nice.
    The ACCC has urged 94,000 NBN customers to see if they are eligible for a refund after the ACCC found that half could not get the fastest two speeds.
    Meanwhile David Ross tells us that Australian Netflix users are suffering from buffering, with little hope of a solution in sight as our nation’s beleaguered internet infrastructure continues to choke under the weight of growing demand for online streaming services.
    Alexandra Smith looks at how the NSW Legislative Council might line up after the election and concludes that the balance of power will rest with a gaggle of right wing minors.
    An new young and charismatic far right woman has surfaced to challenge Macron.
    The Australian says that the chief economist for the government’s 2014 Financial System Inquiry has called for dividend franking credits to be overhauled, hitting out at the “significant economic distortion” created by excess credit refunds for investors who pay no tax.
    A new pathway for the global energy transition shows how the world can meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C warming goal without relying on carbon capture and storage, by creating a renewable gas industry.
    Tony Featherstone asks, “If data is the new boom asset for business, why do we give it away freely? And should companies pay us to collect, analyse and make money off our data?”
    Stephen Bartholomeusz tells us why Europe could be the next trade war for Trump.
    Under the Antarctic ice, in the pitch-black depths of the ocean, Australian scientists have discovered animals are evolving into strange and sometimes monstrous new shapes and forms. Life, these scientists believe, is using the frigid Antarctic waters to experiment, and animals there are evolving at a much faster pace than anywhere else in the world.
    Murders of women in public spaces by strangers are not commonplace. And murders in Australia in general are on the decline. Compared to many countries, Australia is a safe place.
    The city’s median house price is almost $120,000 lower than a year ago, putting Sydney in the midst of a sharp downturn.
    Trump’s America is descending into a nice place.
    A powerful House committee now led by Democrats has launched an investigation into the Trump administration’s use of security clearances, accusing the White House and the 2016 presidential transition team of “grave breaches” in the process that awards access to some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets.
    Gideon Haigh is very happy with the infusion of youth into the Australian test cricket team.
    And for “Arsehole of the Week” nomination we have this sicko . . .

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe on the US government shutdown.

    Cathy Wilcox takes Morrison to the skies over Gilmore.

    From Matt Golding.

    A great piss take on Morrison’s Captain Cook gaffe here from Mark David.

    As does Peter Broelman.

    Zanetti goes to Indonesia.

    Sean Leahy with Oscar nominations from Queensland.

    Alan Moir has a solution for Morrison’s woes.

    From the US

    • Absolutely.

      I was reminded of that a few days ago, when the forces of darkness masqueraded as a union and tweeted some nasty stuff about Kelly O’Dwyer, in which the word “bitch” was used. The outrage from the right was intense. It was fake outrage, because the right had intended to whip up some loathing of unions. (The election campaign is going to be filthier than the Augean Stables.) Sally McManus spent a lot of time tweeting about this fake union and asking her followers not to retweet it.

      Those responsible chose to ignore the way they and the media had treated Julia Gillard.

      Being referred to as a bitch was very mild, considering the abuse Julia endured.

  12. Missiles and weapons left behind terrorists found in Damascus Countryside

    Damascus Countryside, SANA- Authorities on Wednesday discovered large amounts of weapons and ammo left behind terrorists, including mortar launchers, LAW missiles, Western – made sniper rifles in Damascus countryside.

    Speaking to SANA’s reporter, a source from the authorities said that while combing operations in the areas which had been liberated by the Syrian Arab Army , the authorities found large amounts of weapons and various munitions from the terrorists’ remnants in Damascus countryside and its surrounding.

    The seized weapons included various types of RPGs, anti-tank missiles , including 14 LAW missiles, Western –made sniper rifles and more than 2,000,00 rounds of machineguns and rifles, in addition to a satellite transmitter and a number of machinegun binoculars.

  13. Guardian Reports More “Good News”, Kids are Dying in Venezuela

    he Guardian’s Tom Phillips’ article “Venezuela Crisis Takes Deadly Toll on Buckling Health System” (January 06, 2019) is more good news for US psychopaths, such as Trump, Bolton and Pompeo. Children are dying in Venezuela. Sanctions are working!

    Tom is becoming the Luke Harding of Venezuela. Luke…err, Tom blames all of Venezuela’s problems on president Nicolas Maduro. Tom has piled on, repeating the Washington Consensus vilifying Maduro……that is what “repeaters” do.

    If Maduro is illegally and violently removed from office, what will come after? Probably chaos, since there is no united opposition. Chaos is what the US desires, because chaos gives the US an excuse for interventions. A dysfunctional opposition then gives the US the power to be the kingmaker. The US has a self-proclaimed “right” to intervene anywhere, anytime in Latin America, according to the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, and the 1904 “Big Stick” Roosevelt Corollary.

    US doctrines do not become internationally laws, and instead usually violate international law. Doctrines are just a “wish-list” of US foreign policy. The main US foreign policy objective is to promote US corporate exploitation of foreign countries.

    If the US gets its way in Venezuela, then Venezuela will be ruled by oligarchs, dictators or the military. The Venezuelan people overwhelmingly rejected the 40-years of oligarchy, when they elected Hugo Chavez in 1998. Chavez ran for election on a socialist platform. The US has been trying to overthrow Chavez’s socialist movement from the first moment Chavez took office.

  14. The bribing begins as FauxMo looks at ways to spend the millions set aside in MYEFO for election campaign largesse.

    Scott Morrison eyes pre-election cash splash for oldies

    The Morrison government is considering cash handouts to pensioners and lower income families, in a desperate pre-election move to lift its dwindling support among voters.

    The government has asked senior advisers to develop two potential one-off payments, according to uncontrolled leaks from Canberra to The Australian Financial Review.

    The first option it wants worked on is a single payment to age pensioners.

    A second option is a cash injection for families.

    Intended one-off payments would target people who won’t directly benefit from the Coalition’s $144 billion in legislated personal income tax cuts being phased in over six years.

    The “pork barreling” for pensioners and/or families, which would call into question the government’s claims of fiscal responsibility, could be unveiled in the scheduled April 2 budget, if the government ultimately announces the temporary payments.

    The payments could be delivered to voters before an election is expected to be held in May.

    Getting one-off cash payments out the door before June 30 would not hinder the government’s pledge to return the budget to surplus in 2019-20.

    It is understood the Morrison government began canvassing the new payments in December and early January.

    Contacted for comment, the government did not deny it was considering the potential measures

    Try an incognito window for the rest of the article, Outline won’t work.

    I’m glad the AFR used the word “desperate”, because that’s exactly what this is, a desperate tactic from a fool desperate to hang on to government.
    A couple of comments on that –

    I’m more than happy to take the money, it makes up a little bit for this government’s Medicare cuts and their failure to keep pensions in line with the rising cost of living, but nothing on earth will ever make me vote for anyone who is a Lib or a Nat.

    FauxMo is nuts if he thinks throwing a cash splash at us before the election will win him votes, he’s also a fool for doing it then. Politics 101 tells us you make promises about what you will do if you are elected/re-elected, you don’t hand out the goodies ahead of an election.

    And – just as well he’s doing it ahead of the election anyway, if the report is accurate, because we know all about Liberal promises made during election campaigns. They are never kept, unless they are the kind that takes things away from those who most need help.

  15. When the Liberal Party’s usual cheer squad gets critical –

    They are, however, treating it like a joke “How funny”, “how kooky”, giggle giggle. It’s not a joke, it’s a corruption of the democratic pre-selection process and should be strongly condemned.

    The non-journalists get it.

    And then there’s the inconvenient issue of Mundine’s section 44 problem. There’s been a bit of chatter in the MSM about it, but it’s all glossed over as if it meant nothing. Just imagine the media uproar if a Labor candidate had a similar problem.

    The Daily Smelly is dismissing it as “a bit of Labor mud” and is saying Mundine had a “previous contract” with the government. Nope his funding is current. and runs until December 2019.

    Today’s real joke – “the Liberal Party is the natural party of the working class”.

    File that lie with “natural party for women” and “natural party for government” – the round file, of course.

  16. The first few seconds of the video are a scream, followed by some very fake cackling from Wazza.

  17. #CultureWars

    FIRE DANCE BATTLE! Old School VS New School!

    which reminded me of:

    Skinny Puppy “Pro-test”:

  18. This afternoon, at Port Botany.

    “Sydney Branch secretary Paul McAleer has just been arrested for sitting down on a picket at Port Botany protesting bosses attacks on maritime workers. We are going nowhere. The workers, united with our community, will never be defeated”

    It all sounds horribly familiar, reminds me of the Howard/Corrigan attack on wharf workers 20 years ago. Chris Corrigan now spends his time in Switzerland and Italy (nice tax avoidance tactic in operation) and is chair of Webster Limited, an allegedly Australian-owned agricultural conglomerate which grows cotton, among other crops and boats about its water holdings..

    Corrigan has moved on, from stuffing our wharfies to stuffing our rivers.

  19. The NSW government’s inquiry into the fish deaths in the Murray/Darling has been released.

    Click to access Fish-death-interim-investigation-report.pdf

    Basically the NSW government is blaming the federal government, while the federal government is blaming the NSW government for the whole thing. Neither government is doing anything to improve the situation. FauxMo, McCormack, Barnaby and Melissa Price have still not visited Menindee or Broken Hill, despite the whole thing becoming a big issue in the NSW election, which is only eight weeks away and, by flow-on, in the federal election, whenever Faux decides it will be.

    i think this disaster is too hard for both the NSW and federal governments. They don’t know what to do about it so they adopting their usual ostrich posture and are hoping it all goes away. It won’t.

    Here’s a handy thread that explains it.

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