Pollie Crackers

Attention! Attention! Barnaby-free zone ahead! (Well, almost, anyway.)

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One of your scribe’s pet jokes is to admit to only ever being wrong once, and that was the time he thought he’d made a mistake.

Of course, he hadn’t.

Most people’s eyes glaze over at this point as they struggle to understand, but it’s always a good chuckle for me.

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So it is with some apprehension I note the current movement for some degree of gun control in the USA, after assuring readers last week that, as usual, nothing would come of the Florida massacre. I really hope they prove me wrong.

The difference this time is that the push is coming from the youth of America, from the students themselves who have so often been the target of these heartless killers.

They have two significant disadvantages to overcome: the first, that many of them are too young to vote (yet); the second, that they have yet to undertake their national service which may alter their view of the world, particularly about guns. But they also have some significant plusses including their idealistic zeal for an improved way of life, and accessibility to social media.

These kids will be able to quickly mobilise themselves in great numbers right across the country, and they could bring a lot of pressure to bear on the leaden-footed powers that be.

One can only hope.

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It is a curious twist that many of the current legislators and officials in government may well have taken part in the anti-Vietnam war protests in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and some may even have been part of the flower-power generation that arose out of San Francisco.

How they respond to the social and political activism of their grandchildren will be absorbing to observe: intra-family pressure may be more difficult to ignore than pure political pressure.

The national president of the National Rifle Association (the dreaded NRA) has already come out and effectively accused the students of being manipulated by the Democrats, which immediately implies they don’t know what they’re doing. I suspect the students may take him to task and teach him a thing or two.

Remembering the old saying that “Our kids are our future,” perhaps there is hope for the USA yet.

The moral of this story? There is none, except that it never hurts to drop a big bundle into your friendly local political party.

Feather Duster No 3.

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There has been an ongoing furore over the Murray Darling Basin water sharing agreement ever since the ABC’s Four Corners program exposed the rorting and cheating by upriver interests.

What’s it all about? The overall issue is quite complex so the following explanation is necessarily simplified to match the limited comprehension of the writer.

Basically, under a federal agreement, the states of Qld, NSW, Vic and SA have settled on the volumes of water that may be extracted from the Darling and Murray Rivers (and their tributaries) for irrigation and town water supply purposes so that everyone gets a fair go.

It seems that large irrigators mainly in the upper reaches, and particularly cotton growers, have been extracting much more than their licenced quantity.

Coincidentally of course, many of these irrigators happen to be big donors to the political parties of their respective governments.

Again of course, any politician of any persuasion will tell you (watch carefully if their lips move!) that political donations NEVER influence their decisions, and it is entirely coincidental that the federal and state governments are alleged to have not checked the water meters nor monitored the volumes of water that these generous supporters have extracted.

The effect of the over-pumping has been to severely reduce the water quantity reaching SA and important environmental areas like the Menindee Lakes and the Lachlan River wetlands, but hey, who cares?

A clear case of “First in best dressed!”

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The NSW government’s response has been to initiate an “inquiry” which will probably be used to cover tracks rather than investigate breaches.

The federal government’s response has been to say that NSW is holding an inquiry. Great government buck-passing there.

Teamwork at its best! SA is trying harder with a Royal Commission.

A review of the agreed allocations has recently taken place but SA withdrew at the end, claiming they’d been dudded.

Accordingly, when the requisite amendment was put to the Senate, it was successfully opposed by Labor, the Greens and some independents.

Since then the NSW and Vic governments have threatened to walk away from the agreement because reverting to the originally agreed allocations would cost them jobs.

The trouble is, those jobs only came about as a result of breaches to licence conditions, and they were created at the expense of other jobs further downstream, particularly in SA.

The moral of this story? There is none, except that it never hurts to drop a big bundle into your friendly local political party.

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The federal minister for agriculture and water resources who was overseeing this shemozzle? None other than the neither caring nor sharing media star, Barnaby Joyce (well, I did say “almost”).

So together with a special Cheerio from his abandoned wife, he receives this week’s dedication which is “A Matter of Trust” from the great Billy Joel.

Feather Duster No 3

T Lobb

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