The Albanese government should take note of last week's election result in the Netherlands, where leftist anti-agriculture policies have largely contributed to a victory for conservative politics.
In Australia, farmers are starting to rally against a government which does not respect agriculture, nor care for the communities which rely on food production for their survival.
Last week in regional NSW we saw thousands of people rally against changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan that will tear the heart out of our nation's food bowl, unless they are stopped in the Senate.
We have a campaign gaining momentum from the National Farmers' Federation, urging action to "Keep Farmers Farming" and "Keep Towns Thriving". In the Netherlands, farmers have been battling government legislation which threatened their existence for about four years, and at last the general populace, offered its support at the ballot box.
In Australia, farmers cringe when they hear or read about our government being concerned with the cost of living crisis, at the same time as it introduces a raft of policies that are reducing food production and therefore permanently increasing the price at the supermarket.
Soon, those in the city will surely also wake up to this fact.
Our farmer revolt is only just beginning, and if the Netherlands is a guide, "anti-ag Albo" needs to change his approach and stop the momentum, or risk the same ballot box rejection as his Dutch comrade.
Former MIA resident
Basin Plan constitutional research provides food for thought
After attending the water rally in Griffith, I played around on my phone googling basic principles of the Constitution and the legislation proposed by Labor to take more water from the Murray-Darling Basin (I'm a teacher in Griffith - so nothing serious).
But what I came across leaves me believing the Water Act 2007 of which the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is based, is unconstitutional.
Section 100 makes clear the state government is responsible for water".
And as it turns out, it is no accident, s 100 was fashioned to give positive legislative authority to the Commonwealth Parliament in respect of:
However, the Water Act 2007, doesn't address the fact the Authors of the Constitution thought about the way water was to be managed by the States. With the authors wanted the Commonwealth simply to regulate travel - thus the insertion of s100.
Instead, the Water Act relies on 2 other sections of the Constitution to be enforceable, while making no reference to Section 100.
The sections relied upon are:
1) Section 122, in that, "The Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory surrendered by any State to and accepted by the Commonwealth".
2) Section 51, "The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:
i) trade and commerce with other countries, and among the States;
v) postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and other like services:
viii) astronomical and meteorological observations;
xi) census and statistics;
xv) weights and measurements; foreign corporations, and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth
xx) railway construction;
IN OTHER NEWS:
xxix) external affairs; and, xxxix) matters incidental to the execution of any power vested by this Constitution in the Parliament or in either House thereof, or in the Government of the Commonwealth, or in the Federal Judicature, or in any department or officer of the Commonwealth.
I am not convinced the states had the legal right to surrender an entire Section of the Constitution, effectively dismantling a significant portion of The Constitution.
In fact, doing so significantly alters the very considered Original Intent and Expectations of The Constitution authors. Authors who had considered the National Interest of the Murray-Darling Basin
I am aware of no challenges to this principle.
I also question how the state could solely be responsible for surrendering Section 100 when there is specific emphasis that water decisions are not just under the control of the State, but also "the residents."
I believe there is due grounds for the Court (eventually the High Court) to review the Water Act 2007 and to determine if the legislation and the resulting billions of dollars spent on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan were in fact legal.
What our regions need now is for a well-funded and well-supported litigant to step forward who can demonstrate loss due to the enactment of the Water Act 2007, so that it can be determined by the courts that legislative enactment was unconstitutional.
Ultimately, this is where the efforts of the irrigation lobby would be of most use in the fight to preserve our irrigation communities within the Murray-Darling Basin.
"Why are politicians help bent on hanging us out to dry?"
What are the environmental benefits of Minister Plibersek's 450 GL water buybacks?
Where is this "the environment"?
For those of us who understand the geography of where our water goes, "the environment" seems to be where it all gets flushed out to sea through what was once an estuary, past the barrages in South Australia.
So what about Australian staple food production in a drought year if these buybacks occur and water is removed from our productive irrigation regions?
Where does this leave struggling city or town folk finding it difficult to put food on the table?
It's possible that plentiful, high quality Australian grown food will become an icon of the past.
As a friend of mine once reminded me "this Murray-Darling Basin Plan is madness mate".
Why is it that our politicians are so hell bent on hanging all of us out to dry rather than creating win-win infrastructure solutions?
In our valley (the MIA), we have the opportunity to utilise an existing, natural depression called Lake Coolah located in Narrandera shire.
This area could be efficiently used to place water at the end of the irrigation season in June and then used to water crops in spring.
This would save air space in the existing dams for "environmental water" and allow Australian family farms to produce an income by growing food and fibre.
Other benefits of Lake Coolah include increased bird and wildlife habitat, reduced impact on the already high flows in the Murrumbidgee River due to the poor management of the "environmental flows" and of course recreational and tourist values.
So what's stopping this damn good idea?
Water corporations and even government departments find it easier to trade water to the highest bidders than to deliver it to the environment or staple food crops that feed our people.
Supply and demand drives the price wars, which creates a sense of greed for corporate management despite having grower elected boards.
Government corruption and greed is another, with many not declaring water interests and being able to have their cake and eat it too.
This greed only makes it hard for the rest of us, struggling to survive and hurts all of us in the longer-term.
I am sure if all parties were able to focus on the damn good ideas like this one then surely we could all be productive.
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