The drought is our greatest problem today. While they can’t make it rain, it is elementary that governments can move water from where it’s abundant to where it’s needed. But to refuse to do that while seriously restricting the right of the farmers ‘to the reasonable use of the water of rivers’ is, as Pauline Hanson insists, against the settlement agreed to by our Founding Fathers and embodied in the Constitution.
For decades now politicians have made heretical the harvesting of water, despite great leaders like Chifley and Menzies having done precisely that with the magnificent Snowy River Scheme.
But we are today at a tipping point as we have never been since the moment Captain Arthur Phillip put his foot on Australian soil. With manufacturing moving offshore and mining under threat, we are about to see the achievement of the apparent aim of the political class and their environmental secret police: the liquidation of the farming class just as surely as Stalin pursued the liquidation of the kulaks.
This is nothing new. Writing Give Us Back our Country eight years ago, I used a question as the name of one of the chapters; namely, ‘Why do they hate our farmers?’
The persecution of the farmers is even worse today
A true Australia leader, one with a soupçon of the greatness of Chifley and Menzies, would now do two things.
First, act with urgency to save our agriculture and second, for the long term, lead the nation towards the early implementation of the magnificent water harvesting schemes designed by the ‘three Bs’: Dr John Bradfield, who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and underground railway, Jack Beale, NSW’s first environment minister and Ernie Bridge, Australia’s and WA’s first Aboriginal cabinet minister.
Their schemes, more technologically achievable today, would turn our continent into the bread-basket of Asia and much of the world, ensuring major development outside of the bloated Eastern capitals.
Instead of pouring taxpayers’ funds into such bottomless pits as the NBN, those obsolete submarines on the never-never, the Snowy 2.0 joke, the white-elephant second airport, welfare immigration and aid to corrupt regimes, something even greater than the Snowy Scheme could be achieved.
As to acting immediately in the present emergency, that tribune of the people, Alan Jones — imbued with the very same common sense his millions of listeners and viewers share — has with exquisite simplicity signaled what is needed urgently: fodder, freight and water.
This, he says, can be achieved with both army involvement and minimum form-filling and bureaucracy. He proposes a scheme similar to the $60b HELP (previously HECS) loans to university students. Interest-free, the amounts lent are indexed and repayment instalments only begin when the borrower earns a little over $50,000.
The new scheme could also take over farmers’ bank mortgages. This should be at a reasonable discount in lieu of the option of a legislated moratorium suspending payments.
The introduction of this scheme should be immediately followed by the compulsory buyback, at the original cost paid, of all waters not attached to land. This should preferably be done by the states to avoid disputes as to the amount of compensation payable to speculators.
This would follow the precedent set when state governments were paid by Canberra to effectively steal farmer’s land without real compensation. The land was turned into totally useless carbon sinks so Canberra could tell the UN they’d reduced CO2 emissions. If politicians from both sides can do that to honest farmers, why should they have any compunction in doing this to speculators?
But when Alan Jones called on the PM to act urgently, Morrison obliquely dismissed this as panicking by telling another broadcaster he was not going to lose his head.
Then in Question Time, he completely abdicated any role for providing freight and fodder by saying this was a problem for the states.
This from the head of a government which presides over the most concentrated form of federalism in the world. Around 80 per cent of all taxes are collected by Canberra. About half of this is passed on to the states with strings attached as to precisely how it is to be spent.
And for about 100 years Canberra has taken over more and more powers reserved to the states. On almost all occasions this has occurred without the approval of the people and, on several occasions, by overruling their clear refusal in a referendum. This has been done by judicial activism, the sort of rewriting of a constitution which was a crucial issue in the US presidential election.
The result here is lamentable. It is manifestly beyond the federal politicians’ wit in such a vast country, with the detrimental ‘professionalisation’ of the political class and the capture of the principal parties by cabals of powerbrokers, to administer the federal duties the Constitution gives while also trying to exercise powers reserved to the states.
How else can we explain how the nation is defenceless, a federal power, while educational standards are collapsing, a state power over which Canberra exercises exorbitant and never-intended control ?
When it suits Mr Morrison he will, like his predecessors, ride roughshod over the states.
But when action is called for to protect our farms from collapse and their eventual takeover by speculators and sinister forces ultimately reporting to, and under the control and direction of, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), the prime minister is hiding behind what Canberra has denounced for the last 100 years, the proposition enunciated by our Founding Fathers that all specifically unallocated powers are reserved to the states.
Either under the defence power or the implied nationhood power, Canberra is more than constitutionally armed to deal, as only it can, with a national emergency.
Canberra should apply the undisputed proposition that the Snowy River Scheme was justified under the defence power. How much more could defence and nationhood legitimately support federal emergency action than when our agriculture is near collapse and we are doomed to become, overwhelmingly, net food importers.