Sunday, April 22, 2007

Monday Politics: pray for rain


Wow, Federal government water policy is going really well at the moment, as Larson _B quoted in his Letter from Canberra earlier this week:

‘Mr Howard called on all Australians to pray for rain "without any sense of irony or any sense of being anything other than totally serious" because the situation for farmers was critical.’

Interesting considering the $10 billion water plan was cobbled together by the Prime Ministers office without consulting treasury, and with very little consultation with the Department of Environment and Water Resources according to Brian Toohey writing for The Monthly. If there has been policy failure in the area of water management- the Prime Minister and his office have been largely to blame due to the centralisation of power that has taken place under the Howard government. Toohey made the following points about Howard’s scheme:

‘Had Howard sought Treasury’s advice, he would probably have been told that there are cheaper ways of increasing water supplies than spending more than $5 billion on engineering works to cut losses from evaporation and seepage.

It is also likely that taxpayers’ money will end up boosting irrigators’ private assets, as the plan contains no commitment to recover costs from irrigators. Michael Keating, and economist who previously headed the prime minister’s department and now runs New South Wales’ water-pricing authority, has said, “The gap between [the] subsidised price and the market price of water for irrigation is effectively a form of economic rent that then accrues to the irrigator, and not to the taxpayer, who pays for these improvements. The subsidy would encourage irrigators to overextend their operationsbeyond what is economically efficient.” The package also allows as much as $3 billion for buying back water licences which were over-allocated to irrigators, allowing unsustainable quantities of water to be taken from the Murray-Darling Basin. That might make environmental sense, but it also means that the National Party could deliver a large windfall to those farmers with licences which were issued free of charge.’

So it would seem that some irrigators at least will be praying for no rain in the short term at least!

American Violence

I hope the thought in every American’s heart this week was ‘When will we turn our back on profiteering from violence.’ How many people have to die before America decides that all the profits from gun sales, and all their economic wars cannot bring peace, security and hapiness to the American people, nor to the rest of the world. America has such great potential to be a guiding light to the rest of the globe by living its values, instead it settles for violence and exploitation. The events in Virginia can be a tipping point for changing attitudes towards weapons and the culture of violence that pervades American society. The left should not be shy of campaigning hard on the issue of violence right now, ‘sensitivity’ to the victims will only prolong a nations suffering. And at the same time as a gunman kills 32 people in a Viriginia College, 200 Iraqi’s die at the hands of insurgents bombs.

Prince William

Lastly there was the whole Kate Middleton/ Prince William bust up. According to Miranda Devine, Middleton has been humiliatingly exposed as the Prince’s ‘practice chick’. Although I am personally in favour of the Oliver Cromwell approach to royal-subject relations, I think she is being a touch hard on the young man. The relationship clearly failed due to the overwhelming amount of public expectations and media interest in their every move. It was just crazy. All the talk that they were going to get married, I mean, how could anybody in the media possibly have known? Then Devine ends with this strange line:
‘If Middleton had really wanted to marry William she never should have set up house with him. Smart girls don't give away marital perks free.’
Hell, I wouldn’t want to be in a creepy transactional relationship with Devine any time soon that’s for sure!


Blogger larson_b said...

Mr Howard called on all Australians to pray for rain "without any sense of irony or any sense of being anything other than totally serious" because the situation for farmers was critical.’

that's so fucking hilarious.

3:23 PM  

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