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We don’t need a Royal Commission – we need consequences

Whilst everyone is talking about water and demanding more inquiries, they could just read the news and save us all a lot of time and money. It’s not like we don’t know what has happened and who allowed it to happen as this article from Blogotariat in 2017 shows.

“On 1 June 2017 former NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water (23 April 2014 – 2 April 2015) and current Nationals MP for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, announced that he will retire at the next state election in March 2019.

In the wake of the 24 July ABC “Four Corners” revelations of large-scale water theft under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, Humphries has been referred to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) by the Labor Opposition.

Hot on the heels of this program came another announcement on 31 July 2017.

Former NSW Minister for Primary Industries (3 April 2011 – 2 April 2015) with responsibility for lands & water and current Nationals MP for Cootamundra, Katrina Hodgkinson, announced her retirement effective mid to late August 2017.

Hodgkinson denies any connection between her sudden retirement and those Four Corners revelations.

However it should be noted that it was on the joint watch of Humphries and Hodgkinson that the position of NSW Water Commissioner responsible for the overall management of the State’s surface water and groundwater resources was axed and the NSW Office of Water was reformed as part of the Dept. of Primary Industry maintaining overall responsibility for accepting and assessing applications to change water access licences and operating the Water Access Licence Register.

High volume water theft appears to have become easier on the watch of these two National Party politicians.

All that would be needed for a trifecta of retiring state politicians associated with water resource policy would be for the current NSW Minister for Primary Industry, Minister for Regional Water and Nationals MLC, Niall Blair, to announce an unexpected desire to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests.

Any further scandal surrounding the management water resources in the NSW section of the Murray-Darling Basin and this may well be a distinct possibility – or even more media coverage like this perhaps?

The Daily Telegraph, 2 August 2017:

A NATIONALS minister is pushing Cabinet colleagues to change irrigation laws to retrospectively justify a decision by his department to give a major political donor and cotton farmer more rights over the precious Barwon-Darling River.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal that Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair is behind a push to alter an element of the Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan.

It comes after his department in 2016 overruled what it called “minor” error in the law to grant extra irrigation rights to Brewarrina cotton farmer Peter Harris.

A department briefing, seen by The Daily Telegraph, said the error was impacting on “some users wishing to trade between river sections covered by the plan”.

The briefing was written shortly after Mr Harris was given extra rights.

Mr Harris gave $10,000 to the National Party prior to the 2011 election in combined personal donations and those made by his company.

It’s understood an internal Coalition fight has broken out between Mr Blair and current Water Minister Gabrielle Upton, who is resisting the changes. The revelations come as several inquiries have been launched into the alleged water theft on an industrial scale of precious resources across the basin…….

The Daily Telegraph has obtained another document showing that the retiring Ms Hodgkinson changed the water sharing plan to benefit irrigators after lobbying. She was water minister at the time.

In a 2012 letter to lobbyist and cotton farmer Ian Cole, Ms Hodgkinson wrote: “Following consideration of a number of WSP (water sharing plan) matter raised with me, I ­requested the Office of Water to make several amendments which I believe now present a fair and equitable outcome for all.”

The Minister for the Environment and Liberal MP for Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton‘s obvious reluctance may be due to her appreciation of a change in wind direction within the national electorate on the subject of Murray-Darling Basin water allocations.

The present Deputy Prime Minister and Australian Water Minister, Barnaby Joyce, is also in a somewhat precarious position – less to do with his manifest inadequacy as a federal minister and more to do with his stated motives for seeking to add the water ministry to his portfolio responsibilities.”

Updates to the 2017 story:

But Minister for Primary Industries, Regional Water and Trade and Industry Niall Blair on Sunday said he stands by “every decision” made around the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Number 3. Former NSW MP Katrina Hodgkinson is gunning for an unlikely lazarus-like political resurrection.

Just 18 months after walking away from NSW state politics citing family reasons, Ms Hodgkinson has declared her hand in the blue ribbon federal seat of Gilmore – a seat she has declared as “Nationals heartland”.

“Gilmore serves large country towns, small country towns and villages, each with their own community groups and issues – that’s why it’s Nationals heartland,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

The last time The Nationals held the seat of Gilmore was more than a quarter of a century ago when John Sharp was the member from 1984 to 1993.

Number 4. The unfolding #watergate scandal potentially involving Barnaby Joyce, Angus Taylor, Liberal Party donors, the Cayman Islands, and who knows who else.

I don’t know how much more journalists can do if politicians never have to face any real consequences for their shocking ineptitude. The scrutiny is there. The misdoings have been exposed.

But no-one ever does anything except call for yet another inquiry.

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  1. Josephus

    So what is to be done Kaye ? A national wifely sex strike, as apparently occurred in ancient Greece? Can we trust Labor to defend us form fossil fuel madness and cruelty to refugees, given their stance on Adani and offshore refugees? Kaye you and others expose crime but why is it that you and I would go to jail, but these corrupt and evil people don’t? Why is this country called a democracy? It is not – it is a kleptokracy, a plutocracy, a cabal of greedy and amoral people.
    Trouble is that such a view opens the way to fascism or to communism, which are no better. So? a tough and transparent ICAC with oversight will help, but what if cronies are elected to be on it? How can decent people change anything?
    An Iranian young man told me recently that 78% of Iranians hate their government, but that the only candidates up for election are stooges close to the fanatics in charge. How are we any different here?

  2. Kaye Lee

    “So what is to be done Kaye ?”

    There are times in our lives when the mountain in front of us seems too steep to climb. The only way to move forward is one step at a time. We will never reach perfection and must forgive ourselves for our limitations and mistakes.

    That being said, it is our duty to educate ourselves and others. It is our responsibility to do the best we can personally to set our own standards of integrity, compassion, sharing etc. We must make our corner of the world a safe place by being kind to each other. We must have the courage to change what we can and the strength to endure what we can’t as my dad used to say.

    We focus on the outrage and disappointment of politics and corruption but there are so many people doing amazing things to truly make our society better in real terms. Seek them out and support them.

    We have to listen to each other, be truthful with each other, earn each other’s trust.

    And stop being so greedy.

    I know that hasn’t helped answer you….as I listen to the never-ending rubbish and scandals and atrocities,I just have to remind myself that I am an optimist.

    PS I vote no to the sex ban. You guys have gotten heaps better at it since you started having sex with women rather than doing it to them.

  3. Lawrence S. Roberts

    Don’t The Federal Police read the papers and watch the box or are they not allowed to self start or maybe some other reason.
    Collars should have been felt by now or at least taken in for the rigorous questioning; an election should not stop them.

  4. Claudio Pompili

    Thank you for your words of wisdom Kaye.

  5. TuffGuy

    There have been zero consequences for ANY Lieberal corruption in the past 6 years. Putting that corruption into context I still shake my head at why Labor pushed Dastyari out (at the insistence of the Lieberals) for such a minor matter. To me it makes Labor just look stupid by playing clean rather than filthy like the Lieberals. On that note how is it the Lieberals can just sit there and say someone did nothing wrong when the corruption is clear cut? Why are there no consequences?
    Seems to be the same in the US as well with the Chump being the most corrupt, lying, cheating scumbag in history.

  6. Keitha Granville

    I ask that same question – continual calls for RCs into everything. Why can they not be made to answer for their misdeeds without the expense ? It seems absurd that ONLY a RC can force honest answers. Can we not change that? Do we have a party that is ready to change that?

    Sadly, probably not

  7. Dana

    Not sure from where I saw this quote attributed to James Connolly, Irish patriot: Governments in Capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class.

  8. Kronomex

    A Royal Commission is a “Big waste of tax payer dollars to show the public that something is (supposedly) being done, and then it’s swept under the carpet” tactic. Some bureaucrats would take the fall but the ministers get a slap on the wrist. Promises will be made to sharpen up their acts then ignored in pretty short order and it’s back to the same old crap as usual.

    Oh, for a full non-partisan Mueller style investigation into the last six years of LNP destruction, corruption, graft, etc. And then hold the same thing over the heads of Labor when they are in power. To paraphrase Monty Python, “Dream your little dreamy dreams.”

  9. Judith

    So what are we to do? I was recently introduced to this passage from Judaism which makes it clear…
    “You are not required to complete the task, yet you are you not free to withdraw from it.”
    Do the best you can.

  10. andy56

    I agree Tuffguy. Labor has been slow to learn the ropes. You play dirty, and you play to destroy your opponents. Thats been the Lieberl modus operandi for a while. Be good to see the tables turned a bit.
    Yes Dastiari seems to have committed a minor indiscretion compared to Beetrooter. I hope he makes a comeback, he is good value.

  11. Kaye Lee


    Wise words.

    It is easy to despair. We are only human and the task can seem too great for we little fallible people who have no power. But we do have power. We have the power to be the best we can, to do the best we can, and to help as best we can.

  12. wam

    I drive down Sabine Road almost everyday.and I think of the rabbott giving up sex for lent. I hope margy didn’t.

    The pink batts and union royal commissions the image has no power.
    Millions wasted for no result in those two.

    Since then, anyone think the banks cash was worth it?

    What about hundreds of millions of cash splashed without thought or outcomes?

    Politicians need to prove their worth by publishing the details of their work for all to see and question.

  13. Aortic

    I think it was Truman who said nobody gives you money and expects nothing in return. I keep saying it but am at an age where I will never see it, perhaps no one will. Publicly fund elections. Work out a formula and get on with it. Probably Abetz Andrews and Abbott will give up cycling past coal mines before this is even discussed but it is the only way to take the pervasive monetary voices of ” contributors” out of the equation. Witness Santoro and Dutton amongst others of that ilk.

  14. Josephus

    Keitha the Greens have been calling for a federal ICAC for ages. But its members must be carefully chosen- no stooges.
    Meanwhile the right wing Press demonises among others the Greens, the Australia Institute, GetUp ( though that grotesque clown is a godsend).

    Dastiari agreed to support Chinese interests instead of his country’s, some think.

    By the way Labor is preparing to allow fracking all over Queensland if it wins, and will not come clean over Adani and other coal mines. How does that distinguish it from the Coal-ition?

    Kaye, it is true that people power has worked somewhat in Sudan, in Zimbabwe, in Algeria, in Eastern Europe long ago now – the list is not long – to give up means certain defeat, yes, but how to combat apathy ?

  15. Kaye Lee

    “how to combat apathy ?”

    What I have been doing is talking to those friends and family that are politically disengaged.

    When my children’s friends come around, I talk to them about the things they may be interested in (climate change, environment, education, housing affordability, the NBN, TAFE, university fees, childcare costs etc). If there is one thing that sparks an interest, I concentrate on that rather than barraging them.

    I have been looking up for people their early polling sites and candidates for their electorate and discussing with them the name of their local member (so many don’t have a clue), and the others who are running.

    For people who are angry with the major parties, I talk to them about the integrity of the alternative candidates and the importance of thinking about their preferences.

    A tsunami is made up of millions of droplets.

  16. Ted Fensom

    A Federal Royal Commission could call on all witnesses and get Federal Police to Act under several Acts. Obviously bthe Plan is not working and States are not cooperating. The Terms of Reference should change after 4 Corners. Most of the Water Corporate and River and Bureaucratic Pirates are getting off scot free.

  17. New England Cocky

    @Kaye Lee: “How to combat apathy?” I recommend “One conversation at a time”. Try this one at a pre-polling booth this week: Women supporting National$ support Adultery.

  18. LOVO

    “A tsunami is made up of millions of droplets ” ….am so-o stealing that 😆

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