Back in 2019, Do Nothing on Dams Dan Andrews, in answer to a direct and simple question put to him by ABC Radio about why his government was committed to doing nothing on dams, provided one of his usual glib responses: “Well dams don’t make it rain.”
For rural and regional communities, especially those crying out for dams for flood and drought mitigation for decades, Budget Paper Number 2 from the Commonwealth 2022-2023 Budget makes depressing reading.
Kookaburra is a debonair master of the treeverse whose flights of fancy cover topics ranging from the highs of art and film to the lows of politics and the law. Kookaburra's ever watchful beady eyes seek out even the smallest worms of insight for your intellectual degustation!
Back in those dreary days of 2021 when we were still being locked down, Atlassian announced that its workers would need to attend at the office just four (yes, 4) times per annum ... So why has the NSW Government kicked-in $48.2m to assist in providing an office for… people who won’t be there? Especially when, as Atlassian management states in their latest Shareholder Letter, they are "Running a software company with nearly $3b in revenue".
It is often in the apparently passing statements or actions by which one can tell the make-up of a politician. And so it is with Anthony Albanese ... Mr. Albanese wishes us all to believe that he has a mandate for policies never discussed during the Federal Election Campaign. He doesn’t.
... when it came to it, when the ALP was clearly still in a minority, yet desperately wished to form Government and appoint themselves as Ministers of the Crown (nice cars, overseas trips, bigger offices, extra staff, higher pay, etc) the independents rolled-over like pussy cats wanting their bellies patted. Or should we say, five independents, three of them from rural seats, those selected carefully by the ALP, rolled-over.
Kookaburra decided that it could be helpful for readers of Australian Rural & Regional News if we were to conduct a survey of independent candidates from across rural and regional Australia to find out which party group they would support in the event of a hung Parliament.
As someone who has run as an independent candidate, Kookaburra can assure readers that the group of candidates standing for election under the banner of Climate 200 resemble true independent candidates as much as a dog resembles a cat. When I ran as an independent, there was no uncle Simon Holmes a Court freely handing out thousands, he now talks millions, for my campaign. Apparently, with no questions asked and no obligations felt. Seriously?
In order to assist readers of Australian Rural & Regional News to obtain some more policy detail from candidates running for rural and regional seats at the up and coming Federal election, Kookaburra has put together a list of questions on some critical issues which one might expect any candidate standing for Parliament to be able to answer ... 1. If you are an independent candidate, in the event of a hung Parliament, will you support the formation of a Coalition or an ALP minority government?
This item was mean to be Kookaburra's Post-Budget report, but given the costs and inconveniences of regional air travel in Australia, it is now a Pre-Budget complaint. Not being a government supported Mandarin - merely a lowly citizen - Kookaburra decided that no rational person could agree to pay the fares demanded by QANTAS to fly from Bendigo to Canberra.
The costs in human and animal suffering, infrastructure, farmland, wildlife, the list goes on, is immense. What makes it so appalling is that, with good planning, both in terms of infrastructure, such as dams, and planning laws restricting development on floodplains, much of this horrendous waste and loss could have been at least mitigated, and, I suspect, in many cases, avoided altogether.
Given the importance of AGL’s assets in the eastern seaboard energy network and the stated intention of Cannon-Brookes and Brookfield to bring AGL’s current net zero target forward by 12 years to 2035, principally by closing some of AGL’s coal-fired power stations early, Kookaburra decided to take a closer look at Cannon-Brookes and the company with which he is most associated, Atlassian Corporation plc (NASDAQ: TEAM).
In the lead-up to the G20 meeting in Rome and the COP 26 Summit in Glasgow, and after some necessarily tough negotiations with their Liberal Party Coalition partner, the National Party obtained some concessions it says are designed to prevent the 'heavy lifting' of emissions reductions being placed unduly on rural and regional Australia.
Kookaburra, along with many other Australians, is very weary of listening to pontificating doctors, health professionals, epidemiologists, chief medical officers and the whole array of health 'industry' persons talking down to the population about what we should or should not be doing. These people never ever seem able to accept that they often get things wrong. Indeed, they have made some horrid mistakes.
Kookaburra is appalled as Australia sinks into a state of fascism. Because, that is what it is. Handing over the management of a health problem to the police as has taken place in New South Wales is criminal. It is a crime against democracy. It is a crime against our citizenry. Calling in the army on top of that is outrageous. It is utterly unacceptable. Such impositions on our liberties should be met with the full force of our argument. We must strive to preserve the values in which we believe including personal liberty, freedom of speech, due process and the rule of law ... let us look at some overseas literature and commentary whilst we can, before the Covid fascists determine that such literature is banned 'for our protection'.
Gordon Wilson and Kookaburra. Several issues need to be addressed in response to the Environmental Defenders Office press release about the legal challenge to the NSW forest logging agreement ... timber is a renewable resource ... native forestry products come from "working forests" ... native forestry uses only a very small portion of Australia's native forests ... native flora and fauna co-exist with forestry
There has been much tut-tutting and pursed lip condemnation of the recent anti-lockdown protests in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane but almost no analysis of why the protests occurred ... Where is the politician prepared to come out, listen to and discuss their problems with the protestors? Sending pontificating condemnatory "statements" from afar only creates more anger. Rather than quenching the fires of dissent, the response being suggested by the NSW Government may indeed fan further flames of rebellion.
Sadly, it has become painfully clear that our political leaders have lost the capacity, and even, it would seem, the willingness, to compare the impacts of varying public policy positions. The evidence of this is in the crude lockdowns which provide an opportunity for politicians and bureaucrats to look like they are 'doing something' and that they are 'in control' when in fact neither proposition is correct.
Many Australians appear to be living in a fool’s paradise believing that they can continue to shut out the world whilst running up mountains of debt and participating in a property bubble which will one day explode. For those Australians, and there are many of them, who do not subscribe to the apparently dominant mind-set, these are deeply worrying times. Far more worrying than concern about what will inevitably be a transitory virus is the probability that our way of life will have been changed forever – for the worse.
Kookaburra has been watching with dark humour the gyrations around the News Media Bargaining Code. Much pomp and circumstance surrounded the Federal Government's announcement of its intention to rush into the fray and to become the St. George to the Google and Facebook dragons, protecting the sacred rights of Australian publishers to be supported in one way or another by ... government ... in return for ... favourable coverage perhaps?
Bad decisions are made when people are in a panic and a lot of bad decisions have been made since the advent of Covid-19. Indeed, the responses to Covid-19 seem to have been driven by a desire to 'look tough and organised', as exemplified by the myriad of often 'extreme' lockdowns and the closure of our international borders. Generally unknown-about public health regulations lurking in obscure Acts of the Parliaments around Australia have armed politicians and health bureaucrats with previously unheard of amounts of power over our daily lives.
Despite years of warnings, public protests, approaches to Ministers and Members of Parliament, and, in particular, the vocal opposition of the very active Community Action for Windsor Bridge (CAWB) group, Roads & Maritime Services in NSW insisted on building the new Windsor Bridge across the Hawkesbury River in exactly the wrong location.
The Bells Line of Road, which provides the alternative route over the Blue Mountains to the Central West from Sydney, will be closed indefinitely due to landslides caused by the recent heavy rains. This is a timely reminder of the many years of inaction on building the long overdue Bells Line Expressway ... One of the last roles held by the the recently departed former Leader of the National Party in NSW, Ian Armstrong, was as Chairman of the Bells Line Expressway Action Group. As Mr. Armstrong said in 2010 - "the road was built for a previous age".
In a lively panel session held at the ABARES Outlook 2021 virtual conference, entitled 'Improving water market outcomes in the southern Murray-Darling Basin', Mick Keogh, the Deputy Chairman of the ACCC responsible for small business and agriculture, and lead author of a report on the water market recently handed to the Federal Treasurer, alluded to the idea of establishing a water market in Australia akin to the regulatory environment of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
Kookaburra wonders how investment in the Victorian property, Minjah, by Michael Hintze's private company, MH Premium Farms, for about $36m, will sit in the minds of investors in the CQS fund which lost 33 percent of its value in March 2020 and a further 17 percent in April 2020, or the reportedly 50 staff who lost their jobs.
Early in the new year, Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT announced its intention to close Harden's St Lawrence Residential Aged Care Facility. Following the expression of strong concerns and disappointment by the aged care residents, their families and the local Harden community, as well as extensive media coverage, a meeting was convened in Harden on Friday 5 February which included the Hon Michael McCormack MP, ...
On 8th February 2021 the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council launched the Voluntary Industry Code of Practice. The Code is based on seven guiding principles for quality care and is intended to be a transformative tool for Australia’s aged care sector.
Kookaburra has noticed that the movement to create a state of Riverina has been re-charged in recent weeks. The main driver behind this movement is Mr. David Landini, a Riverina wool broker, based in Wakool ... A key issue is the Murray Darling Basin Plan which has left many rural communities very dissatisfied and fearing for their long-term survival. The reduction in the number of rural electorates is another point of focus ...
The scars of the pandemic and the substantial damage caused by the misguided response of politicians and the bureaucracy to it, such as a family unable to say farewell to an elderly relative before they die or unable to visit a newborn or people being left to die due to being banned from hospital or someone separated permanently from a partner or a young traveler abandoned overseas with no support or a business destroyed or the many other unnecessary and shameful failures of the system, will remain forever.
Kookaburra has been noticing some strange manoeuvrings in the Eden-Monaro by-election battle. The How to Votes of the candidates representing the major parties, rather like the eyes of a patient, are perhaps a mirror of deeper things.
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Launched on 26 January 2021, Australian Rural & Regional News is a platform for independent news and stories written by, for, and about people living outside Australia’s capital cities. Independent news publishers and AR&R’s own contributors share selected content.