Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sir Henry Parkes, You Schmuck

EVER SINCE Gough Whitlam took charge in Canberra, Labor governments have not been all that keen on the states, which they see as impediments to their high-minded and ever-practical policies for national betterment. Canberra and your local council -- they have been advanced as the twin instruments of true democracy, a philosophy that, just coincidentally, gains louder expression whenever conservative state governments (and Big Ted Baillieu’s too) are in power.

This week, for example, Environment Minister Tony Burke is expected to veto a Victorian proposal that would have seen a few cows released into half a dozen fenced-in pockets of the High Country, the object being to see if they nibble on enough of the alpine scenery to reduce the risk of bushfire. The Greens don’t like the idea one bit, so the federal minister has found a few, allegedly endangered frogs which his department’s empire builders have nominated as Canberra’s justification for trumping the Victorian government’s sovereignty and intentions. The standoff will no doubt end in court. In the meantime, the recent rains will spur astonishing growth in grass, shrubs and trees, meaning more fuel to make the next fire a scorching, soil-sterilising catastrophe. The Greens will then blame that on global warming and demand a further crimping of practical, enlightened policies of bush management.

That is not the point of this post however, which has to with the folly of Federation. How much better would we all be if Australia was not one nation but a collection of rival  political entities? Competition! Genuinely local government! No need to feed that black hole for public monies otherwise known as Canberra! The conflict between free traders and protectionists need not have remained an issue, as the states would have become test beds for the rival camps’ competing views on tariffs and taxation.

Alas it was not to be, and that is the reason why the Professor, who is visiting old mate Bob On The Murray, was yesterday obliged to purchase a NSW fishing licence in order to go after Murray cod, even though the line will only be cast from the Victorian side.

And while we are on the topic of the Murray, a word of praise for the Age. And yes, that is not a joke. The paper’s Geoff Strong also has been questing for cod (and cool drinks at the Barmah Hotel, a fine spot for a spot indeed), and yesterday he actually managed to report an environmental truth. Quoting a local couple, he wrote:
...the forest was being mismanaged and that extra water allocations that had taken the supply over what he believed nature would provide had caused the forest to become choked with masses of small redgum trees, which are growing so densely that large bird and other animal habitat trees were not able to form. 

And do you want to know the funny thing? Those red gums aren’t “natural”, as Green ratbags and their unquestioning media publicists assert. Truth is, their proliferation is solely the consequence of man’s tampering with the Murray’s flow and course. 

Even with a Labor-lite premier like Ted Baillieu at the helm, Victoria might not have been faced with the Barmah Forest’s accelerating degradation if not for Sir Henry-bloody-Parkes and his mates.


  1. If Colin Barnett decides on secession I am going with him.

  2. Are you sure Ted Baillieu is a Liberal, it is almost as though Labor is still ruling the roost in Victoria.

  3. Professor, I am so gratified you have figured out how to use a wed-connected laptop in the Never Never. But don't come back. You will need to continue to develop your food-gathering skills in the wild as the Canberra hippies and the nearer anti-civilisationists who continue to attach themselves to lesser administrations are still insinuating their right to rule into all forms of social organisation from Spring Street to Westfield Shoppingtown. The next federal election needs to be a counter-revolutionary napalming of the trees to disable the new political mutants' ability to breed.

  4. Thanks for checking in Professor. Can we please have a fishing update?

  5. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.

  6. As you have discovered, Prof, the boundary is at the high water mark on the Vic side of the river! There was a case some years ago of a shooting from up there somewhere on the river bank (a NZ shearer, I think - probably with a perfidious wide comb in his pocket!) of someone on the river. The issue was: in which state was the murder committed?

  7. Did Tony Burke change his name by deed poll or has he always been a burke?

  8. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.January 18, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    If we weren't a Federation someone by now would have come up with a proposal to start making us one. We'd have the Aussie Euro. Tasmania could play Greece. Western Australia Germany. Because they're all a bit mad, Queensland could be France. NSW with its mafia strengths obviously Italy. Greenie paradise of Victoria could be Spain. South Australia, Northern Territory and ACT one each of the three little mendicant PIGs.

    We could make it an exciting board game for long evenings around the lamplight while the power grids failed in the loser states; endangered toads as player's pieces, special points for every green initiative flouted. Easy.

  9. Had Sir Henry ever envisaged the near total annexation of an entire state by the Greens, he too may have thought better of Federation, and gone fishing instead. Since when does the Constitution provide for the one state to be completely dependent on the rest of Australia for its welfare ?
    No Worries

  10. Yes, without Federation we NSWelshers would be able to charge you southerners a toll as you pass over our holy ground, on your long trek north to retire on the Gold Coast.

    Seriously though, we won't survive on this continent unless we get the fire-fuel issue right - nothing has changed it seems (I was in Melbourne for 1982 Ash Wednesday). I lament that all current science appears to be compromised by Greenie dogma and we very much need to get back to hard empirical fact. We ought to be challenging the whole notion of 'balance in nature' which seems to me the avenue through which green dogmas enter science. Is there really any 'balance' anywhere, or is that just an artifact of human anthropomorphic/panglossian percentions? A modern David Hume would take this on.