Fighting over access to water is one of the biggest political pastimes in Australia, given water scarcity, an arid climate, and the threats posed by climate change. Today’s Australian Financial Review (AFR) has an item on the never ending fight over the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. This installment concerns provocations by National Party leader and Deputy-Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce over withholding 450 gigalitres from downstream users in South Australia and the displeasure about it by Senator’s led by South Australia’s Nick Xenophon. The dispute has polluted another important Liberal government agenda — kneecapping construction industry unions, which is the subject of today’s AFR story. It is the name calling by the various surrogates, though, that is entertaining. It is reported thus:
One National told The Australian Financial Review that Mr Joyce’s actions “made him a hero in the regions” and “the Liberals can go and get stuffed”. He said the Nationals were not fussed about the ABCC [the planned construction industry inquiry] and said the government should not give in to Senator Xenophon.
“South Australia’s biggest export is extortion,” he said.
Similarly, Senator Leyonhjelm said not a drop of the disputed 450 billion litres should be sent down the Murray because it would hurt irrigators upstream.
“Nick can go and get f–ed, South Australia has no right to claim any more water,” he said.