As the nation collectively threw up a little bit in their mouths over the sight of millions of dead fish choking the tainted waters of the Murray-Darling, questions of who is responsible have been floating around like… well, you know.
And in order to get to the bottom of the matter – was it certain growers getting preferential treatment at the rivers’ expense? The ravages of the drought? A mysterious vampire curse? – Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick took to the skies to see how the afflicted region was faring.
And what did he see? Well, check it out for yourself:
Those photos purport to show cotton farms with irrigation channels and water storage areas filled with Murray-Darling water, as opposed to the actual Murray-Darling whose levels are at historic lows.
This airborne photo shoot came mere hours before the South Australian royal commission into the Murray Darling Basin plan delivered its assessment of how well things were working. Spoiler: not at all well, including breaching the Water Act regarding how water should be taken from the river for things like, say, irrigating cotton farms.
What’s going to happen?
Well, given that there’s an election set for announcement any old time now it’s hard to imagine the government taking anything remotely like action.
That’s especially since the official Envoy for the Drought, Nationals MP and former leader Barnaby Joyce, has most recently been declaring that “There is no umpire in the political debate. There’s no rule book. What you get away with wins”, which sounds a little… um, odd for someone tasked with defending the rules-based order of representative democracy.
Although on the basis of those photos, it’s hard to imagine those cotton growers would disagree with him.