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Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Deputy Editor Kerri Browne: Last week Mark Latham lectured on Ten reasons why young idealistic people should forget about organised politics at Melbourne University. This week, Greens Senator Bob Brown shares his perspective.

Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

by Senator Bob Brown
Melbourne University 3 October 2005

A quarter of a century ago, in our blackest days when the bulldozers were in the Franklin River valley, I wrote "10 good reasons why the Franklin River should be saved".

Now the river is safe, a beautiful region of the world and its wildlife remains alive and the economic and employment bonuses for the West Coast of Tasmania keep rolling in. It is a good feeling.

If I could go back I might add an eleventh point: never give in to despair. Now, here’s 10 good reasons why we should all get into politics:

1. Democracy is the golden glue of humankind’s future on the planet. Democracy with its very simple idea of distributing power – that we are all equal – is not just a good recipe for local elections; it is the key ingredient to peace on Earth. Go out and defend it, be an active part of it, take your share of it.

2. True democracy means ‘one person, one vote, one value’. While ‘one person, one vote’ is written into our Constitution, the ‘one value’ part is not. We have to fight for each person’s vote to be of equal value. No one is barred from the arena of that fight, so join in – even if it puts demands on your own constitution.

3. The alternatives to democracy are plutocracy, autocracy or theocracy – that is rule by the rich, by a dictator or by those who mistakenly believe they are acting on behalf of god (they are always mistaken). Of these, the first is the most subtle and insidious and most liable to strangle democracy on a global scale. Power is inversely proportional to poverty. Money is power. So for example, there is good reason why corporations should not have the peasants’ recourse to libel laws. The problem already is the unfair power of the rich to buy advertising space, have dinner with the Prime Minister, and to lobby Cabinet. All those are features of a plutocracy.

4. There are two options here: go into a life which above all values shares; that is, join the plutocracy. Or join the Greens where we, above all, share values such as true democracy, human compassion and a defence of the Earth’s ecosystems which sustain all life.

5. Get out of the consumerist rut and into politics. The bonus is real personal fulfilment. Next time you see an ad telling you that this or that produce will make you a more desirable person, revolt. Spend the money on membership of a community campaign organization or join the Greens instead. Real happiness comes from sharing your wealth, in particular, your skills, your compassion and your care for the future of people on our planet. Besides, consumerism will short sheet you. It is ‘me now’. But thinking about ‘them later’ is much more rewarding.

6. The Greens differ from the old parties in having a long term vision. Here is our fundamental, simple, yet revolutionary question to all political decisions: “will people 100 years from now thank us for this?”. If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘not sure’, don’t do it. This brings in what I call the smile factor. Imagine people just like ourselves looking back in 2105 at all of us now, and what we’re doing to this planet Earth. It’s a pretty bleak and aggravating scene. But let that bleak mob see the rise of a political movement which insists on the 100 years rule – on treating them as ourselves – and you will see a smile come onto their faces. When we can see our grandchildren smiling back, we can smile forwards. It’s a great feeling.

7. If you think the whole ‘rotten, infested’ lump of politics can’t be changed, read a little history. I suggest you catch up on the victory of the suffragettes, the abolition of slavery, or the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. None of those breakthroughs came from giving up or copping out of politics. All of them involved committed people, just like us, getting involved in and transforming the hopelessly unfair, rotten, stinking politics of their day.

8. Avoid extremism, whether it be of the sort that entertains violence, hates human diversity or more subtly, arrests and deports people who advocate peace.

9. On the other hand, don’t be bound by rules which cut across basic human and Earthly rights such as clean air, and water, uncontaminated foods and respect for the planet’s future.

10. Have fun. Don’t panic. Assume there is time to save the world. For as America’s great social revolutionary of a century ago, Emma Goldman, said, “I don’t want your revolution if I can’t dance.”

Oh and here’s one area in which I agree with Mark Latham:

11. Don’t join the old parties. Their ways are irremediable. Especially, don’t listen to Granma Labor when she says “why my little red dearie, come and change me from inside.” Join the Greens instead. We are the fresh breeze through the dank air of the world of politics - where just a fraction of Tony Blair, George W Bush and John Howard’s spending on Iraq this year could give every suffering child on the planet good food, clean water and a local primary school with a computer.

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re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Now that's what I like: competition in the marketplace. Clause 4 of the Taxation Reform Party's Constitution lets you join the Greens and us. So, why not try double vision kiddies?

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

I was just considering this article containing Bob Brown's speech alongside the previous article on "The Power of Many: We the Webdiary".

It's interesting to note that the only other reference I could find with a search on Google News to "Ten Good Reasons" is on the SBS website.

Webdiary published the Speech (ie. the Facts); SBS published a slanted version suggesting a Greens Membership Drive (ie. Opinion).

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Leaving aside the fact that Senator Brown has taken the opportunity to spruik his party where there could have been a genuine attempt to engage with the issue, I have to ask what benefit there is in following his suggestion of joining the Greens.

The Greens seem determined to remain a minor party, and as a minor party, there is a limited amount they can do to effect change.

Few of their candidates are serious, capable candidates possessing the skills that are required to be a good parliamentarian. These skills include a capacity for detached analysis (and here Greens often fail badly), a capacity for reasoned and rational debate, a degree of self-discipline when the other side is presenting their view, maturity, an understanding of the law, and a professional attitude. Andrew Wilkie was certainly a quality candidate, but from what I have seen he is the exception. I was amazed when the Greens chose somebody in their early 20s for the Werriwa by-election - a person of such young years simply has not had the time to develop the kind of broad, rational and objective views that are required (for the same reason I have stated before that the "young" party divisions are a breeding ground for people who are the absolute worst candidates for legislative office).

Even Senator Brown, with his bounty of life experience, is given to displays of behaviour that suggest a lack in several of these important areas.

No, these problems are not exclusive to the Greens, and certainly Bill Heffernan is also deeply buried in the category of "unsuitable for legislative office", but the Greens seem to excel in picking candidates not suited to the role.

For somebody who wants to make a serious go of it, that makes the Greens an unviable option regardless of whatever faults the major parties may exhibit.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

The logic of Greg Hynes: Bob Brown decries extremism; some Green voters practise extremism; therefore Bob Brown is a hypocrite. Okaaayy.

Troy Rollo, whether it's due to poor choices or lack of choices, the Greens certainly field some shockers. I'm sure Bob, if he could, would agree.

Kevin De Bonis, I'm a big SBS fan, but honest and unbiased? Puhlease! Say it loud, they're lefty and proud.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Where does Plato say, "The penalty good people pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by people worse than themselves," Margaret Morgan?

I think it's a great line, but I have read virtually all of Plato's works, much of it more than once and some in Greek (which is not to say I remember every line). I'm a bit wary of people using classical authors in this way. Besides, I want the reference so I can use the quote myself, but with attribution as is my habit.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Thanks Bob Brown. Short and sweet and an antidote to all the spruiking that goes on about politics. It is a pity if what Roy Cutts says is true about the other media outlets not carrying your speech. But that's how it is. You will find the bad news immediately but good news, well... it don't sell nuttin'.

Troy Rollo, about being not being professional, as a Greens candidate I'd take exception to that except I was laughing too hard. I saw what the underbelly of 'professional' looked like in my electorate. That would be the professional way the Labor party undermined its own candidate, or perhaps the way the sitting liberal member cried about poverty in India at a 'poverty forum' organised by St Vincents de Paul while at the same time scoring polling points by stirring up racist attitudes about kids and curfews.

And about those broad rational views - give me a break. As I see it, it is those very attributes that have allowed hard nosed and unscrupulous multinationals to buy every vote they have needed to go on profiteering at the expense of the people, the earth and the environment.

So lets take the broooaaadddd view and imagine what will happen if the Greens don't get in. Well, the earth will survive. It will just be very lonely for the cockroaches and perhaps the crocs...

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

"The penalty good people pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by people worse than themselves." - Plato.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

It is interesting that Bob Brown wants to avoid extremism but he advocates a brand of extreme left politics mixed with environmental causes. Green activists are not known for their peaceful or gentle behaviour whether it is anti-war or anti-globalisation peace marches or student thugs intimidating a minister from visting the campus. He is a hypocrite and perfect symbolic of the cesspool of left politics in Australian democracy.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Great to read a politician with compassion, vision and hope. I have just finished watching Dateline about Chinese Gulags and Pakistani government treatment of women.

The stories depict what governments can do when there is no democracy. We need a strong and vibrant democracy and should encourage all to participate. Well done Senator Brown.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

I'm not going to take up Bob Brown's repetitious offer to join the Greens, being a little disgruntled with all parties right now - but I'll say one thing that I like him for. He is, or should be, a prompt - no a cattle prod - for Christians and other religious types to consider that if they love God and humankind they should be more ostentatiously and practically committed to the welfare of the planet, which they believe is God's creation. Don't hear much from the pulpit on this.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Bob Brown is right when he says, "The alternatives to democracy are plutocracy, autocracy or theocracy." The less responsiblity and burden we carry for self government, the more likely we're going to end up being governed by the money or power hungry.

Here's something I read recently in Christopher Lasch's The Revolt of the Elites which seems apt to what Senator Brown said above, especially with regards to ditching the consumerist lifestyle (something Latham seems to disapprove of as well):

"Luxury is morally repugnant, and its incompatibility with democratic ideals, moreover, has been consistently recognised in the traditions that shape our political culture."

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Malcolm, I'll join your party if you let me be Public Relations officer and introduce me to Miranda Devine. Repealing the Legal professions Act and retaining legalese, were my policy inspirations (ghoulish, in their way), so I think I already form part of the heart and soul of the party. I'm a little concerned that some of your policies might be a little 'unconscionable' but I suppose I can adapt.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Thank you Ron for providing the link as you did. This is an example of how WD can work best.

However I do not agree with you and I would suggest that it your analysis of the SBS new item which is slanted not the item itself. The item is not slanted opinion as you suggest but an accurate summary of the speech given by Bob Brown. After reading the speech and the item I think the item accurately reflects the speech in a neutral fashion.

The item consists of seven short paragraphs. Three of these are direct quotes from the speech. Three other paragraphs, equally brief, begin "Senator Bob Brown (he) says..."

One paragraph I quote in full: "And he denies his campaign its about increasing membership of the Greens."

One of the great benefits of blogs such as WD is that bulky original documents can be quoted in full and readers allowed to make up their own minds without the benefit of editorial spin.

Traditional media, mostly due to ideology and in part due to restrictions of space, present truncated versions of speeches. Mostly this results in distortion.

However this isn't always the case. At the moment SBS is perhaps the honest and unbiased mainstream media in Australia. Unfortunately the ABC seems completely brow beaten by the Howard Government and its board member stooges and engages in self censorship rather than risk another Coalition witch hunt.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Greg Hynes, that's so funny I'm rolling around on the floor, on my ultra left side of course. Ha ha ha.

While driving my taxi I sometimes hear people despair of Australian political leadership, doubting that any Parliamentarian is an honest decent person. When I offer Bob Brown as a leader of integrity, everyone grants the exception.

Tasmanians came from every political party in 2001 to keep Bob Brown in the Senate.

I joined the Greens earlier this year.

Jenny Stirling, do you really think the crocs can make it through? I'm finding it hard to generate compassion for lonely cockroaches.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Note Kevin de Bonis and particularly John Pratt mentioned SBS, in particular Dateline.

John, I wished you had added that dark sign-off from George Negus, about obscured clauses in the FTA requiring Australia to neuter its quarantine laws even more to allow US beef with a chance of Mad Cow Disease or Foot and Mouth into our country.

A recent documentary, either on SBS or the ABC, also discussed this pernicious new problem, highlighting a similar situation involving contaminated fruit and beef, especially in Queensland, where in one instance a private US operation was dangerously close to importing foot and mouth contaminated beef from South America. We have already suffered various types of fisheries and fruit contamination due to the illogical weakening of quarantine laws over the last decade, due to surreptitious changes of the free-trade type outlined above.

The trouble with Australia is too many "two-legged" sheep, for its own good. Wish I could share Browns' "optimism".

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

I recall recently hearing a story about Customs officials here impounding an illegal batch of Asian poultry, so Paul's post is very timely.

Certainly there is a case that consumers should be both alert and alarmed if the US tries to heavy its produce into this country. To be quite blunt about it, Australian meat is superior both in terms of product safety and in "aesthetic" qualities to its US counterpart and there should be no need to import meat from elsewhere in any case, even to compensate for seasonal shortfalls. In fact it probably would be of great benefit to US consumers to be eating our (and New Zealand's) lamb rather than heavily subsidising their own poor and struggling product.

Supermarkets and butchery franchises are well aware of consumer resistance to imported meat and consumers are entitled to query the origins of any such products they purchase.

I notice Woolworths for one is heavily pushing the "97% of our fruit and vegetables are Australian-grown" line.

The problems may well come in the near future with grocery lines containing imported meat, since Australia already imports a substantial range of everyday tinned and prepackaged products, mainly from the UK and Europe. The US could well try and get more energetically into this market.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Hi Jannice, I don't remember where I first encountered the Plato quote, and I can't give you the source. I just googled the quote, and there are a few references to it, but only in lists of quotes... Sorry!

(Hmm, I wonder if this is an urban myth, with people just assuming that Plato did say it because they've seen someone else quoting him!)

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

In my experience of agricultural politics the Green agenda is not much more than a seductive program to dispossess individuals and local communities of control over their environment.

An example is the "Murray River crisis" that is sheer nonsense but is the seductive propaganda employed to prise the purchased water rights of farmers without compensation claiming environmental flows will save the Murray.

City centric greens have little real knowledge of the Murray River, Agriculture, Irrigation or Water Entitlements but this does not stop their support of thieving water from farmers. Much of the "green science" is childish in it`s ignorance of rural realities. I doubt there is a soul that would care more for my land and environment than myself as a farmer who lives with the disciplines of nature every day of the year.

My advice is never join any organisation that sets out to impose power over another. Our political energy should be directed towards the issues one at a time and our freedom to use our "vote" every day of the year in any direction or fashion we choose, should be valued and regularly practised for our own sake and for the benefit of all.

It is my belief that it is a lazy abrogation of responsibility to surrender our vote to a movement or ideology for the term of a Parliament. That attitude is acceptance of elected dictatorship.

I hold my vote firmly in my grasp and take it where I will every day of the week, whether that be Webdiary, talk back radio, letters to reps or lobbying across my social and political communities.

I have found the more I exercise my vote the stronger it becomes. Unfortunately in Australia at this time many fail to see the potential of their vote and allow others to use it against their own interest having been sucked into the "power" and "personality" politics game.

Here at Webdiary, this game is played far too frequently while serious issue investigation is ignored.

ed Hamish: help us mate. We're as up to the task as the Webdiary community; no more.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Oscar Werring, you make the same general slur against SBS that is made against any media that presents points of view and perspectives other than the corporate conservative one - they must be LEFTYS.

Where's your specific evidence? Forget the easy sloganeering - on what program at what time has SBS broadcast 'lefty' material? And while we're at it - can you define this term 'lefty' that you use? It seems to me to be an empty vessel used to hurl abuse at those you don't like for whatever reason.

The reason I take exception to your slander of SBS is that if your comments are left unchallenged we end up with the situation that has developed at the ABC - at some point a Senator Alston will arise and demand an enquiry into 'left wing bias' at SBS and then even that small, mildly alternative, viewpoint will be cowed into silence. The Howard Govt can't be far off using its favourite trick against SBS - cutting back its funding.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Greg Hynes: "It is interesting that Bob Brown wants to avoid extremism but he advocates a brand of extreme left politics mixed with environmental causes”.

Which extreme left wing policies are you referring to?

And is it extremism of any sort that you dislike or just some kinds of it.

Do you dislike the extremism of fundamentalist Christians, for example, or of “globalisation” or “free market” zealots?

Do you dislike your own extremism in regards your attitude towards “The Greens”, where you seem incapable of assessing each policy or each action of a Greens representative on its own merits but simply throw around words like “despicable”, “hypocrisy” and “cesspool” whenever there is mention of “The Greens”.

In a recent thread you said, “There are many gays whose public behaviour is despicable (Bob Brown etc)...”

Give some examples of Bob Brown’s despicable behaviour. Not just behaviour with which you do not agree but behaviour which is despicable ie. vile, morally reprehensible.

Would you describe the actions of the Reverend Fred Phelps as “despicable”?

GH: “Green activists are not known for their peaceful or gentle behaviour whether it is anti-war or anti-globalisation peace marches...”

What are “green activists”? Are you referring to members of “The Greens” or simply environmental activists who may or may not be members/supporters of the Greens?

GH: ”...or student thugs intimidating a minister from visiting the campus”.

Are you implying that all “student thugs” are also members/supporters of “The Greens”?

Do you disagree with any of the ten points Bob Brown made? If so, explain why you disagree.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Well spotted Bryan. Yes I am still in mourning after the drubbing the Cowboys received in the footy. However, the 'Crocs' (T'ville basketball team) might do the trick. As for the 'cockroaches', I am hoping that the'cane toads' will have the last laugh and eat the lot of them next year. I wonder who will be the coach?

Christopher Brooks, I am interested in hearing more about why the green type people have it wrong about managing the Murray. It is too important an issue to get wrong. I like the way you think about the value of your vote too. Many people vote the same way, year in and year out. Well, it makes sense if you do the things the way you have always done then you can expect the same result. I reckon pollies should be thrown in and out with regularity.

With regards to the river problem, I was listening to the radio this morning and heard similar comments made by leaders of Cape York Aboriginal communities about the Wild Rivers Project which seeks to conserve the integritiy of these last remaining watercourses. The argument was that this legislation locks the land up in such a way as to greatly hinder the economic development of this area. This of course will have a significant impact on the viability of these communities.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Bob Brown and the Greens, of course, are the only left-wing alternative to the so-called Australian Labor Party. (It’s odd that the American spelling of the word ‘Labor’ seems just so much more obvious today than it ever did before. I wonder why?) Greg Hynes needs to know that extremism is all relative. Greg Hynes’ extremist rhetoric for example can often make Hitler and Mussolini look like a pair of pinko tree-huggers. I, on the other hand, with my somewhat more radical left-wing approach, can cause Bob Brown to be seen to take on a slight bluish tinge.

But despite that, I think Bob Brown’s got it just about right as far as being an appropriate alternative for a mainstream left-wing party. Being ‘Green’ is not a one issue thing anymore. Time has moved it away from that. Green, as a colour chosen to represent an ideology that was predominately environmentalist has morphed now into something broader. Blue and Red were the colours that dominated the political landscape in the past; that is until Green appeared. Now, however, Green represents more than just environment, it represents an alternative to Red. And as Red starts to morph into Blue as, indeed, it is, so Brown’s Greens will provide the alternative to the Reds and the Blues.

What else is there – apart from Malcolm B Duncan’s party which hasn’t chosen any colour (or should that be ‘color’) yet?

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

“If you think the whole ‘rotten, infested’ lump of politics can’t be changed, read a little history. I suggest you catch up on the victory of the suffragettes, the abolition of slavery, or the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. None of those breakthroughs came from giving up or copping out of politics. All of them involved committed people, just like us, getting involved in and transforming the hopelessly unfair, rotten, stinking politics of their day”.

What a load of hokum!

Bob Brown's ignorance of economics is profound.

The suffragettes had little to no impact on women gaining rights equivalent to men. It was women’s economic contribution during the Great War that dispelled many of the societal prejudices that were held and lead to equality before the law.

Similarly the abolition of slavery happened peacefully across most of the globe due to the declining economic value of slaves and the requirement for intelligent workers whom could operate the complex machinery if the industrial revolution – also see the BBC’s explanation:

“This remarkable story (UK involvement) of slavery raises a simple but crucial question: why did the British turn against slavery and the slave trade? Part of the reason is undoubtedly the rise of compassionate humanitarianism, particularly amongst an increasingly leisured middle class. Scholars also point to the influence of Nonconformist religion, on the one hand, and Evangelical Protestantism, on the other. But of greater significance was a shift in economic thought. In the British case slavery flourished because West Indian planters were effectively subsidised by the British taxpayer. By the late 1820s, when many Britons began to see the benefits of a world economy untrammelled by restrictions and controls, such privileges seemed outmoded and frankly unwarranted. Indeed, it is probably true to say that the British slave system was 'not so much rendered unprofitable, but by-passed by the changing economic and social order in Britain”.

Finally the Berlin wall – it was the lack of economic freedom that forced the socialist bloc to reform their systems, not democracy.

It is ironic in the extreme that economic freedom was responsible for the changes in these societal values and yet the left, Bob Brown and the Greens continue to decry these same economic freedoms.

On further reflection the Greens is an apt name for the type of policies they are promoting. It at least reflects what they are smoking.

Mark Latham is right - politics is useless.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Thinking strategically for a moment, I suspect that it is too late for The Greens to throw off their eco-enviro tag in Australia.

Partly this is because of the profile of Bob Brown himself (and they do insist on using those yellow ‘No Dam’ triangles wherever they go).

But more importantly, it has to do with the political roots of their emergence in Australia by comparison to the European and especially German Greens (Die Grunen). The latter was a parliamentary expression of a much broader coalition of socially progressive movements who were not especially enamoured of the parliamentary option, but nonetheless, saw it as a useful element in a broader strategy for change.

In Australia, the parliamentary goals emerged first, and among a far more select bunch of people (marred by initial in-fighting over the very ‘brand’ Green). As a result ever since The Greens have been working to engage with progressive movements, to position themselves as their obvious (or only) legitimate parliamentary voice.

This has all been a bit arse about, so to speak.

Personally, I would like to see The Greens help to sponsor a process of serial public gatherings, town meetings or congresses if you will, where the ‘way forward’ for progressive politics and intervention in formal political processes can be debated and discussed with the idea of a new progressive party on the table.

I can see why The Greens might be reluctant to do this – and not for any sinister or self-interested reasons. Their own birth was difficult and fraught, and they’ve done well to have come as far as they have. But my feeling is that The Greens will not be able to shake their marginal status in this country, despite the time being very ripe indeed for something new and visionary political formation to emerge that addresses the ‘disconnect’ between people/citizens and the parliamentary process.

I think The Greens ought to recognize the historic opportunity here and put their own dissolution up as a possibility in the cause of something larger, more profound, more relevant, and more widely engaging, more able to capture the imagination of the disenchanted.

(I note that a German Party called 'The Left' has managed to snaffle about as many votes as the Greens in the recent German elections. I'd be imagining something that was a mixture of both The Greens and The Left [Reds?] - which unfortunately would make for a fairly unattractive colour, but a potentially exciting new political grouping).

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Michael, generating publicity is only half the game. You know the saying "All publicity is good publicity"? That's garbage.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

In my edition of the Republic (Jowett translation), Jannice Caldwell, the quotation appears as follows:

"Now the worst part of the punishment is that he who refuses to rule is liable to be ruled by one who is worse than himself." (Book 1, 347c).

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Power is politics and as an ALP supporter I reckon I'd advise any young person to join The Greens as well. Bob Brown is a man of great integrity. I'm glad to see potential TARP members can also be a Green. Sounds promising. Oscar, please lay off SBS. Where else are we going to see great shows like Inspector Rex.

Solomon Wakeling, very clever offering to be Malcolm's PR consultant. He's a dream client - plenty to work with there if the amount of publicity he generates just being himself is anything to go by.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Rob Wearne, your piece sounds like a sociological analysis to me, which is interesting. I enjoyed the bit about slavery and the suffragettes and would like to hear more but this may not be the place. As for the greens, well we are just like everyone else really. Does it bother you that much that Bob doesn't understand the complexities of these historical matters? Do we ever really know much about anything except our own little silo of knowledge?

I believe the most important thing for a pollie would be to have a disposition to listen attentively, compassionately and wisely. Experts abound but where is the common sense to discriminate between versions of the 'truth'?

And instead of the old idea that individuals made history which was replaced by the Marxist idea that societal forces make history, perhaps there is room for a 'both and' approach i.e., the idea that individuals do have agency and structural factors are important. The feminist saying "the personal is political" probably sums it up. Well, it works for me.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Just one point: Brown offers absolutely nothing to young people in the way of opportunities for their future. All of his arguments centre around altruism, which he is not entitled to ask of anyone. His anti-materialism is selfish and could potentially breed unecessary shame for doing normal things, like buying and selling. His anti-social and nihilistic attitude towards the major parties is worse than Latham's, in that it is more insidious and more will fall for it, because it is cloaked in idealism. I'm putting Greens last in the next election because I find Brown to be shallow, irresponsible and slightly paranoid. He is not a good influence on youth, in my eyes.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Oscar Werring, Bob Brown leads a party that has a fair share of extremist activists. His hypocrisy is well known, one example is when he decried foreign intervention in Australian politics while he himself went on a trip to Canada to participate in their elections. He sure does attract the extreme left vote, but that would just solidy its minor party status.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Solomon Wakeling: “Brown offers absolutely nothing to young people in the way of opportunities for their future.” Have you thought that Senator Brown may offer the only hope of any future for young people?

A large majority of climate experts now agree that global warming is a fact. If we do not change in the next few years we may tip the balance on this planet and make it uninhabitable. The new industries that will come to provide solutions will create opportunities for young people. Climate change has caused extinctions in the past and may do so in the future.

Now, you might think that climate change is only a small risk to the planet. Let’s hope your right. But until we know for sure I don’t think we should gamble with the future of the planet. Bob Brown is advocating caution and trying to introduce change to protect the future of all young people.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Thanks Margaret Morgan for your candid admission that perhaps your Plato quote ("The penalty good people pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by people worse than themselves") may be "an urban myth, with people just assuming that Plato did say it because they've seen someone else quoting him." That is what I was afraid of of course, and it does get up my nose a bit when literature is thrown around in this way.

But reflecting many an urban myth it turns out to be based on a real quote, and thankyou Fiona for finding it. "Now the worst part of the punishment is that he who refuses to rule is liable to be ruled by one who is worse than himself" (The Republic I:347c) sounds much more like the Plato I know, who was, for all his brilliance, far from being a democrat.

The real thing, even if it does not pander to all of our prejudices, does have this tendency to be more engaging than the myth. Here's an extended section, from my Penguin version (translated by Desmond Lee). Socrates, as in most of the book, is speaking to Glaucon:

So good men will not consent to govern for cash or honours. They do not want to be called mercenary for exacting a cash payment for the work of government, or thieves for making money on the side; and they will not work for honours, for they aren't ambitious. We must therefore bring compulsion to bear and punish them if they refuse - perhaps that's why it's commonly considered improper to accept authority accept with reluctance or under pressure; and the worst penalty for refusal is to be governed by someone worse than themselves. That is what, I believe, frightens honest men into accepting power, and they approach it not as if it was something desirable out of which they were going to do well, but as if it were something unavoidable, which they cannot find anyone better or equally qualified to undertake.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

"Just one point: Brown offers absolutely nothing to young people in the way of opportunities for their future."

That's a strange take on it, Simon. What sort of opportunities are you seeking that he 'offer'? The Greens policies are based on social justice and equity, environmental sustainability and human rights. Whether or not you agree with the means by which the Greens seek to achieve these, they're hardly "nothing" being offered - they're an attempt to provide a liveable and egalitarian future.

Or did you mean offered in the more personal sense? Unlike both the Liberals and Labor, being preselected to stand as a candidate is a genuinely democratic and grassroots process, so quite a lot is offered there too.

"All of his arguments centre around altruism, which he is not entitled to ask of anyone."

'He' doesn't need to ask, since obviously there are plenty of people who think the same way he does and offer their energies and 'altruism' freely. After all, of all the parties, the Greens has by far the highest ratio of members to voters [source: Antony Green in a recent article in Crikey]. Greens supporters tend think about and act on political issues more than just on election day. They're hands-on throughout the year, and many are involved in a range of other political activities, like social activism and voluntary environmental work like bush regeneration and land care. And not because Svengali Brown has gestured magically and lured them into forcible altruism.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Solomon Wakeling. "His anti-materialism is selfish and could potentially breed unnecessary shame for doing normal things, like buying and selling."

I doubt if Bob Brown felt shame at buying his property in Tasmania, or buying a homeless person lunch. And I doubt he felt shame when he worked all weekend as a locum doctor so he could give the money to the campaign to the Tassie wilderness. I can't quite see how his obvious anti-materialism is a selfish thing.

But if it was, then would promoting aspirational materialism be an unselfish act? Maybe in a world with a green sky and blue trees it would be. Is that where you live?

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Kat, I'm against him as a public figure, rather than as a person. I don't like that he is trying to shepherd people away from joining major parties, I think it is self-serving. That's not to say that the Greens don't serve a useful function. I voted for them last election.

John Pratt, if it's such a serious issue then it ought to be the concern of all parties, not just the Greens. Disencouraging people to join a major party strikes me as self-destructive, for a serious person.

Margaret, spell my name correctly. Yes, I mean that Brown is offering nothing personally to young people and I think he ought to. The opportunity to run in a seat, as they gave to young people like Ben Raue and Kerry Nettle, are real incentives and that is what he should talk about. I think part of the reason people like Latham/Brogden self-destruct is because they are saddled with feelings of responsibility and guilt; Going in to politics, or, indeed, anything else, for a partial motive of self-interest, is a natural and normal thing for a person to do. Political parties used to boost their membership by offering assistance to people and helping them; It was a natural part of the structure of society. With the rise of 'individualism', which everyone complains about, they seem to require a kind of excessive altruism and selflessness from people which I think is abnormal.

The question that I would ask, as well as the question I would encourage all young people to ask before volunteering their time to any organisation is: What do I get out of this? If the answer is nothing, then I'd simply leave.

The point about materialism and I should also extend that to anti-corporatism, is that most young people will end up working in big corporate chains,at least at some stage, simply because there are few alternatives. Many also like shopping and there is nothing wrong with that.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Solomon, I enjoyed the discussions we had when you first came here. Lately you have been going through a period of doubt and searching of yourself - oh to be young! I hope that if you do go that when you have had time to calmly think over not just your immediate concern here, but generally, you will return.

Meanwhile, all the best.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Ok, Margaret, I'm leaving webdiary tonight, but since we already started this conversation I'll respond. It sounds like you're describing Greens as lifestyle, personality, I don't know. I'm sure for those so inclined, it's a happy life. Y'all seem happy enough. I don't read Bolt, I think he is a non-entity. I read Devine because she is intelligent and understands the media.

My opinion on Brown cemented when I first learned that he was discouraging people from joining major parties and this piece simply came right on cue, for me. Earlier I've heard him blame the Murdoch press for controlling the major parties meaning they couldn't possibly change from the inside. I don't believe in that yarn, I think its a convenient excuse.

Craig Rowley Ed.: Solomon I saw your earlier comment (yet to be published) indicating you've decided to "leave" Webdiary. I've not published it yet because I need to understand the background. Whatever it was I hope you come back sometime. Your comments and articles make me pause, think, reflect, research and learn and that is why I'm involved it Webdiary. I do hope you'll be back.

Craig R Ed. Update at 9.29pm: Solomon I just read our GM David's response to the comment I'd left unpublished until he'd seen it here. Hope it changes your decision.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Solomon Wakeling: "Margaret, spell my name correctly."

My apologies, Solomon. I was obviously typing in haste.

Solomon Wakeling: "Yes, I mean that Brown is offering nothing personally to young people and I think he ought to. The opportunity to run in a seat, as they gave to young people like Ben Raue and Kerry Nettle, are real incentives and that is what he should talk about."

I honestly think that if you believe this is the case, you know very little about the Greens' organisational structure. The Greens try to put up a candidate in each electorate for every State and Federal election. Each region has its Local Group, and from the Groups, lower house candidates are selected by consensus of the relevant group. That's how Ben Raue got his gig in Werriwa.

Bob Brown doesn't have any say in it--indeed, he is not actually the leader of the Greens, as is often suggested. The Greens have no leader.

Senate candidates are chosen by the State Council, which democratically represents the Local Groups. That's how Kerry Nettle got her position on the Greens' Senate ticket.

So your assessment above is entirely wrong. Or are you complaining that in his little piece, Bob Brown didn't enunciate this sufficiently? Well, it's all spelled out on the Greens' website, so that hardly seems a reason to put them last when you next vote.

Solomon Wakeling: "It was a natural part of the structure of society. With the rise of 'individualism', which everyone complains about, they seem to require a kind of excessive altruism and selflessness from people which I think is abnormal."

I think you're missing something really fundamental about the Greens, Solomon. It actually is a party based on altruism, at least to the extent that it adheres to the principle of questioning personal greed and materialism for the benefit of the species and the broader ecosystems of the planet. Now that might not rock your boat, but it rocks many peoples'. And yes, indeed, any member has a better chance of becoming a candidate than in any other political party, if personal political influence is what rocks your boat.

Solomon Wakeling: "The question that I would ask, as well as the question I would encourage all young people to ask before volunteering their time to any organisation is: What do I get out of this? If the answer is nothing, then I'd simply leave."

Greens members get the satisfaction of knowing that they're contributing to the political philosophy of their choice. Isn't that enough?

Solomon Wakeling: "The point about materialism and I should also extend that to anti-corporatism, is that most young people will end up working in big corporate chains,at least at some stage, simply because there are few alternatives. Many also like shopping and there is nothing wrong with that."

Shopping? Yikes, we'll have none of that. Shoppers go to hell, didn't you know?

Sorry, Solomon, but how many active Greens do you actually know? It sounds to me as though you're basing all this on Andrew Bolt's commentaries.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Jenny Stirling, the Murray River is simply not "sick" and in "crisis" as the city media often chants.

There are many views that contradict the official mythology but they rarely find there way to the public in the cities.

Take a look at the IPA backgrounder by Jennifer Marohasy. A PDF version is available at their site.

During the recent drought, if not for the irrigation control of the river the Murray Valley and Goulburn Valley would have been devastated including all the towns that depend on the agriculture but importantly the tourism centres along the river. The river would have run dry in places as it has done previous to the Hume and Dartmouth dam construction.

"Pristine" nature is vicious and deadly and it is the tempering of these forces with wisdom that gives us all the dividends of progress.

The city-vote based ignorance on these issues will do great damage to future generations if it is not addressed.

The "green" hypocrisy would have Australian agriculture disbanded so they can consume product from exploited communities in China or South America where care for the environment is not even on the agenda as Corporations exploit for super profit.

As a farmer I do not claim to be perfect as we learn and adjust every day but the single biggest impediment to environmental care is the monopoly forces driving cost pressure on production systems that reflect power and profit directives as opposed to just price and sustainable sufficiency.

I can promise you that the physical realities of technology and food production are generous abundance.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Solomon, Bob Brown has always - I mean always - discouraged people from joining "major" parties - that's what you do when you are involved in a minor party - why is this a relevation to you?

And Margaret - shoppers go to Hell? Surely only if they're overdrawn on their credit cared?

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Christopher Brooks: "As a farmer I do not claim to be perfect as we learn and adjust every day but the single biggest impediment to environmental care is the monopoly forces driving cost pressure on production systems that reflect power and profit directives as opposed to just price and sustainable sufficiency.

1. I would like you to elaborate on this Chris, if you wouldn't mind. Seems really important to understand and I don't.

2. Where then do the stories about the Murray being in crisis come from and why are three state governments struggling not to take responsibility for something that is not in trouble?

Yes I know, a double negative but it seemed appropriate for this story. My very limited understanding is that the salinity problems are caused by a few factors like over-irrigation; the cutting down of many of the trees which lowered the water table. Is there a salinity problem in the Murray as you understand it and if so what do you think is causing it?

I am also aware of the problems that Adelaide has and some of the measures they have taken to be responsible with their water usage. This kind of investment doesn't happen without cause. So then Chris, why doesn't the Murray now reach the sea? Is it a simply case of taking too much water out of the river system or are there other causes that are not acknowledged? The farmers are a big target and sometimes unfairly blamed for problems that are political.

I must be a poor excuse for a greenie because I would hope we could feed ourselves and others through good land management and careful water usage. And keeping people on the land is important because once the communities are gone, it is hard to grow them again.

I understand that some people are growing crops in places that are not sustainable, ie cotton takes a tremendous amont of water out of an already depleted water system out west near Emerald, central QLD. Down the road a couple of hours from where I live there are farmers who have over irrigated and consequently raised salt levels almost to the surface in some places, ruining the land.

Good farming practice is a skillful exercise and I have seen some shockers of land management where I used to live - mostly cattle stations. Over grazing and willful destruction of soils by wholesale indiscriminate tree clearing. And yet as soon as the government steps in and introduces legislation, there seem to be stories of nonsensical application of the rules. Blowed if I know how anyone is supposed to get it right. The intent is there but the application seems to be a case of why use a hammer when a mallet will do.

I am also interested in the new technologies you speak of. We could certainly use them given the lardely unknown challenges that lie ahead as a result of climate change. Just one last thing, Christopher, greenies and farmers can work together. We have some really good examples up in NQ with the cane farmers working to change farming practices to stop the nitrogen runoff into the reef, which looks to be linked to the growing infestations of the crown of thorns star fish. OK granted some are a little slow to see the advantages but the movement is growing. I mean how hard can it be when two groups respect the land and share a personal investment in environmentaly sustainable outcomes.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Jenny Stirling, you raise a large number of issues.
You have not mentioned the IPA report. It discusses many of the points you question.
Of course mistakes in land management have been made and continue to be made because we are human and continue to discover and learn.
Greed is also guilty in some circumstance but the declining real returns to agriculture place constant pressure on production and farmers on the whole have environmentally sympathetic plans for their land but cash is not available and profit levels are not sufficient.
City centric idealists have Australian farmers competing with slavery and corruption off shore yet the standards set at home are just and sustainable.
I support the moral approach but despair at the hypocrisy of the "Globalist" idealist who preaches and pretends concern but practices hypocrisy in their vote.
The Murray River has to be characterised as in crisis to mobilise the ignorant and gullible city vote to deregulate the ownership of the water.

The water is the prize worth billions in the future when cartels will have monopolised ownership and everyone will pay the price.

Currently, water ownership is tied to land ownership which is a manifestation of physical democracy giving a privilege of water title along with the responsibility for the land.

Under the Trojan horse deception of "Water Crisis" the Murray Darling water is being freed up for entrepreneur water barons to monopolise the key resource while the farmer will be left with the responsibility of the land and managing the chaos of the commodity markets.

Do you understand what is happening to the ownership of the water?
Salinity is a problem of some concern but great progress is also being achieved by corrective measures on farm.
New tree plantations are visible across the whole landscape in my district.
Closed on farm drainage systems and effluent management are standard practice.

I live on the banks of the Broken Creek and the fisherman tell me the fishing is great.
This is my environment, this is our garden, we care and tend it for our pleasure and our livelihood with a mind also for the future.

I know that many "green" city dwellers are well intentioned and genuine in their hearts but the sum result is the water is to be transferred from broad regulated democratic ownership towards monopolisation by profit hungry water barons who see the billions in value to be had by controlling this key resource.

The crisis propaganda is just the method required to dispossess the farmers and separate the water title from the land title. I am not suggesting that we need not pay attention to our river health for of course we must.

The justice and morality weaved into our social and economic fabric is the key to our prosperity and this course is certain to accelerate the divide between the powerful and the weak.

Global Warming is not taken seriously by this commentator as there is much hype and no substance. It sure makes a good propaganda tool for scaring the public, a bit like WMD and the "Muslim conspiracy theory".

Our society is drowning in propaganda.
The "Ozone Hole" was "discovered" in the eighties but I have a copy of Dobson's study of Ozone behaviour written in the late fifties which analysed the changing intensities of ozone over the poles. Ozone variation is a natural phenomena but it sure suited DuPont to force the world to transfer to their newly patented refrigeration gas when the patents expired on the old.

In my experience Big Money employs the "green" agendas to assist with their march toward monopoly. I know there are real aspects to many of the environmental headlines but generally the solution is to erode grass roots control with layers of regulation and authority from on high.

Some of what is achieved is excellent and exciting but the surrender of individual and local autonomy is dangerous to the social credit of our society. We now have to buy the rain that falls on our land. If carbon credit trading evolves as it’s designers hope we will eventually have to buy our oxygen because that is fundamentally what this new market is about.

I forecast twenty years ago we would have to buy the rainfall on our land if we continued in the direction we were travelling and many did not believe. The single thread is the policy of monopoly.

Our history books tell us this is the road to misery but the idealist never seem to know much about the strategies of power and their manipulation of altruism.

Jenny, you and I would hope for the same future I am sure, but if you do not pay attention to the motivations behind... and results of.. the "Water Crisis", you will be delivered a future you do not desire and the resource of the Murray will be the possession of corporations.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

No need to worry about the Coorong - Halliburton has a solution. KBR engineer Tony Reid has proposed a Twin Lakes construction, centred on an artificial levee of about eight kilometres diameter, to be built, with the resultant saved water being fed into Adelaide's supply.

[excerpt]

The Twin Lakes Concept separates Lake Alexandrina into two lakes, an inner lake containing sea water and an outer lake containing fresh water at the same level as at present.

The separation can be achieved in a number of ways.

The separation proposed is an earthen levee, 100 kilometres long and having a crest width of 20 metres. This levee can be developed as a tourist road and the yellow blobs indicate widening of the levee for tourist destinations for fishing, bird watching, etc. The black blobs are boating locks to facilitate tourist and recreational boating. The surface area of the Lower Lakes is 81,500 hectares and the area of the inner lake is 50,000 hectares.

The inner salt water lake is connected to the sea via the Coorong and the Murray Mouth. As the tide in the sea rises and falls, sea water flows into and out of the inner lake twice a day.

To enable the inner lake to be connected to the sea, the Ewe Island Barrage is removed.

An opening of 1-2 kilometres can be achieved at this location and it is predicted that the width of the Murray Mouth will be 500 to 1000 m.

A new flow regulator is built to restore the capacity of the barrages to handle flood flows.

Lake Albert is not changed by the Twin Lakes Concept.

The first challenge of savings in fresh water evaporation comes from the reduced surface area of fresh water and is estimated to be 300 GL/a.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Christopher F. Brooks, You stated that “Salinity is a problem of some concern but great progress is also being achieved by corrective measures on farm. …the fishermen tell me the fishing is great. This is my environment, this is our garden, we care and tend it for our pleasure and our livelihood with a mind also for the future.”

Compare this with a recent Australian conservation foundation report on the state of the Murray.
See here: link here “Scientific studies and surveys of the internationally-protected area show:
* Pelicans have not bred for almost four years. The Coorong was Australia's largest permanent breeding colony;
* Brine shrimp, never before recorded in the Coorong, are now as thick as soup;
* Salinity levels are three times that of sea water;
* 12 species of fish are locally extinct. Migratory wader birds have dropped from 150,000 in the 1980s to 50,000. The curlew sandpiper dropped from 40,000 to 2000.

The research comes as environment ministers meet on Friday to discuss the Murray.
"This is a national emergency. There is nothing in the world that compares to the Coorong, which was memorialised in Storm Boy. So it's incomprehensible that Australians will allow this icon to totally collapse," said Dr Paul Sinclair, Environment Victoria's Healthy Rivers Campaign Director.
"The Murray needs water now. It has been promised water but not a drop has been delivered by governments."

Dr Arlene Buchan of the Australian Conservation Foundation said the whole river system was at risk: "It's not just the Coorong. All the way up the Murray there are signs of severe ecological decline. 75% of river red gums are stressed, dead or dying. They will disappear, along with fish, birds and other wildlife, unless real water is returned to the Murray. That means governments purchasing water entitlements."

Christopher, the state of the Murray is a national shame and all Australians must come to grips with the problems we are facing. I see no signs of great progress being made. Water use needs to be debated and farmers must realize that water is a scarce commodity and some farming practices are not viable.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

John Pratt, I don't regard the Australian Conservation Foundation as an impartial source of data.

The lower reaches of the Murray have been managed poorly an change is certainly needed but the hype and panic merchants over state the problems.

Richard Tonkin points toward a corporate agenda that might be assisted by some propaganda.

We have had an extremely long dry spell and this will effect the river.

The river mouth has closed in previous dry periods and will do so again.

Without the irrigation system the Murray would have run dry in sections during the last few years. It did so before the storage dams were constructed.

Pristine nature can be cruel and deadly.

Hundreds of dairy farmers have also become extinct because of the drought while city dwellers turn on their taps and buy cheap food at the supermarket.

The whole water scarcity theme is riddled with dishonesty.

The real questions revolve around who owns the water and who will control it in the future.

My parents and their generation have forged the productivity of the irrigation regions and funded the development of the storage capacity but now this valuable commodity is coveted by big business and the river crisis is the lever.

Those that live and work on, and with the river, express opinions that contradict the hype merchants.

The ACF after all headlined the ozone depletion hoax and promote the man created global warming theories as fact.

Early photographs of Murray River scenes show the banks nude of forestry that are now thickly forested.

I don't put much store in the theme that the state of the environment was perfect before European influence.

It was different and some of the change has been destructive but on the other hand much has released a greater dividend from the landscape to benefit us all.

Farming practice is always evolving and viability is tricky term to pin down. Is prison labour in China viable? What are the environmental standards in South American farming regions?

Change will continue as the impact of methods are evaluated.

John, I agree we can improve our care of the landscape but if it is achieved at the expense of decentralised ownership and control then the result will not be positive in balance.

Where goes the power, so goes the dividends.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Yes Christopher, and sometimes having those warnings does make for change. You have an analysis that serves you well in this world but perhaps it can be leavened with the odd bit of curiosity for knowledge that challenges those certainties.

Good luck with the rain. :)

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Christopher, you paint a rosy picture of your farm. I am pleased you have received enough rain in your area. The fact remains only 13% of NSW has had sufficient rain, 37.8% remains in drought. The remainder of the state has had only marginal rain. See here.

The drought continues, if global warming predictions are correct we may never again see the rainfall we once enjoyed. I believe we could be in for more or less continuous drought. We must therefore revise our agricultural practice.

In a Senate report here

“Irrigated agriculture accounts for about three quarters of total consumptive water use in Australia. From 1983-84 to 1996-97 extractions for irrigation increased by 76 percent, a much faster rate of increase than domestic and industrial use. This reflected the continuing rapid expansion of the area of irrigated land, especially in New South Wales and Queensland. Initiatives that would see expansion of irrigation are also evident in Northern Australia.”

It makes no sense to increase our use of water for irrigation when we are experiencing a severe drought and most predictions are for the drought to continue.

Three quarters of the total consumptive water use in Australia is used for irrigation. In my opinion this is a huge burden on a very dry continent. We must reduce the amount of water we use and it seems to me that agriculture is a good place to start. If the water used for irrigation was priced at the same price as that used in the cities then we would see more rational use of our limited water supply.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

John Pratt, you seem to discount the recent drought as a factor. This dry period has been the worst in the experience of any living persons. On my own property we have some wetland areas that become dry gully land with cracks deeper that you could see down too the bottom.

This was very interesting to observe and undoubtedly the ducks and swans had to find other breeding grounds over the last couple of seasons. We actually tempered the dry with our irrigation because some areas that retained water only did so because they are a part of my irrigation system.

This spring the water is back and the wildlife is furiously busy. The bird life appears to be as abundant as ever. My property is a magnificent natural habitat for countless bird species that my family celebrate and enjoy every day. The broken creek meanders along the boundary for several kilometres. We have possibly ten hectares of forest shelter on our farm, both box and gum varieties.
We have consulted with the DPI towards a long term management strategy so this resource is both sustained if not improved for it’s natural and stock shelter dividends.
We are in the final stage of a whole farm planning process that includes more major tree reservation developments.

John Pratt, all Governments suckle at the breast of the policy of monopoly and assist the program towards concentration of water ownership.

John, I know some of your concerns are very real and we certainly must pay attention as farmers and consumers.

I agree with your desire for "equity" but we have a different definition. "Cost" is also very elusive. Do regular attendees of the MCG or our Museums and Galleries pay the "cost"?

My fundamental belief is that we must all receive a just living circumstance that is a reflection of the sustainable natural capacity and our contribution towards the whole plus our inheritance rights as members of our nation and communities.

As a farmer I know the material and physical capacity is abundant.

A Victorian politician once responded that it was a "motherhood" statement. My view is "motherhood" is about the most honest institution in our society.
I’m sticking with it!

Jenny Stirling, when I went to school in the seventies and early eighties I was taught an ice age was approaching and oil would be short in a decade. Crisis...crisis...and more fear and crisis. These were regular themes along with the nuclear holocaust scenarios. The Soviet threat seemed imminent.

I now know that all these themes were about justifying certain business agenda and making squill ions from guns and bullets. It goes on still today.

The worlds oil reserves are abundant but super profits can only be achieved if access is strangled and the public must be inoculated with a suitable mind set to bear the imposition.

This is the policy of monopoly that locks up the created generosity of the world to enrich and empower a few.

The impact is serious here in Australia for many, but the real misery lies in far away places like Iraq and Sudan just to mention two.

It’s time the policy was changed.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Christopher, I'd like to second Jenny's comment re global warming. Sadly, the media spin here has obscured the undoubted fact that well-over 95% of accredited climatologists now support said hypothesis, albeit with many (well-justified) variations as to how exactly it will play-out in the real world.

And, almost all of the (tiny) minority of 'dissidents' are in the direct employ of those corporations with the most to gain by denying the facts of the case. Now, this doesn't - at all - mean that the worst-case scenarios so blithely peddled by some 'green' activists are proven. It merely means that anyone who has genuinely tried to follow the real scientific debates re this issue would (justifiably) take issue with your summary dismissal of same.

Me, if I was a farmer - as my maternal grandfather (and all my great-grandparents) were, by the way - I'd already be making plans as to how my land might best cope with such changes, because, we'll surely need you then, even more than we need you now.

All the best.

re: Ten good reasons why young people should enter politics

Thank you Christopher. You write so compellingly, I feel I must give some thought to what you are saying. I too have a strong belief in local knowledge and life experience. Yes, and I can also see that uninformed greenies like myself can have the wool pulled over their eyes whe it comes to topics like the deregulation of water. We can be a bit :) naive about the power dynamics. I remember a 4 Corners programme which made similar points to the one's you are making about the monopoly of water rights. The Murray is a big river and no doubt there are sections which are very badly managed and parts that are not.

Just one point Chris, I would like you to give global warming another look. Lets hope the experts are wrong here but I think the local signs and the lived experience of people up in the Tundra and Greenland are just as valid as your views on the Murray. And these people are worried.

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