Flat White

The stupidest thing the federal government does

25 July 2017

7:36 AM

25 July 2017

7:36 AM

This is a tale of idiocy, full of facts and foreboding, signifying that the end times must be surely upon us. A bloke bought a sheep property of half a million acres in western Queensland for $2.0 million. Instead of running sheep on it, he now gets $350,000 per annum under the federal government’s Direct Action scheme for not using the grass on his property. The idea being that the grass locks up carbon and reduces Australia’s carbon emissions. A neighbouring property gets $600,000 per annum. Direct Action is a $1.7 billion per annum program funded from general taxation revenue.

Now people may be paid, from time to time, for not doing things and there may be a rational reason for that.  But being paid for allowing grass to stand undisturbed? That grass is going to rot or be burnt within three years anyway. Not allowing the fuel load from dead grass to build up is so important in rangeland management that in northern Australia it is done from aircraft using capsules containing potassium permanganate and glycerine.  Upon hitting the ground, the capsules shatter, mixing the components which spontaneously ignite. Burning grassland is important because otherwise the fuel load builds up and the resulting fire, which will come, kills everything. As Captain Cook and others have noted, when the Aborigines had the run of the country they would set fire to everything, all the time – because bad things happened if they didn’t.

Now the idiocy of Direct Action is founded on belief in global warming. Global warming in turn is a state-sponsored religion and those of us who do not follow that faith are forking out for those who do.  From that perspective, it is a just a case of trying to keep the total spend on such religious observance under control. And beyond the direct spend; belief in global warming is now being used to destroy our power supply. But does the federal government have to insult our intelligence so egregiously by paying people not to use grass? Seemingly no member of parliament cares – about the waste or the idiotic science.

Something similar happened in the Department of Transport in mid-2014.  The Minister for Transport at the time, Warren Truss, was a wheat farmer. Farmers are supposed to be practical, no-nonsense people. But the Department talked their minister into closing Darwin airport because a volcano 1,000 km away in Indonesia had erupted, releasing volcanic ash into the atmosphere. What do the Indonesians, the Filipinos, the Japanese do about their exploding volcanoes?  They simply fly around them. At the time, nobody thought it strange that the Indonesians kept flying up and down their archipelago while Australia closed airports far away from the danger zone.

Now it is one thing for Canberra public servants to respond to natural events by going into hysterical schoolgirl mode, but our members of parliament, and especially the best of these, the ones chosen to be ministers, should be level-headed and have knowledge of the real world. But none of our federal parliamentarians thought it was strange that Darwin airport could be closed under clear blue skies. And they didn’t care about the lives of Australians being needlessly disrupted by such an inane directive.

It seems though that, as a nation, we will only stop doing very stupid things when we run out of money to do so. Surely a cathartic event is coming?

David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare 

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