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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

Thus Spake Mungo: Climate change? ‘No idea,’ says drought minister

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98% of NSW is drought-declared, including the Macquarie Marshes in Western New South Wales. Photo: Tree Faerie.

David Littleproud has a somewhat unwieldy title – Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disasters and Emergency Management. But keeping it simple, he is happy to live up to his name: he knows very little, and is bloody well proud of it.

Asked whether the calamitously early bushfire season might have something to do with man-made climate change, Littleproud responded cheerfully: ‘I’ve no idea… I’m not a scientist, I haven’t an opinion one way or the other… I don’t have an opinion but I don’t think it really matters.’

If his insouciance meant anything, it seemed to suggest as long as taxpayers were prepared to go on funding the results of his ignorance, he was doing his job; and although he scrambled back later to admit perhaps scientists who overwhelmingly endorse the reality of man-made climate change might have a point, it was still nothing to do with him – nothing to see here, move along please.

A dammed and sunburnt country

In fact those on the front line – the worried residents of rural communities and of course the firefighters themselves – think it matters quite a lot. As they put it, climate change may not have lit the match, but it is making things a lot more difficult.

And there will be worse to come: there is pressure to bring the fire danger season forward permanently from October to September, and perhaps extend it further into Autumn.

Similarly, climate change may not have been the direct trigger for the drought, but its severity and longevity cannot be denied.

The rivers are literally drying up and the only solutions offered are beyond absurd. Water is already being diverted to supply thirsty townships, and the latest idea seems to be to switch the rivers off entirely – to cancel the normal flushing.

This is risibly described as allowing nature to take its course.

If this was truly the motive, presumably the proponents would advocate shutting off the irrigation pumps and canals, opening the dams and letting the rivers run.







But of course this is not the plan – it is pure self interest. Understandable in the desperate plight some find themselves, but hardly sensible policy, even in the short term. If the rivers die, so surely will those who depend on them. And even without artificial aid, climate change is surely, and not so slowly, diminishing them to critical levels.

Dough and prayers for drought relief

The Federal Minister for Water Resources and the Drought, David Littleproud, says it doesn’t matter what’s causing the rivers to run dry.
PHOTO: Facebook

So Littleproud’s solution? Give the country the tools to adjust – by which he apparently means keep pouring out the drought relief and praying for rain in the delusion that once the drought breaks, we can all get back to normal. The point is that normal has changed: the new norm is hotter, drier and longer droughts, harsher conditions all round.

And the old Murray-Darling Basin Plan, whose report Littleproud has not yet read (‘there are 750 pages, nearly, to read. It would be very pre-emptive to make any assumptions from me’ – far too many difficult words for a National minister) is clearly now obsolete – if it ever had any integrity left after Littleproud’s predecessor, the unlamented Barnaby Joyce, had rorted it to the point of extinction.

So Littleproud is resigned to the likelihood that there is really nothing he can do except watch on: ‘And let me brace you all, these disasters will happen again. That is the way of nature. But let me say, these water managers had to make a decision about the use of that water, the use of the water that would evaporate’.

‘Ag science will tell you that if you leave water out in the hot sun it will evaporate.’

Well yes, and especially if you don’t keep it flowing. And obviously allowing absentee landlords to speculate and hoard what water remains in the hope of accumulating windfall profits is not helping either. So when all the rivers run dry, what is plan B – or even plan A, for that matter?

No Plan B for water sustainability. Or C, or D, or E…

For Littleproud and his colleagues, there just isn’t one – it is all too hard. And the grim reality is that it is probably too late anyway – years, decades of neglect have meant that the damage has been done and may be irretrievable. Even the incorrigible optimists are starting to give up.

Labor stalwarts are now talking about ditching their ambitious aim of a 45 per cent cut in emissions by 2030, because there is no longer sufficient time to implement it within their self-imposed deadline.

They had expected to be in government by now, but even if they win in 2022, time is running out.

There is still a hope – and it is no more than that – that net zero emissions by 2050 remains achievable.

But this is the kind of pie-in-the-sky stuff which Littleproud espouses. What is needed, as the firefighters and the increasing number of Australians now directly threatened by climate change realise, is immediate action. And there is absolutely no prospect that they are going to get it.

Climate denialists still thriving

ScoMo keeps blathering on about what is really important to hard-working Australians – lower taxes, keeping more money in their pockets, deporting asylum seekers, wedging opponents and pretending that everything is just hunky-dory as long as he is there as their miraculous messiah. His vision is, always has been and always will be, limited to the next election.

The position embraced by our leader and his party is that because the voters – or at least a sizeable majority of them – believe in climate change, the government has to pretend it does too.

‘Because the voters – or at least a sizeable majority of them – believe in climate change, the government has to pretend it does too.’

Most of it doesn’t, and in any case it has no intention of doing anything about it.

The catechism is one of serial denial. Climate change isn’t happening – it’s fake news, invented by sinister socialists attempting to overthrow elected governments to make more money for themselves. But if by some chance climate change could be real, it is certainly not man-made – the race is too puny to influence the massive forces of nature, ordained by God. But if some portions of it are actually anthropogenically induced, no problem, technology will solve everything. But if, regrettably, it doesn’t, we can always adapt to the consequences. And if we can’t, well, God will provide.

Or perhaps not. Either way, there will be even less reason for David Littleproud to boast of his ignorance and impotence.

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  1. The Minister for Drought, David Littletobeproudof, is doing a sterling job. I mean, if , “I don’t have an opinion and I don’t think it really matters”, is the best he can come up with, then he the right bloke as ‘Minister for Keeping the Drought going’. Clowns like Littletobeproudof are in charge of running Australia, they don’t acknowledge the facts or science on any issue connected with the climate and the burning of Fossil Fuels that poses an existential threat to the inhabitants of Planet Earth. When are the voters going to wake up and stop voting these clowns into government.

  2. Never, in our 6 million years of history, since we shared the same grandmother with a Chimpanzee, have we faced such a broad-based catastrophe.
    Nor have we seen it coming at such an alarming and increasing speed.

    Yet there are so many amongst us, that realise that their grandchildren, even their children, face being effectively murdered by a slow, torturous death by thirst, starvation and a lack of back-up, as society likely collapses into an army of individuals having given up on employment in order to live for another day of hope.

    All this, which is only just, still avoidable, if only these denialist “conservatives” followed our brilliant world of science, and reduced their personal emissions, post haste, and encouraged all their friends to. Even by the next election, it could be too late for this once magnificent country, to wave the flag of “Yes, Australia Wants To Survive too”.

    But no, many think it’s all a joke, and that the school kids are wasting their time. “They should instead, be shown how to plant a tree” I heard one say. “The problem is, there are too many people”. Or even, “They spend too much time on their iPhones” !!

    These people shouldn’t be allowed to vote, until they’ve proven they know what Climate Change is caused by.

    This addiction to fossil fuels, may only be detoxed by a string of School Strikes. Good luck kids. I’m with you all.

    When Winston Churchill announced that England was at war. The world listened..

    Somehow, we need to here, that we are at war with ourselves, and every other species as well.

    But who’s listening this time??

    We only get one bite at this end-game.

  3. Can’t have it two ways, it’s either due to anthropogenic factors or a bunch of kids with matches and too much time on their hands. Give them all a good hiding and watch the bush fire season dwindle away.

  4. Australia may be the driest inhabited continent but it is also one of the largest exporters of water. We export our water mainly in agricultural products, rice, cotton etc. To keep our rivers flowing, why don’t we stop this export or at least charge the exporters for the cost of this problem. Sounds easy if you don’t mention Cobby Stn or any of our politicians with a financial interest in this export.

    • The federal government has done nothing for us money wise every time wehave tryed to get household support we were told that we didn’t qualifiey so unless we want loan we get nothing . NSW state government has only gave use frieght subsidy which amounted to six thousand dollars over seven year.

  5. Murray, it’s sad that you are incorrect. What
    a choice… let’s go belt-up the kids! Come on.
    I suppose all the world’s problems emerge
    from kids’ corner………. that’s what you are
    saying. Young kids & students set the
    Amazon on fire? Tornado kids wipe out
    thousands of homes on the east coast of
    the US? There are dozens more. Forget it,

    • Sorry Stefanie, the Amazon is not on fire, dismiss that pamphlet, most of it agrarian fire … and yes Murray has a point, if any point can be made in a one-sided debate … students are being ignited since Trump and here since Morrison, students as voters in two, three years time so it is all political … if they truly thought they understood the situation, the dozen sciences involved in meteorology, why not engage in debate at the school auditorium … no, a street party … and yes, there could be a domestic terrorism involved in the fire seasons, hard to put it all down to lightning which usually accompanies rain … but as I say no point anymore in debate, climate change theory has become orthodoxy and the solution has become a bit by bit environmentalist programme … the latest plastic straws didn’t take off, I wait with baited breath to find out what’s next, plastic biros?

  6. We live at walgett nsw the federal government has done nothing for us money wise every time wehave tryed to get household support we were told we didnt qualifiey unless we wont to borrow money. The state government has only payed use frieght subsidy and nothing else. Government tell every one thay are helping but with all the red tape you receive nothing .

  7. We live on the Murray and have been concerned about the degradation for some time. The Miurray Darling cannot support the crops that are sucking it dry. Furthermore, how stupid is this country to ignore the desperate need for water. Climate change or not the farmers struggling at the moment would be in much better shape if they had catchments. Climate Change or not why hasn’t Australia drought proofed this country decades ago? The south of France, Italy and Spain are Mediterranean countries with a Mediterranian climate. Where I live we have the same climate. When the Romans took over France and Spain in the first century they found they were exceptionally dry in certain areas, so they built dams and aquaducts. Some are still standing and they were built by hand. How brainless have Australians been. We arrived in 1788 and nothing has been done to drought proof this country which is one of the driest on earth. Why? When the flood hit northern Queensland a drowned cow got washed into the fork of a gumtree. When the water dissipated she was 20ft from the ground. Where were the catchments? An entire sector of Australian business and livelihood have been ignored over many decades and now Politicians have to take notice. Remember also that Shorten made it clear that he had no intention of doing anything for the farmers in the most dire of predicaments. This has always been Labor’s stand. Farmers have gradually been worn down because they have been out of sight out of mind. We subdivided ten years ago. It was just too hard. We knew that the neglect by Governments and the greed of the cities had destroyed farming. It wasn’t easy. Our property had been farmed by both of our families over decades.

    As for mateship and care for our fellow man…what is that? Droughts come and go as they have from time in memorium. Where are the catchments? Why don’t we have catchments? Why are people from other countries sucking the life out of our rivers? My husband used to be able to throw a coin into the river and watch it go to the bottom. He is nearly 70 and the river is so muddy if a person slipped below the surface it is impossible to see them.

    There have not been enough farmers to put bums on seats in Canberra so they have been ignored.

    At a time when David Littleproud is being slaughtered by the press may I say that he has worked hard to stop the Vegans trespassing on farming land. They came onto my land and let my horses out. My mare would have scared the life out of them which Aug era well for the future..

    • Lynne absolutely brilliant !! If they ! And i mean private enterprise can pipe gas a thounand km
      Water would even be easier!! No brainer
      However the governments and that is the coalition and labor has mo intention of doing so ..because its going to rain some day ..and it WILL !! Also government’s have been trying to put dams
      In ..to hard they say …because the stupid GREENS
      Push back is relentless!! even in dire need !!
      Great read LYNNE

      • At least some actual debate here Lynne … I think we might fit 4 Spains into NSW though but the question of catchment west of the divide a good point, the Murray has the snowfields and the darling the Condamine, all mountainous, the whole west of the Divide same thing, mountains mean rain in the long run, catch it when you can … then there are hard decisions, cut back on herds, try keep breeding stock, subdivide as you say, not so much a question of prayer as planning … the distribution of water though, a curly question, every farmer will claim the right, and it probably comes down to who’s first, or who knows whom … but yes dams west of the divide

  8. “Hell has no fury as a scorned Mungo ” the bias is overwhelming…Q&A would love you as host Mungo ..seriously do you really think that the current labor mob would have this country in a better position if in Government?? Unlike you mungo!! i vote for who i think that would better suited to run the country , regardless of of who you support.. and unfortunately it was NOT labor ..
    Absolute bunch of lefty virtue signaling hypocrites
    They have changed and for the worst!! Once a party for the workers NOT anymore…where is the Great
    Bob Hawke when most needed..Bob even admitted that Shorten lead Government was out of touch
    With the Australian Voters with labors policies
    During the election..and the country voted accordingly!!!’.brainwashed by the greens labor is ..another party who i once voted for that has lost the plot !! Imagine have the greens leader running
    The country.. Venezuela all over again !!!
    One Article Mungo?? Only one!! give your loyal readers a insight on how labor are traveling ..??
    We live in the best country in the world by far
    Mungo !! Its not dire !! One Article??

  9. Barrow, even if Mungo had a fool-proof answer… [& who has one]
    it’s not going to fix the ‘spot’ most of us are in. I wish Bob Hawke
    was still around… or Whitlam… or Super-Woman; anyone with
    guts & thought depth enough to swing this land back to what it
    once was before the ‘now almost new aliens called parliamentary
    leaders’ took over. Like you, I’ve voted Labor – Greens – etc in the
    past but there is really no ‘one’ party I can support. They do not
    deserve the people’s trust. They are no better than school yard
    bullies. They couldn’t run a ‘two-up’ game & get the numbers
    right. And yet [get this] we get howled down by religious rites &
    told we need to see the light… that’s what is implied. Is it any
    wonder the kids of all ages are either speaking up or totally
    chucking in the towel.

  10. So Barrow with our national debt approaching $700 billion you talk about the alp and Venezuela. You do know that the coalition has been in government for 7 years. How about you stop calling people names like a our illustrious “ Christian pm” who is seating on his hands still blaming labor though he is in government. Time for you people to look at the bleeding obvious we are in a climate emergency and no matter how dams or pipelines you build there is no water for them and drying out of soils is increasing with mean temperatures increasing( I suppose you should look up the word mean as if it goes cold you’ll go where climate change) Anyway had my rant because of you people need to wake up, do you argue with doctor about not accepting the evidence for your treatment?

    • Respect everyone’s views Rod ! Yes we have a drought and how ..no worse than the 17th or 18th centuries though !! Not one Scientist in the past 50 years Rod has had a climate change prediction ever
      Come true NOT ONE !! “Quote of the Millennium ”
      If we cut emissions today , “global temperatures are not likely to drop for about a thousand years ”
      Tim Flannery 2011.. thats just one of them !! Please

    • Sarah how long have you been reading Mungos article’s??
      Is it the case that whoever is in Government
      Mungo holds them to account?? Even Labor ??
      Not a chance !!

  11. Definitely the ‘world IS on fire’. Now, who lit it?
    The Paris Agreement people? [nah]. A couple
    of fire-bugs? [nah]. Part of Australia (2 days
    ago) was snow covered & most of the rest…
    crackling hot bacon. What’s normal? Nix;
    because we need to be on the alert 25 hours
    a day. The Lord’s Aussie saviour is about to
    share his faith in the coal lobby with his USofA
    Trumpet since they both are Climate Chaos
    nob-believing chaps of ‘good will’. Meanwhile,
    we can forget the Bahamas blunder-bust, the
    Eastern shores’ rage, the ongoing fear in the
    Philippines, The Amazon… Holy Moses. Let
    us save water & listen to science.

  12. Great news to read & hear that The UN [United Nations]
    Climate Change Summit in its never before rebuke has
    banned Australia from speaking due to its stand on Coal
    & being unwilling to reduce emissions. Quote ‘All speech
    from Australia would be hot air.’ Can’t not agree with the
    standing taken by the UN.

  13. OOPS… also… now the Torres Strait Islanders want Morrison
    to visit their ‘Climate Threatened’ homes. Won’t hurt our
    leader to drop in & tell them there is no problem because
    there is no threat & the Climate’s fine. In fact, the world’s in
    good shape.

  14. Stefanie , protesters taking action today .
    Are protesting against their own prosperity and privilege’s, every single one of them when asked in interviews, what are your demand? No more coal
    Mines, 100 % renewables.. cant you see my point
    Stefanie?? The hypocrisy!! including..medications , hospital equipment..
    Kidney dialysis machines, roads , roofs , cast iron pans , bikes , cars , phones, now if these protesters are serious about climate change.. well act NOW
    But this wont happen ..oh no cant take my lifestyle away..was the answer from many kids i asked !! Expected no less ..

  15. We must be talking to different kids, Barrow. In
    Lismore alone they spoke to a few thousand
    adults & listed all the ‘cut off & cut-backs’ that
    are needed to be made – lifetime changes are
    a necessity. I won’t go on because it’s all on
    film & recorded. Medication & hospital support
    uses very little of the bad stuff & is, naturally,
    more than allowable as it should be.


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