Connect with us

Political Corruption

The High Price of Embarrassment

Is causing embarrassment to our governments the greatest and most grievous sin ?…



We have been led into the modern age of mass public surveillance with the catch-cry of “If you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear.” In the modern, uncomfortable world created by all of us being held under constant suspicion, that monitoring is, when it comes to living in our sham democracies, all one way.

The intrusion into and subsequent transparency of ‘our’ day to day functioning is not matched in any meaningful way by our ability to acquire transparency into ‘their’ day to day functioning.

In Part 2, Section 15 (c) of our Freedom of Information Act (The GIPA Act of 2009), the Act states “The fact that disclosure of information might cause embarrassment to, or a loss of confidence in, the Government is irrelevant and must not be taken into account.”

When it comes to whistle-blowers, free journalists and other sources revealing information that governments would rather remain unrevealed, causing embarrassment seems to be the greatest and most greivous sin.

There has been Manning, Snowden, Assange, Simone Marsh, Jeffrey Wigand and literally thousands of others, from all walks of life and professions, come forward to let the general public know a deeper and darker version of events than we are fed by governments and industry. The real crime of these revelations is not that they endanger lives, it is that they endanger profits and power. Overwhelmingly, these hidden government, pharmaceutical and industrial revelations are met by the universal response of shooting the messenger.

We are unable to substantiate any lives lost due to Assange’s revelations. Snowden was equally clinical and respectful of potential damage when he released his information. Assange showed us American helicopters shooting innocent people in Afghanistan. Snowden told us governments were collecting information to which they had no legal right and that the greatest invaders of privacy were in fact corporations after our money.
Both these revelations proved highly embarrassing to those concerned because they, not us, were doing the wrong thing. And that apparently was the crime these and other whistle-blowers and information sharers committed.

Through most of these instances that we have looked into, there have been no lives lost due to the release of that information. In the case of Wigand there may be, over the years, literally millions of lives saved. However, on the other side of the coin, for example, the appallingly politically motivated ‘outing’ of CIA agent Valerie Plame by her own government led to the deaths of many foreign nationals cooperating fully with the US. People the US owed some sort of moral debt to.

There is a modern social justice saying, offered in good conscience I am sure, that states ‘speak truth to power.’ In the modern social architecture this would seem to need restating as ‘speak truth to crooks.’

What do you think of this?, or as we say here, Wadayathinkothis?


Murray Darling Basin residents subjected to negative health and social outcomes deliberately

Consequences of Murray Darling Basin decisions well known




Health Concerns in the Murray Darling Basin

Health Concerns in the Murray Darling Basin. Image Credit: Ian Wall

There is a figure used in finance in America that states for every 1% increase in unemployment, 40,000 people die. While that exact figure might be argued, the fact that there are personal and social health consequences to government and corporate decisions cannot be argued.

These health consequences are known to anyone who has studied economics, government administration, town planning, finance, banking, law, public health, medicine and so on. In other words, information that is known to everyone in government and the corporate world.

These health and social outcomes are certain. They are predictable. They are, in some cases, quite accurately quantifiable prior to the decision being made. They are predictable, certain, known.

Those health and social outcomes include, yet are not limited to-
Deaths as a result of suicide, reduced medical and health support services, risks associated with changes in living standards and arrangements (the dangers of being homeless for example), increased medication and drug use, social unrest and so on.

Mental health issues brought on by sudden changes in circumstance, extended periods of mental and emotional stress during periods of forced change, financial ruin are certain and known.

Family unit breakdowns, business failures, community relationships being lost, communities themselves being weakened and destroyed.

The business failures and community breakdowns due to the shift of economic production are all certain and known outcomes of government and corporate decisions.

These outcomes are seen in government projects such as the Murray Darling Basin and in corporate events such as the closing of manufacturing facilities.

So, when we look at the economic, environmental and social mess that is the Murray Darling scheme, we should see it clearly through the lens of knowing that everyone of those decision were intentional and their outcomes were predictable and in many cases quantifiable. We should know that in the face of that knowledge, those decisons were made anyway.

That should change the way we see what has happened, it should change the way we react to what has happened and it should change the way in which we try to redress what has happened. Throughout the Murray Darling Basin, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, what is happening to you now is not the mistake of some dumb politician.

The simple truth is, it is the known outcome of an intentional decision.

How does that make you feel?

Continue Reading


Intentional and Predictable

At the core of the problems in the Murray Darling Basin lies the elephant in the room, Every single action carried out by those currently in charge is Intentional and Deliberate and the outcomes have been Predictable




Dead Dry Fauna on the Dry Darling River
Intentional and Deliberate, Dead remains in the base of the Darling River (Image credit: Mark Merritt, Earthling Studios)

At the core of the problems in the Murray Darling Basin lies the elephant in the room, Every single action carried out by the Corporations, Federal Government, The MDBA, WaterNSW, all actions by these parties are intentional.

It’s a mistake to think that these actions are mal-administration, they are in fact deliberate administration.

Included in these intentional actions is the framing of the legislation ( The Water Act 2007 ) and the creation of the Murray Darling Basin Authority. All Intentional. Further, these intentional acts have been supported through successive Labour and LNP governments.

The fact that there is no royal commission into the scheme is also intentional.

Water being allowed to be traded off farm and internationally, Intentional.

Foreign investors profiteering from Australian water at the expense of Australian Farmers

Foreign investors profiteering from Australian water at the expense of Australian Farmers

Corporations funded by tax payers to shift their operations away from the regions which are being dried up, Intentional.

Draining of the Menindee Lakes ( Rapid Draw Down Policy ), Intentional.

The destruction of a nationally significant ecosystem, Intentional.

Increased water prices and smaller farmers being forced off their land, Predictable.

Decline of Rural Communities, Predictable.

Severe community health outcomes, including suicide, depression, family breakdowns, small business destruction, and regional depopulation, KNOWN PREDICTABLE OUTCOMES.

Destruction of environments, Predictable and Intentional.

The only way we can address these problems is to redress the environmental modifications carried out by corporate agribusiness, halt rapid draw down from Menindee Lakes and decommission the Wentworth to Broken Hill Pipeline and all other infrastructure built without sound science or business plans, including reassessment of the SA Barrages and, investigate and bring to justice any minister, bureaucrat, authority and corporate entity who have acted illegally. Finally we need input and engagement with farmers, irrigators, first nations people and scientists who all need an equal seat at the table where corporate and political influence is negated via full transparency.


Continue Reading


A generation raised on a river of pain




Murray River near Lock 10 Wentworth
Image Courtesy: Sally harding: The Murray River near Lock 10 Wentworth, water in the river doesn't always mean farmers get water allocations.

Recent discussion on Facebook led us to the idea of asking for real stories from Murray Darling Basin residents, Sally Harding has kindly offered an opinion piece she wrote based on her real experiences with locals who have suffered through this ongoing man-made disaster, remembering for a moment, this story is based on actual events that have been, and are happening right now in the Murray Darling Basin.

A Generation raised on a river of pain, by Sally Harding.

If I had an old-fashioned paper map of Australia, and one of my kids’ marker pens, I would circle a large section to the east.

In this wide brown and green area with blue capillaries criss-crossing several states is a chapter of ecological and humanitarian shame happening right now.

Murray Darling Basin

Image Courtesy The Murray Darling Basin covers 14% of Australia’s land mass

It’s the area known as the Murray Darling Basin and it is a bloody battleground for water.

Go ahead and Google it – but be warned, you’ll be having screen time for quite a while.

Like most people, you’ll probably decide it’s a problem too wicked to understand or attempt to influence – something that is arguably working in favour of those accused of hijacking a national water source for political gain.

Time will pass, as it always does, and the multi-powers that manage the river system will continue to justify who gets what and who goes without.

Fortunately history has a way of being kind to masses that suffer in silence.

There might eventually be a much-wanted Federal Royal Commission and, for good measure, a much-needed national apology to the victims (including a million fish).

That may help right some wrongs and provide a sense of justice, but what will remain is a river system and once-thriving communities that may never recover.

Our primary producers, once the pride of the nation for allowing Australia to ride off the sheep’s back and into the global market, have become a politicised commodity themselves.

The lucky ones are those that fate situated upstream or downstream. Those in the middle – ironically enough, Australia’s premier foodbowl – seem to be without friends in high places.

Pressure to grow crops without the security of water (plus the cruelty of watching it rush out to sea, in the state next door) is like a noose around the necks of once-productive Riverina farmers and irrigators.

The MDBA Highway to Hell

Image:Craig Williams, A trip down the MDBA Highway to Hell is not for the faint hearted

It is a dire situation that is creating a generation of children growing up with at least one parent with anxiety or depression, mostly undiagnosed.

The other parent, often a wife and mother, might have a day job in town to make ends meet, barely hanging in there herself but too afraid to admit it.

The necessity to be the breadwinner keeps the household afloat but only adds to the weight of her husband’s crushing burden to provide and sense of failure.

She no longer catches up with friends or attends meetings at night, not because she’s antisocial but because she is too afraid to leave her husband and the gun cabinet alone together.

She has become an actress, pretending to her children, her husband and fellow townsfolk that better times are around the corner, not knowing when that will be and for how long the stretched can be stretched any further.

She smiles a thousand lies because that flash of hope could mean the difference between life and death for those who have been forced to sell their stock, sell the water allocation they desperately need themselves or sell the family farm where they were born and their grandparents died.

This has become the lot of the Riverina farmer’s wife: to somehow protect loved ones as they work themselves into the ground without the one thing they really need – equitable water.

As one farmer said: “In the city people work to live. Here, we live to work.”

Disturbingly, that same farmer estimates that 95% of business owners and primary producers in his town are “nervous wrecks.”
At the base of the Darling River, which is dependent on the generosity of both nature and political powers up north to flow, mothers of infants are also nervous wrecks.

They have no choice but to bathe their children in toxic ‘dead’ water, while other mothers choose to leave the district for the term of their pregnancies, worried about birth defects in their unborn children.

Some communities are crowd funding to pay for bottled water to be trucked in. That’s right, they are begging for access to clean drinking water.

If it takes a village to raise a child, these are not villages fit for any Australian child.

A video of a pair of grown men crying over the death of native fish went global earlier in the year, shocking an expat living in London into holding a rally outside of the Australian embassy with the catchcry ‘Save the Darling River’.

If those on the other side of the world can see why that big ring on my fictitious map is a haunting spectre, why does it not seem to worry those who govern the country and have the power to fix the problem as a matter of urgency?

We’d like to once again thank Sally Harding for this story, we really appreciate your input.

What can you do to help

For those reading this post and wondering what you might do to help the people in the Murray Darling Basin, my advise is to use your powers at the federal election in May this year, Put the National Party last on your ballot paper. Please also feel free to forward this story to your local state or federal member, as well as passing this story onto any of your friends on Facebook or via email, tell all of your friends of the catastrophic situation in the Murray Darling Basin. Oh and don’t believe for one minute that this situation is entirely created by the drought, NSW and Federal Government policies have been major contributors to this national disgrace.

Continue Reading