Tag Archives: food security

Barnaby Calls For CSG Moratorium On Prime Ag Land

12 Mar

Take note, Green-inclined voters.

Barnaby is right.

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Where Are The “Banshees Screeching About Global Warming” Now?

9 Dec

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Feed the world or save the swamps?

The carbon tax must have done the trick. It has been considerably colder here in Queensland lately. In fact, Queensland has had its coolest maximum December daytime temperature, 13 degrees at Applethorpe, near Stanthorpe.

For many of the eastern states of Australia it is the coldest start to summer in decades. People have had to deal with the anomaly of turning on their heaters in summer. If instead of being cold it was hot, we would have these banshees screeching about global warming, imminent instantaneous human combustion, prior to catastrophic inundation from rising sea levels.

It would appear that we have proved that it merely takes the power of thought to cool the climate. The nation chanting ”Om”. It is the enlightened spirit working in conjunction with the passage of a new broad-based consumption tax collecting from the power point in your house. The alignment of these temporal and fiscal stars in this new age global astrology has delivered, quod erat demonstrandum, cold weather.

Many of the crops in eastern Australia are now being downgraded, not so much by global warming seawater, but by ”send it down, Hughie!” rainwater. I know this is slightly incongruous to the proclamations that it would never rain again and the place would be a desert.

It appears that the La Nina weather pattern has not been reading Professor Tim Flannery’s previous dire predictions that it is not going to rain any more unless we put up the price of power with a carbon tax.

We are now also currently investigating ways to put up the price of food. We are going to do this by reducing the amount of water available for irrigation needed to grow the food. In some areas, the requirements of frogs and swamps are superior to the needs of keeping the shopping trolley full of groceries within the affordability matrix of Australians to pay for them.

I was talking to tomato growers in southern NSW, and read and weep as you digest this; they get paid 11c a kilogram for the tomatoes they grow. I presume you may pay slightly more than that at your local supermarket, because of the power of over-excessive centralisation in the retail market.

In our national wisdom, however, we have decided that it is a lesser good to grow our own food in the Murray-Darling Basin and the righteous thing to do is to close down farming and import the food. The Greens literally want to close the whole show down. ”Green” is obviously not an abbreviation of ”green vegetables”.

The choice the Coalition has is to either to say no, or to try and catch and saddle this horse called ”Labor Incompetence” and get the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to a position where it does the least amount of damage to the economic and social fabric of the 2.1 million people who live in the basin.

I also have this naive, old-fashioned belief that an area of our nation which is responsible for 40per cent of our agricultural production, including the majority of fruit and vegetables, should be protected to do the job we have assigned to it, that is feeding us.

For many generations, the people in the towns such as Griffith, Deniliquin, Kyabram and Mildura, have done what the nation has asked them to do; ventured out into the countryside and gone without as they scratch a living from the dirt. These people brought up a family, built their community, fed their state, fed their nation and exported to the world. The rice production around Deniliquin, so I have been told, has the capacity to feed 30million people a day.

It is quite a noble thing to contribute to the global food task to stop children from starving. We must expand our moral horizon and realise that the trade off between environmental desires and a lesser standard of living is also a matter of life and death for those we have never met living on the edge of starvation in Southern Sudan, Uganda or the Thai-Burma border.

It really does become a trade-off between happiness for frogs and trees or the most noble of tasks, providing the sustenance for the human condition.

Labor Underwater On Coal Seam Gas

18 Sep

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 14 Sept 2011 (apologies for delayed posting):

Labor governments underwater on Coal Seam Gas

The National Water Commission has delivered a damning indictment of the Labor government’s record on water reform. Perhaps the most damning revelation is that “COAG has not yet responded to the Commission’s recommendations in its previous biennial assessment, released in 2009.”

In its review the National Water Commission has found that the regulation of coal seam gas developments is not being fully integrated into water planning arrangements. The Commission notes that while the NSW government has introduced reforms which require coal seam gas developments to obtain water licences, Queensland’s arrangements “remain outside water planning and management frameworks.” The Commission has found that the coal seam gas industry could extract around 300 GL per year from groundwater systems over the next 25 years, compared to the 540 GL per year currently extracted from the Great Artesian Basin.

Well yet another Labor Party belly flop. They have been so busy in their concern for CO2 that they seemed to have ignored H2O. COAG has not yet responded to the Commission’s recommendations in its previous biennial assessment, released in 2009. The Labor party is just so busy frolicking that up to 300 GL (300,000,000,000 litres) a year of water from one of the nation’s most precious resources, the Great Artesian Basin, that it seems to have been given away without water licences to coal seam gas operators. Some farmers have lost up to 95% of their groundwater in NSW. Just another one of the mad paradoxes of Labor in its varying guises of incompetence.

We should not be surprised that Anna Bligh is putting the mining royalties over water security. That is what happens when you start heading towards $85 billion in debt.

The Nationals passed a motion at their recent Federal Council which called on the government to ensure that the regulation of coal seam gas developments “are properly evaluated under national water planning processes.” But this government can’t even bring itself to respond a report released in 2009. How can we expect that they can manage the complicated impacts of an industry which will potentially increase the water extracted from the Great Artesian Basin by over 50%?

The National Water Commission also finds that the Commonwealth Government’s progress on recovering water for the environment has been “disappointingly slow”.

This government has delayed the release of the draft Basin Plan three times this year. If it can’t even release a report, what confidence can people have that this incompetent government won’t mess up the Murray-Darling Basin which produces 40 per cent of Australia’s food.

Why I Hang Farther To The Left Than Bob Brown

18 Aug

Got your attention with that headline?

Good.

Because on the topic of Australia’s last remaining real source of wealth – “our” natural resources – and, on the directly related topic of who should own them, you may be shocked to learn that your humble blogger hangs waaaaaaaay way out there on the so-called “left”.

With the likes of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Russian Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin.

And the government of Norway – which consistently ranks as the happiest nation on earth, and, the most prosperous.

[You see, when you are not beholden to group-think, and the false Left vs Right paradigm, then you can author what the Fairfax media called a “tribute site”, dedicated to supporting the debt-and-deficit views of a so-called “extremist” “far right” politician, and yet, hold “far left” views on other specific issues.  Independent, issue-by-issue critical thinking is a wonderful thing.]

Explanation to follow.

First though, a little background via this media release from Senator Barnaby Joyce, 17 August 2011 (my emphasis added):

Some towns are more equal than others

The Queensland Labor party obviously believes that all towns are equal but some towns are more equal than others.

I note that Queensland Natural Resources Minister Rachael Nolan is already backtracking from the Labor party’s decision to only ban mining within 2 kilometres of towns with more than 1000 people.

Ms Nolan also attacked the Federal Coalition saying that:

This government does not believe that landholders are entitled to the resources beneath the ground. They have never been and to change that now would represent a massive windfall to the agricultural class, to the detriment of those who own the resources now – that is, all of us.*

Ms Nolan is wrong. It is concerning that a Minister does not seem to understand the basic aspects of her portfolio.

Farmers in Queensland owned the petroleum and gas resources under their property until 1915, when the Queensland Government took them off them to protect the resources for the crown during World War I. From my latest investigations I think World War I has finished but the resources were never handed back to farmers.

To quote from section 4 of the Petroleum Act 1915:

… it is hereby declared that petroleum on or below the surface of all land in Queensland, whether alienated in fee simple or not so alienated from the Crown, and if so alienated whensoever alienated, is and always has been the property of the Crown.

Resources have been taken in other states in even more recent times, with the last being the NSW Coal Acquisition Act in 1981.

If Ms Nolan does not believe me, perhaps she would believe former NSW Premier Neville Wran, who stated in his second reading speech on the Coal Acquisition Bill 1981:

The proposal is not without precedent. In 1938 a Tory government in the United Kingdom acquired all coal then in private ownership. In 1953 the Menzies Government resumed all minerals, then in private ownership, in the Northern Territory.

In 1971 South Australia followed suit and acquired privately owned minerals. All petroleum in New South Wales was vested in the Crown without compensation, by the Petroleum Act, 1955 …

* Ludlow, M., Dunckley, M and Kerr, P. 2011, ‘Mining ban expands’, Australian Financial Review, p. 5.

As a fine, upstanding, and outstanding representative of the interests of the rural community, Senator Joyce advocates strongly for the rights of farmers and rural landowners. Especially of late, in their critical challenges with mining interests seeking to explore for Coal Seam Gas (CSG) resources beneath their land, placing our food and water security at risk.

I strongly support the rational, objective, common sense basic position put forward by both Senator Joyce and the Greens – that agricultural land should be very carefully protected against any risks from the mining sector’s activities.

Indeed, I support going even further than either Barnaby or the Greens on this issue.

Why?

There are no “resources” more vital to human existence, than water #1, and food #2.

If proposed mining activities pose any plausible risk to water and/or food security, then protection of our water and ability to grow our own food must always take top priority.

To argue otherwise, you must either be an idiot. A troll. Suicidal. And/or genocidal. There are no other options.

Where I differ with (or perhaps hold a more nuanced position than) Senator Joyce – and most definitely differ with the Australian Greens – is over the question of how best to maximise the benefits for all Australians of our Great South Land’s natural resources.

Senator Joyce is quite rightly concerned with the rights of rural landowners.

The Greens appear to be concerned with the protection of agricultural land – as should we all.  But in truth, the Greens are far more interested in taxing the crap out of the mining companies, whilst paying hypocritical lip service to the quasi-religious notion of “stopping catastrophic climate change”.

I am interested in the national (human) interest.

So, I advocate for nationalisation of Australia’s mineral, petroleum, and natural gas resources.

In our world of facile, intellectually-lazy “labelling” of every one and every thing (in lieu of reasoned, nuanced thought), that viewpoint places me right out there on the “extreme left”. Yes, right alongside “evil” socialists like Hugo Chavez.

And the government and people of Norway – the happiest and most prosperous nation (per capita) on earth.

Why is Norway so happy and prosperous?

One very big contributing reason, is that the Norwegian government nationalised their North Sea oil reserves decades ago, and has retained tight control over this vital resource sector ever since, including via the 67% government-owned StatOil. Profits are returned to a now-massive sovereign wealth fund, on behalf of all the citizens of Norway.

(This is used to finance what many would label a “welfare state”; the generally-understood definition of which I do not broadly support – another nuance, for another time).

Beginning in 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez moved in the same direction. He began an ongoing nationalisation drive, stripping foreign-owned companies of control over vital national resources, especially Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, along with food and key industrial production.

(The fact that it was predominantly US multi-national petroleum companies who lost out as a result of Chavez’s actions goes a very long way towards explaining the true reason why he is painted as an “evil” “insane” “socialist” villain by Western politicians and lapdog mainstream media … and thus, why you probably believe Chavez is all bad, and all wrong. How dare he be more concerned with the national interest of Venezuelans, than with the profits of multi-nationals or the deceitful ideologies of “free trade” and “globalisation”!)

In Australia, we have a ridiculous, unintelligent, ill-considered, short-sighted, shallow, and polarised “debate” over national resources.

Many argue for a mining “super profits” tax, to help “spread the wealth” of our here-today-gone-forever-tomorrow mineral resources, via a sovereign wealth fund.

Others mount high-minded, impressive-sounding arguments against this.

Many argue for restrictions on foreign ownership of Australia’s resources, including prime agricultural land.

Others mount high-minded, impressive-sounding arguments against this.

Those who argue against restrictions on foreign ownership of vital Australian resources include the treasonous “independent” Reserve Bank:

The Reserve Bank has warned that the economy’s increasing reliance on mining exports has left it more vulnerable to global downturns but suggests foreign ownership of the sector could help reduce those risks.

A paper co-authored by RBA assistant governor Philip Lowe and presented at the bank’s annual conference highlighted the benefits of foreign investment in mining at a time of intense political scrutiny of the industry’s ownership and profits.

The Greens correctly point out the fact that it is foreign-owned interests who benefit most from our country’s “poor white trash of Asia”, quarry-to-the-world status:

In June, Greens leader Bob Brown used a National Press Club address to slam the size of mining payouts to offshore investors and demand higher taxes on the industry to ensure Australians received their fair share.

He released research showing that $50 billion in mining company dividends would end up in overseas hands over the next five years — far more than the government’s watered-down mining tax would collect for taxpayers over the same period.

“Most of Treasury’s planned super-profits tax is now due to end up in the deep, deep pockets of millionaires in Switzerland, London, Calcutta and Beijing, rather than in Australian schools, hospitals or railways,” Senator Brown said at the time.

The Greens’ solution?

A bigger mining tax.

This sort of small-minded, tax-and-spend idiocy typifies the problems with our country.

Our politicians huff and puff a lot of high-minded hot air. While doing sweet FA, or at best, tinkering around the edges of critical issues.

Because most do not really have the national interest at heart.

They mostly have only their own interest at heart.

It does not have to be this way, dear reader.

Look at the example of Norway.

Then look at Bob Brown’s comment I’ve bolded in the above quote.

And ask yourself a simple question –

“Why dick around with half-arsed ‘solutions’ like mere “bigger taxes” on foreign-owned interests who are profiting off our national resources? If you’re serious about our national interests, then why not go the full monty – just like Norway and so many others – and nationalise our vital national resources?!”

Let us be quite clear.

My views on the topic of foreign “investment” (ie, ownership) of vital Australian natural resources, is far more than just “far Left”.

It is not automatically an anti-capitalist, anti-“free market” (a myth which has never existed, by the way), anti-liberty, anti-democratic, or anti-freedom position.

Instead, it is a nuanced viewpoint.

I strongly support the rights of Aussie landowners to have their livelihoods protected against risks from mining exploration/extraction.

I strongly support the absolute, unequivocal primacy of protecting agricultural land and water resources, over and above the interests of mere mining profits (you can’t eat and drink coal or iron ore, or the profits from them either).

I strongly support just and proper compensation for landowners wherever their property and/or livelihood may be impacted by the activities of other industries.

I strongly support the right of all Australians and their descendants, to enjoy peace of mind thanks to assured, long term water and food security, above all other “economic” considerations.

And, I strongly support the right of Australian citizens and their descendants, to have their interests protected (by their elected government) against the redistribution of wealth from the soil of our land, into the already-bloated bank accounts of foreign interests.

At the end of the day, that is the very heart of the matter.

All the confusion, and rhetoric, and theory, and ideology, and spirit-sapping noise over the relative alleged pros and cons of mining/agriculture/taxes/”free”-markets/socialism/capitalism … is all just a great big load of intellectual onanist #JAFA crap, that only serves to achieve one thing, whether intended or accidental.

It keeps our nation divided into warring tribes, all squabbling over red herrings … while the Big Fish make off with our big fish under the cover of theoretical, ideological, and philosophical darkness.

Why piss about arguing over the merits/demerits of a mere “tax” on foreign-owned mining companies?

Why piss about arguing over how big or small such a “tax” should or should not be?

If you really believe your own rhetoric … that Australia’s natural resources are vital to our national interest … then why not back your conviction with action, put your balls on the block, and simply nationalise the lot?

Despite what you have been led to believe, this is not a far out, “extremist” idea at all.

See for yourself the long list of countries – many of them iconic so-called “capitalist”, “free-market” countries like the USA and the UK – who have all nationalised key resources, infrastructure, and/or industries, for their national interest.

Of course, to do so here in Australia would require a government of adults. Not the current crowd of self-serving, incompetent halfwits … on both sides of the House.

Which is why I also advocate that we change the electoral laws, to only allow real adults to run for public office.

And, it is why I advocate above all for fundamental monetary reform. A complete decentralisation of the power of “money” and “credit”. Thus rendering moot the inane, archaic, 19th century, debunked-by-reality “free market” “capitalist” arguments of the RBA and the banking sector et al that we “need” “foreign investment”. Because when the RBA, the banking industry, #JAFA economists, and/or politicians say that we “need” foreign “investment” “capital”, what they are really saying is this –

You ‘need’ to remain slaves … to foreign credit-suppliers”.

You see, dear reader, the reason why I advocate these “far out” solutions, is because I am Australian.

I believe national sovereignty stands in the way of transnational tyranny.

And I believe that to continue selling the farm, and/or what is under the farm, into the hands of foreign interests (whether ‘national’, ‘multi-national’, or ‘private’) under the guise of “foreign investment”, is both 100% unnecessary, and not in our national interest.

To quote another infamous political figure … “I make no apologies for that.”

UPDATE:

And in timely overnight news, the gold price jumps on revelations that the “evil” “leftist” Mr Chavez will nationalise Venezuela’s gold industry –

Gold settled at record highs today after Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said he planned to nationalise the country’s gold industry.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said today he plans to nationalise the country’s gold industry in a move to take over production and grow international reserves.

Speaking on state television via telephone, the leftist leader said he would be introducing a new decree to put exploration and extraction of gold into the government’s hands.

It will be “a decree to take the gold sector,” which still remains in the hands of a “mafia and smugglers,” Mr Chavez said.

“We don’t only have oil wealth, we have here one of the largest reserves of gold in the world … Let’s convert it into our international reserves because gold is increasing in its value.”

Mr Chavez also plans to move the country’s existing gold reserves out of European banks and into vaults owned by the country’s central bank. Venezuela’s official gold reserves, of 365.8 tonnes as of June, make it the 15th largest gold holder in the world according to the World Gold Council. The Latin American country is well behind the US, which leads the pack with 8113.5 tonnes, and second place, Germany, at 3401.0 tonnes.

Vast oil reserves.

A gold industry.

A President with brains and balls.

Lots and lots of pretty women.

Venezuela’s lookin’ better ‘n better all the time 😉

By the way, how does Australia compare with Venezuela for official gold reserves?

Badly.

Less than 80 tonnes, compared with Venezuela’s 365.8 tonnes.

Why?

Yes, all thanks to our stupid/treasonous Reserve Bank, who sold off most of our reserves early this century in a blunder to top all their (many) blunders:

Just over ten years ago, Australia’s central bank the RBA sold off most of the countries gold reserves under the belief that the price of gold would continue to remain flat, and that as an asset, it would no longer play any role in the future financial system, or any crises that may result.

A paper written by the central bank which recommended selling off the gold reserves conceded that that asset whilst the assets served as “insurance against a breakdown in the international financial system”, it was not necessary to hold.

The central bank’s justification for reducing its gold reserves so drastically was that gold represented a poor investment, and Australia had successfully integrated itself into global financial markets, and that it need not worry about access to those markets during a financial crisis.

Since the sale of the gold reserves the global financial systems has experienced severe stress on a number of different occasions, starting with the implosion of the technology bubble at the start of the millennium followed by the September 11th terrorist attacks, and more recently the global financial crisis in 2008.

The price of the precious metal over that time frame has risen spectacularly and the asset has begun to play an increasingly important role in the global financial system since the  financial crisis.

The central bank argued that continuing development of financial system meant that circumstances which would require Australia to call upon our gold holdings for economic reasons looked increasingly remote.

Idiots.

Or traitors.

In either case, the RBA should be disbanded.

End the RBA.

Follow the lead of Hugo Chavez.

Try Asking 1.3 Billion Stomachs Armed With Nukes To Give Our Food Back

6 Jul

The latest sellout of an Australian food producer?

Tully Sugar:

As another chunk of Australian agribusiness shifted into foreign ownership yesterday with the sale of a giant north Queensland sugar mill, Alf Cristaudo said sadly: “The Chinese think long-term, we think short-term.”

Mr Cristaudo, a third-generation sugar farmer and boss of industry association Cane-growers Australia, has no issue with the nationality of the Tully mill’s buyer, the state-owned China Oil and Food Company. His concern is that Australia is selling off its food-producing capacity, piece-by-piece, without thinking through the implications of what foreign ownership means.

And as with the Great Global Warming Hoax, it is seemingly only those who actually have feet firmly planted on the ground – those who actually live in nature, rather than concrete – who are aware of the very real threat to Australian’s independent sustainability as a sovereign nation.

From the Australian (emphasis added):

Food security the fear as foreign investors rush in

The peak farmers group has warned that increased global demand for food is leading to a new wave of foreign investment in Australian agriculture that could stifle competition and compromise national food security.

The warning was backed by a leading food security authority and Nationals Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce, who warned too much foreign ownership could lead to a “clash of sovereignty” and diplomatic tensions with a range of foreign governments, including China.

National Farmers Federation president Jock Laurie warns in an opinion piece for The Australian today that foreign investment has entered a new phase over the past four years. He says there is potential for foreign state-owned enterprises to undercut Australian farmers by using their land acquisitions to ship produce back to feed their home populations.

“This raises the question of transparency in the supply chain, potentially jeopardising competition at the farm gate and depressing the local market. At an extreme level, this could also lead to Australia’s own food security goals being compromised,” he writes.

Food security expert and author Julian Cribb backed the NFF’s concerns. “China is trying to shore up its own position. It’s using its new wealth to buy up resources, which includes food. And yes, it might imperil our food security,” he said. “If farmers are getting screwed in the marketplace for the price paid for their produce, they have less money to invest in better and more sustainable farming systems.”

Senator Barnaby Joyce has been a consistent advocate and loud warning voice on this issue. Here’s what he had to say in the same article:

Senator Joyce said yesterday that he had “serious issues” with investment from any foreign state-owned enterprise, because it could lead to diplomatic fallout “one thousand” times greater than that with Indonesia over the ban on live cattle exports.

“You get a clash of sovereignties. You might take an individual to court or a corporation to court. But I think you’ll be very concerned if you take a country to court especially when that country is far bigger and can choose to be far nastier than the one you live in,” he said.

“When the person you’re taking to court has nuclear weapons, you better be a little bit cautious about what you say next.”

Barnaby is right.

Again.

And he seems to have a greater intuitive grasp of foreign policy risk issues than the current band of roving disasters.

Barnaby for PM … Treasurer … and Foreign Minister?

Don’t miss Barnaby’s must-read article in the Canberra Times, concerning Australia’s future food security –

“Selling The Farm Will Hurt All Of Us”

And be inspired to take action, by this brilliant Aussie bush poem by an Author unknown –

“Wake Up Time!”

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