rural June 9, 2018

The latest Barnaby Joyce fallout

This past week marks a watershed in Australian politics. Politicians’ private lives are no longer off limits. We have arrived at the same place as the United States. But unlike the Americans, it isn’t coming from a puritan tradition; it’s coming...

rural December 9, 2017

Fighting the Santos pipeline

Last week I was working with my son Andrew on our farm 25 kilometres north of Coonamble when he received a message that there were trespassers on the neighbouring farm. A digital alert system had been put in place for such an event. Within minutes,...

rural June 10, 2017

Inland rail a hollow promise

Following John Howard’s 1996 federal election victory a man named Everald Compton entered the prime minister’s office to raise what he believed to be a visionary concept regarding an energy and rail corridor from Melbourne to Brisbane. The idea had...

rural September 2, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull caves in to Tasmanian loggers

Last weekend, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull flew to Launceston for the Tasmanian Liberals’ yearly conference. Accompanied by Premier Will Hodgman, Turnbull’s first stop was the timber yard of logging company Neville-Smith Forest Products, once a...

rural July 25, 2015

Going to groundwater over Shenhua coalmine

Let me say this about Greg Hunt’s approval of the Shenhua Watermark coalmine on the Liverpool Plains in north-west New South Wales: the furore it has ignited has the potential to develop into an environmental and economic...

rural January 24, 2015

Fighting FIFO, the cancer of the bush

During the last parliament, I met a bloke whose employer of 25 years told him that in order to keep his job near Karratha in Western Australia, where he had lived with his family for many years – where his home was, where his...