Our Murray Darling needs your help

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26 05 11 - 19:00
mark etheridge & family

I met Mark, Mog, Clancy & Lily Etheridge four years ago this month. I was travelling with my good friend and Greens legend Margaret Blakers to the Greens School at Murra Murra at the very top of the Murray Darling catchment, and we took the opportunity on our road trip from Melbourne to have a tour of various spots in the basin along the way.

Mark's family are the centre of GetUp's request to its members today to lobby the federal government about science based water allocations for the Murray Darling. Please go to the GetUp site and send your email to your member of Parliament!

I remember Mark and family well. We toured their property and lamented with them how damaged it was because of the drought. I remember Mark saying to us then though that it wasn't the drought that was the main culprit - it was the enormous water use of the big irrigators upstream, specifically the rice growers.

We camped on the banks of the Darling - a very sad low Darling it was - and sat around the campfire talking. I sang songs wiith Lily and Clancy, bounced them on my knee, and thought about what an amazing life they lived out here in the middle of no-where.

It was sad then, but its sadder now that we are about to continue walking into disaster with our eyes wide open. What's the future, not just for Mark and Mog, but Lily and Clancy if they want to stay on the land, farming sustainably, organically. Why should agribusiness win? Why should our natural and cultural heritage be destroyed so some incredibly rich people can just get richer?

We've got the chance now to ensure that water allocations are made on the basis of science. That's what the Murray Darling basin commission report proposed  at the beginning of the year and it was savagely attacked by the big irrigators .Since then, its been a process of giving in it seems. Their revised report is due out soon, and its not looking good. The scientists have resigned from the process. Australians who care need to speak out. I sent my email off to Nicola Roxon tonight telling her my story of meeting the Etheridges. Please join me, and email your member of Parliament too. Lily, Clancy, Mog and Mark and Australia will thank you for it.

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