Conservative Party South Australian Senate candidate Rikki Lambert writes:
Whoa - just hang on one cotton-pickin' minute!
Senator Rex Patrick proposes banning cotton exports to save the Murray-Darling Basin. Sounds right, right?
It's designed to get him the attention and head-nods, but it's wrong on a number of levels.
Hold your horses and think for 30 seconds:
1. Contrast his policy with the Greens who want to ban coal exports. Why wouldn't the Greens tack on their coal ban to Senator Patrick's bill, or a free-for-all erupt on what other primary production exports should be banned because city folk feel icky about them. It is bad policy to have government dictate what private landholders do with their land, and even turn them into criminals for their farming choices to don't suit the socialist agenda.
2. Governments are poor at picking winners, let alone directing what farmers should grow.
3. The numerically stronger NSW part of the Basin could demand that permanent plantings, e.g. almonds, be banned for export too. While there will be debate about which is more water efficient, rice arguably uses more than cotton, while almonds and pasture (livestock) arguably have similar watering requirements to cotton. Do we really want to invite the Basin states to have a stoush over what exports we ban?
The Australian Conservatives uphold private land rights, support our farmers and oppose growing the size, scope, reach and powers of government.
Our focus in the Murray-Darling Basin is on the federal government going to water on releasing by December 2018 the register of how much water is owned by foreign entities, particularly the Chinese communist government.
We support right to farm and delivering a Murray-Darling Basin Plan that ticks the triple bottom line of the needs of farmers, river communities and the environment.
Last week, Rikki visited the Riverland to look at the state of the Murray for himself.
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