Free Postage Within Australia
Current IssueQE77 - March 2020
Cry Me a River
The Tragedy of the Murray–Darling Basin
The Murray–Darling Basin is the food bowl of Australia, and it’s in trouble. What does this mean for the future – for water and crops, and for the people and towns that depend on it?
In Cry Me a River, acclaimed journalist Margaret Simons takes a trip through the Basin, all the way from Queensland to South Australia. She shows that its plight is environmental but also economic, and enmeshed in ideology and identity.
Her essay is both a portrait of the Murray–Darling Basin and an explanation of its woes. It looks at rural Australia and the failure of politics over decades to meet the needs of communities forced to bear the heaviest burden of change. Whether it is fish kills or state rivalries, drought or climate change, in the Basin our ability to plan for the future is being put to the test.
“The story of the Murray–Darling Basin … is a story of our nation, the things that join and divide us. It asks whether our current systems – our society and its communities – can possibly meet the needs of the nation and the certainty of change. Is the Plan an honest compact, and is it fair? Can it work? Are our politics up to the task?”—Margaret Simons, Cry Me a River
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Free Postage Within Australia
Next IssueQE78 - 22 June 2020
The Coal Curse
Resources, Climate and Australia’s Future
Australia is a wealthy nation with the economic profile of a developing country – heavy on raw materials, and low on innovation and skilled manufacturing. Once we rode on the sheep’s back for our overseas trade; today we rely on cartloads of coal and tankers of LNG. So must we double down on fossil fuels, now that Covid-19 has halted the flow of international students and tourists? Or is there a better way forward, which supports renewable energy and local manufacturing?
Judith Brett traces the unusual history of Australia’s economy and the “resource curse” that has shaped our politics. She shows how the mining industry learned to run fear campaigns, and how the Coalition became dominated by fossil-fuel interests to the exclusion of other voices. In this insightful essay about leadership, vision and history, she looks at the costs of Australia’s coal addiction and asks, where will we be if the world stops buying it?
“Faced with the crisis of a global pandemic, for the first time in more than a decade Australia has had evidence-based, bipartisan policy-making. Politicians have listened to the scientists and … put ideology and the protection of vested interests aside and behaved like adults. Can they do the same to commit to fast and effective action to try to save our children’s and grandchildren’s future, to prevent the catastrophic fires and heatwaves the scientists predict, the species extinction and the famines?”—Judith Brett, The Coal Curse