May 12th 2012

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Articles from this issue:

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: ASIO investigates "government-backed" anti-coal campaign

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Julia Gillard's fatally flawed judgement

DEFENCE OF MARRIAGE: More than 500 attend Perth rally to preserve marriage

EDITORIAL: French election may decide future of the EU


CONSERVATION: Liberals blueprint to speed up environmental approvals

BANKS: Microfinance: money for the people that banks ignore

SOCIETY: Impact of internet abuse on the young

POLITICAL IDEAS: How individualism can beget totalitarianism

PHILOSOPHY: Abortion and personhood in one easy lesson

OPINION: The demise of Aboriginal self-determination


CINEMA: A pleasant but forgettable taste

BOOK REVIEW Scientific rejoinder to green hysteria

BOOK REVIEW More historical myths dispelled

Books promotion page


News Weekly, May 12, 2012

Vision needed for Murray-Darling Basin


In the year 1887, E.A. Leonard, of the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland, devised a remarkable scheme for the rivers of the far north of Australia.

For 50 years the proposal gathered dust in government archives. Then, in 1938, the engineer John Bradfield, who had designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, brought it to light again, and four years on the prolific and influential Australian author, Ion L. Idriess, expanded on the original proposal in his book on developing the Australian outback, called The Great Boomerang (1941).

So the feasibility has already been done.

The average annual rainfall over those rivers is a staggering 1,700 mm. However, all those rivers flow to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Great Boomerang would have dams and storages built to impound the waters of these northern rivers — and then, by means of pipelines, channels and tunnels, “lift” the water over the ranges to flow south via the existing inland rivers — Diamantina, Warrego, Cooper Creek, Paroo towards the Lake Eyre catchment, and ultimately the Darling!

With controlled releases from these new dams, the environmental, as well as the “commercial”, flow of the Darling would be assured all the way to its joining the Murray at Wentworth, and from where these waters would augment the flow west to Adelaide.

With good management, including weirs on the Murray east of Wentworth, the Murray-Darling Basin’s future would be healthy as never before. The quantity of water available from the Great Boomerang is almost mind-boggling, and because of the regularity of the northern wet season, its permanency can be assured.

In our day of advanced technology and surplus labour (the unemployed, migrants and refugees), how is it that a scheme of such imagination and potential has been incubating for over 100 years, with no sign of coming to “birth”? Could it be that we have lost the will to commit ourselves to the task?

For it is not from a lack of courage and determination. Australian blood runs rich in both, never better portrayed than by the railway engineers of yesteryear, who in their vision saw that the railway would bring people, development and prosperity to inland Australia.

Thus, undaunted by mountains that stood defiantly before them, what they could not climb, they burrowed through and with sledge-hammer and spike laid the glittering rail across the rolling plains that opened before them.

Would then that this generation rekindle that spirit, and claim the 21st century as an era of balance between intelligence and eccentric environmental paranoia.

Thus will we be remembered as being a people bringing visions splendid into reality, as did those who built the visionary Snowy Mountains Scheme, the indispensable Warragamba Dam for Sydney, and, as some might even say, Lake Burley Griffin for Canberra.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
(Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, IV, iii, 217).

Peter J. Young,
Greta, NSW


Warning to Australians


Patrick J. Byrne’s article, “Same-sex marriage: Attack on religious freedom and parents’ rights” (News Weekly, April 28, 2012), must be recognised as a warning to all Australians that all faiths whose credentials are rooted in the Bible — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — must present a united front to preserve the Noahide Laws, post-Flood, binding on all mankind.

These laws are the basis of the Judeo-Christian laws which have created and underpinned Western civilisation.

The Western democracies are in disarray, the aftermath of the Holocaust, in which Australia was not involved.

But if Australia is to maintain its freedom as an independent, prosperous and well-run democracy, it must unite the strength of its patriotic Jews, Christians and Muslims and strengthen the Judeo-Christian foundations at every level of society — and government.

Mark Braham
(founder and former editor of
The Jewish Commentary),
Rose Bay, NSW

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