Monday, January 10, 2011

What do they teach at Riverview

Apart from being coalition front benchers, Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce share two things in common. The first is that they were educated at St Ignatius College Riverview. The second is that they seem prepared to say anything they can in their mission to "oppose".

Joyce led with a media release just before Christmas. He gives the illusion that a plan to dam Eastern flowing rivers and feed them West into the Murray-Darling catchment could provide more water for both irrigation and environmental flows.

He repeated this nonsense just after new year in the SMH. This time he even noted that he was watching the flooded Darling feeder ruiver, the Balonne.

He even gets around to putting some figures in - noting that the river was carrying 300,000 megalitres a day, while Sydney Harbour holds about 500,000 megalitres. The flodds at Rockhampton were reported as sending two Sydney Harbours of water through every day.

That is an impressive amount of water, but exactly how are we meant to dam this? The only example of a dam Joyce gives was of the Nathan Dam built to support some specific industrial (mining) water needs. Its capacity is 800,000 megalitres - or just about 16 hours of the flow through Rockhampton.

Where exactly is the space to house this vast quantity of water? As the flows of the Balonne through St George show there is a limited capacity for the river system to be used to rapidly disperse the water.

The ideal space is of course the great water table of the Artesian Basin. I suspect but don't know that the best way of getting water down there is to let it spread across the surface as widely as possible and seep down.

His leader Tony Abbott has fallen for this nonsense and proposes a coalition frontbench working party on a strategy.

Perhaps the reason for this outbreak of insanity isn't just that the coalition is desperately trying to wedge the country independents from the ALP. Maybe it is the education of these two that is the point in common.

Do they teach any science or geography at Iggies, or just religion and rhetoric?

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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