Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says he is close to being able to fast-track paperwork to bring persecuted white South African farmers to Australia

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has revealed persecuted white South African farmers are not 'too far off' from being fast-tracked into Australia.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa last month said he wanted the issue of the transfer of land from white to black owners to be resolved 'once and for all'. 

A fast-track plan to bring up to 10,000 South African farmers to Australia has been put to the Immigration Minister in a push to remove at-risk families from danger.

Minister Dutton said it won't be long before he's able to offer the first places for the farmers in an interview with Daily Telegraph columnist Miranda Devine.

 'I will review many of those cases and look individually at the circumstances around those cases and as we've said before we think there is certainly a necessity to act and to provide that support to people who are in trouble, who face persecution, and I'm not going to step back from that position,' he said.

Mr Dutton said he would be looking at the allegations people have made and verify information to ensure he brings in 'the right people'.

'There's a bit of time involved in going through and checking the bonafides of individual cases, because we want to make sure we're bringing the right people, the most deserving people, and we'll do that,' he told the columnist. 'But I don't think it'll be too far off in terms of the first places that we're able to offer.'

Ramaphosa said after his inauguration in March he would speed up the transfer of land to black people, providing food production and security was preserved.

'We are going to address this and make sure that we come up with resolutions that resolve this once and for all,' he said.

'This original sin that was committed when our country was colonised must be resolved in a way that will take South Africa forward.'

White farmers control 73 percent of arable land compared with 85 percent, when the apartheid system ended in 1994.


Citizenship ruling a potential Labor pain

The government is piling pressure on Bill Shorten ahead of tomorrow’s High Court ruling on the citizenship eligibility of senator Katy Gallagher, saying three more Labor MPs must immediately resign if the court rules against the ACT senator.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said there would be no need to refer MPs Susan Lamb, Justine Keay and Josh Wilson to the High Court if Senator Gallagher were found ineligible.

All three have admitted they were still British citizens when they nominated to stand for parliament, while Ms Lamb, the Member for Longman, has admitted she did not provide the required documents to the British Home Office to renounce her citizenship.

“As far as Susan Lamb is concerned, by her own admission she is a British citizen as well as an Australian citizen, which is a clear breach of the Constitution. So she should long have resigned her seat to face a by-election,” Senator Cormann told ABC radio.

“The question is going to be a question for Bill Shorten: is he finally going to show some strength of character here.”

Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers said Labor would await the High Court’s ruling before commenting.  “I obviously won’t predict or pre-empt what the High Court might say about her eligibility,” he said.

“That’s a mug’s game, as the Prime Minister learned when he confidently predicted that Barnaby Joyce would be found eligible to sit in the parliament. Of course, that went a very different way.”

Senator Gallagher has argued she took “all reasonable steps” to renounce her citizenship before nominating.

If the court rules Senator Gallagher ineligible to remain in parliament, she would be replaced by the next candidate on the ACT’s Senate ticket, Professionals Australia director David Smith.

However, the elevation of Mr Smith to the Senate would upset Labor’s factional representation in the chamber. Mr Smith is from the party’s right faction, while Senator Gallagher is from the left. It’s understood he would be likely to face a preselection challenge at the next election from the party’s left, seeking to install one of their own in the plum Senate role.

Last year, Mr Shorten said Labor had “strict” vetting processes and there was “no cloud over any of our people”.

Former Nick Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie, the Member for Mayo, is also facing possible resignation, or referral to the High Court, for being a British citizen when she nominated to stand.


Irrigators and Indigenous groups are cautiously optimistic about a deal struck by the Coalition Government and Labor to give certainty to communities in the Murray-Darling Basin

The two sides of politics reached an agreement on Monday to pass elements of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan that aim to do more for the environment with less water.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) wants to return less water to the environment in the southern basin, saying it needs to balance the need to improve the river's health with the need to protect jobs in irrigation-dependent communities.

Water Minister David Littleproud said the deal would give the Murray-Darling Basin's 2 million residents clarity so they could get on with their lives.

The news was greeted with joy by the Southern Riverina Irrigators, a group representing more than 2,000 farmers along the Murray River in New South Wales.

"I may have got a little bit excited and I may have had a little scream in my motel room," chairwoman Gabrielle Coupland said.
Doing more with less

The agreement will pass a plan to undertake works on the river system to deliver water to key sites more efficiently. It means 605 fewer gigalitres of water will be taken for the environment.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan has remained controversial ever since its introduction back in 2012. So, what is it again and why is it back on the agenda?

The deal also supports a plan to reduce the take for the environment by 70 gigalitres in the northern half of the river system.

Irrigators said the deal provided certainty about how much water would be available in the Murray-Darling Basin and how the system would work once the plan was finalised.

"We will have certainty for ourselves, our businesses, our communities and our environment as well," Ms Coupland said.

"Volume alone will not fix the environmental challenges along our river system. "We need measures to make sure the water gets to where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, to make sure we achieve what we need to achieve for the environment."

The Australian Dairy Industry Council also welcomed the deal, but with some reservations.

"It's amazing what can be achieved with bipartisanship when there is no South Australian election involved," the council's water spokesman Daryl Hoey said.

The original basin plan was for 2,750 gigalitres of water to be taken for the environment. That amount will now be reduced.

But while Labor was in government the plan changed, when then-prime minister Julia Gillard and water minister Penny Wong signed the states up to another 450 gigalitres of water for the environment, if it could be shown the water could be attained without socioeconomic impact.

In a statement announcing the deal, Mr Littleproud said the 450 gigalitres of water would be recovered for the basin.

"The Government has reiterated its commitment to the 450 gigalitres, and the process of attaining it can now begin," he said.

But that part of the deal has angered the dairy industry, which has lost the bulk of its water in the southern Murray-Darling and believes the region cannot afford to lose any more.

"If that water is going to be taken through off-farm and no more on-farm efficiency programs or out of urban water then great, go for it," Mr Hoey said.


'My confidence level in weather forecasters is very low. It's burnt us': Drought-stricken farmer's despair after the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts a wet summer - but it was one of his driest EVER - as the big dry ravages the region

The BoM bomb again.  They integrate global warming into their forecasting models so it is no wonder they get it wrong

An award-winner farmer has lost confidence in the Bureau of Meteorology's predictions after a 'wet' long-term forecast was followed by a devastatingly dry summer.

Huge swathes of New South Wales' north-west have been gripped by drought in recent years, with suffering farmers running out of water and selling off their livestock. 

Cotton, canola and wheat farmer John Hamparsum told Daily Mail Australia the drought hit his farm particularly hard last year, after a hopeful weather forecast failed to pan out.

'It's like somebody tells you you've got a really good tip on a horse - but that tip was totally wrong and the horse ran dead last,' he said.

The winner of the 2015 Brownhill Award - a prestigious farming accolade for innovation, sustainability and profit - Mr Hamparsum said he tried to run his farm on the best science available.

So after a hot and dry summer, he decided to plant more cotton last year. The Bureau's long-range forecast had predicted an above-50 per cent chance of a wetter summer and prices were good.

'Cotton was by far the most profitable crop and the best return on our water,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 'We were going "oh gee, it was a terrible summer last year, maybe this will be the one that's going to break it'.

But it wasn't to be. The weather was hot and dry and the river that runs through his farm was desolate. On top of that, the farm's water allocation was recently cut. Statewide, it was the third hottest summer on record.

At the farm, the rain was pitiful: just 11mm in January, and about 30mm in February, most of which 'basically evaporated'.

'The rain doesn't even settle the dust,' Mr Hamparsum said. A couple of storms came tantalisingly close - but just missed the farm.

The terrible conditions have had a 'massive' impact on the farm. 'We might break even this year, if we're lucky'.

Meantime, the veteran farmer's confidence in weather forecasts has hit an all-time low. 'I base my decisions ... as a good farm manager on the science that's available,' he said.

'I've increasingly lost confidence in that process in the last 3 to 5 years. 'My confidence level in weather forecasters is very low. It's burnt us'. 

A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman told Daily Mail Australia the agency recognised the impact of the recent dry climate on farmers, and was committed to providing the best science.

The spokesman said the recent climate outlook came at a time in the cycle where predictability was low. 'Climate outlooks are probabilistic, not categorical forecasts,' he said. 'That means a 60 per cent chance of above average rainfall, also means a 40 per cent of below average rainfall.'

'You're not guaranteed a win because there is always that element of chance, but know that in the long run, having the odds in your favour will mean you come out ahead,' a BOM video about its climate outlook maps said.

Meantime, the drought continues. Things are busy at the local saleyards as farmers in the north-west realise they can't feed or water their cattle through the winter to come. Prayers are said for rain but there is no end in sight.

Regardless, Mr Hamparsum said he is still optimistic about the future. 'As the old guys say, every day without rain is another day closer (to it),' he said.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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