The Bill introduced by Nick Dametto of Katter’s Australian Party’s (KAP) in the Queensland Parliament to reverse Labor’s pointless Reef Regulations (see here), was defeated by a combination of Labor and Liberal-National (LNP) parliamentarians last week. The Reef is in extremely GOOD condition – at record levels by some measures such as coral cover. The levels of farm pesticide concentrations on the Reef are so low they cannot be detected even with the most ultra-sensitive scientific equipment. Yet the farmers are somehow supposedly killing the reef.
It is disappointing that the major parties have let down the farmers and failed to contemplate the possibility that much of the so-called “science” behind the regulations is in need of far better quality-assurance. Only the three KAP members and Steve Andrew (PHON) voted for the Bill to reverse the regulations.
For parliamentarians from outside the south-east Queensland (SEQ) corner, there is no excuse for voting against the farmers.
To those Queensland parliamentarians in SEQ that voted against the farmers – although I think you made the wrong decision – I understand the difficulties you are in. The public outside North Queensland has no idea about the true, excellent, state of the reef. The campaign telling the world that the reef is on its last legs has been relentless. It starts with the untrustworthy science organisation like JCU, AIMS, and GBRMPA who fail, repeatedly, with their quality assurance systems often producing junk science about the Reef. The media then takes the erroneous bad news and exaggerates further. Voters in the South-East corner are convinced the reef is dying. It is political suicide to be labelled as a Reef-killer by not supporting ever more ridiculous, farmer destroying, legislation to save what is actually one of the world’s most pristine and unspoilt ecosystems.
So I understand why politicians in the Brisbane area have done what they did. They are puppets, some willing, some unwilling, indirectly controlled by the media, untrustworthy science institutions, and other groups with ideological objectives.
What I find difficult to excuse is the reluctance to call for better Quality Assurance of the science. With some notable exceptions, the LNP politicians have been generally mute on this matter – sometimes worse. Without fixing the problems in our science institutions, there is no way forward.
Who would argue against better checking of the science?
Most people suspect there is a degree of exaggeration in many of these issues, and a politician who backs better quality assurance of the science is taking a minimal risk.
And let’s not forget that nothing good ever happens unless somebody takes a risk. To the politicians who let us down – please take a small risk and support the call for better quality assurance of the science.
This is slightly edited version of a post that first appeared on Peter Ridd’s Facebook page, here.