Thursday, 26 July 2007

Academics give lie to Causley's claim that Howard cannot touch Clarence water.

For months now, Federal Nationals Member for Page and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ian Causley, has been running a line that the Commonwealth would be unable to seize Clarence catchment area water. He has been arguing a version of "It's the Constitution, stupid" [The Daily Examiner,Grafton,letters,24 July 2007,p.8].
In this he appears to be attempting to defuse the issue ahead of the forthcoming Federal election.
Now Sydney and Melbourne academics have cast doubt on this comfortable assumption that the Clarence Valley is safe from water raiders.
Dr. Tim Stephens, lecturer in constitutional and environmental law at Sydney University, suggests that if the Commonwealth wanted to take control of the Clarence River, it probably could using corporations power found in the Australian Constitution and possibly the issue of free trade between the states [The Daily Examiner,Grafton,"Causley at odds with expert",26 July 2007,p.3]
While Lee Godden, associate professor in water law at Melbourne University, would have "two-bob each way" on the outcome of the issue [ibid]. 
What the Clarence Valley is acutely aware of is the fact that John Howard is currently in the process of creating legislation to seize control of certain catchment waters in Victoria, citing constitutional powers to do so [,25 July 2007].
However, states and their governments are often easier to roll than 'grass roots' community. Community has a marked propensity to turn into the mouse that roared.
Perhaps Messrs. Howard, Turnbull and Causley should remember that small fact.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home