Raising the BARR – Week ending 13 December 2019

Raising the Barr

The 2019 Year In Review


What a wild and tiring year 2019 has been for democracy here in NSW and Australia.  It feels like the crazy world of domestic politics has been on a never ending merry-go-round of slogans, pictures and pitches.  We have, after all, suffered through both state and federal elections campaigns in the one year.

Early in 2019 we saw some shocking images of mass fish kills out on our Darling River.  This has prompted a 12 month conversation about water and drought.  While the government of the day cannot make it rain, they can be responsible for water that has previously been captured in any of our mass storage dams and they can be responsible for treating that water with great care and caution.  I have personally spent some of the second half of this year visiting many of the communities most severely affected by the misuse of water and the challenge of drought; and the lesson that I learnt was about compassion and awareness.

Of course the state election campaign consumed much of February and March.  I want to acknowledge all of the brave individuals and their campaign teams that put themselves out there for the election journey.  Often our family and friends are our biggest helpers and despite probably having very little interest or involvement in politics themselves, they are often exposed to ridiculous and unnecessary abuse from people that think an election is code for “no manners are required”.  I was reminded about how lucky we are to live in this wonderful democracy.

The state election then blended immediately into a federal election and our democracy was again front of mind.  Watching the federal election from the wings, I was saddened to witness a campaign entirely occupy the message of fear and separation.  It seemed that the truth no longer mattered.  This refusal to talk truth has been reinforced by recent comments that we should not discuss global warming at a time when we have our worst droughts, our hottest days and our state of NSW on fire.  According to the climate change deniers in the Canberra Bubble, no matter how bad things get, if anyone proposes change, then that very idea of change itself will be cast as the villain which all should fear.

And now we finish the year with this wonderful state on fire.  Words cannot describe the incredible sense of thanks and admiration that our enormous team of fire fighters, including the volunteers, are owed.  If you get the chance in the coming weeks, a quick chat with any one of them will provide you with a tale of men and women that have been travelling the state to fight fires in communities that they have often never heard of, but all with a mind to community service.  Our firefighting volunteers are legends.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas everyone.  Enjoy time with loved ones and keep an eye and ear out for those that might be lonely during this time.  Drive carefully on the roads and take your time.  Take care around water, particularly if you are 18-35 years old, male and likely to mix your water activities with a few drinks.  I look forward to working with you all in 2020.