Sunday, January 30, 2011

Round the New England blogging traps 22 - flood focus

Over a month since my last blog round-up. A lot has been happening.

In What can we do you for?, Archives Outside asked for suggestions for 2011. I responded:

I would like to see:
1. More information on particular records systems. For example, a description of cabinet records. I found them very fragmentary.
2. More Hunter Valley & North Coast material. That would help me in the writing I am now doing.

I followed this up with New England & Archives Outside.

This is a very good blog for those interested in local or regional history. Why not visit and make your own suggestions?

In my own historical blogging, my recent posts have been:When sweet turns to sour

On Clarence Valley Today, Mark continues his photos of life in Grafton and surrounds.

I have chosen this photo of the recent floods from When Sweet Turns To Sour not because its either especially pretty or spectacular, but for Mark's point. The damage to the sugar industry will be substantial.

While New England's floods were not as spectacular as those in Queensland, there has still been a fair bit of damage.

Media reports, I can't give links, carried comments from Richard Torbay, State member for the Northern Tablelands, querying why New England flood victims are getting less assistance than those in Queensland or Victoria.

I must admit I hadn't realised that there was a difference.

The waters flowed on and on.

Flood foam Yamba The next photo from Mark shows flood foam at Yamba. I have to agree with him. I think that you must have rocks in your head to swim in this stuff!

In the midst of the rain, North Coast Voices (Is there "Something Rotten in the State of Windsor?") is keeping an eye on the Parliamentary inquiry into the Murray-Darling water proposals. Their concern in this case appears to be a possibly selective release of public submissions to the inquiry. I actually doubt this, but haven't checked it.

This is one of those difficult issues that potentially sets the eastern and western sides of New England against each other. Not, mind you, that NCV actually recognised my concept of New England. NCV and its sister blog A Clarence Valley Protest are totally one eyed and would, I think, deny the concept of a broader New England interest.

There is nothing wrong with this. Malcolm Turnbull's original grab for Clarence water to feed Brisbane's perceived water shortages was simply silly and needed opposing. If locals do not react, then they are going to be rolled over. However, it can impede discussion on broader issues.

During the Clarence floods, NCV provided a number of information reports on local conditions. This is indicative of a broader trend. This was a flood in which the new media came into its own as a source of information.

Staying with NCV for the moment, in Excuses used for not reading blogs, Clarencegirl wrote: 

chickenpoetblog It has happened so often now that I am moved to comment on the number of times someone (usually a journalist) tells me that they are aware of a particular post on North Coast Voices BUT….

A list of the normal excuses followed.

I really loved the cartoon CG included; this came from Savage Chickens. It really captured one element of blogging.

Moving south to Coffs Harbour and a somewhat different political perspective to NCV, Hugh Saddleton's Coffs Outlook had a very funny post. I won't repeat it all, but here are a few quotes:

IT’S been a tough week for us Aussies.Another public holiday, more beer to consume and more Poms to bowl out in the cricket.But spare a though for those Poms as they head for a double dip recession, thanks to 13 years of socialism.And after the terrorist attacks of 2007 they are starting to feel the pinch in relation to more threats.My spy in Whitehall tells me they have even raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” The next step is “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.”  And the last time the English went to a “A Bit Cross” was during the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.....

But back to God’s Country – Australia.Last week as we headed for another day off we raised our security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Three more escalation levels remain: “Crikey!” “I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend” and “The barbie is cancelled.”   And throughout history, no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

Look, I know its not politically correct, the French could get very peeved, but it is funny.

Stating with Coffs Outlook, 2009 Coffs Coast flood victims should be exempt from Gillard’s new flood levy begins:

Coffs Coast residents who were denied one-off flood payments in 2009 should not be slugged with the Gillard Government’s new flood levy, Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker and State Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said today.

This is not especially sensible, political special pleading, but it does play to something that is creating problems for the Government's flood proposals. Many people in New England who at personal or community level have suffered from similar problems without the same time of support do feel some what aggrieved.

This is not an attack on the levy, by the way. If you want to know my personal views, see Flood levy's, public policy & the Australian spirit and then Further musings on the flood levy.

20101206-07-00-21-roo--in-garden Moving inland up the mountain road, Gordon Smith in lookANDsee has returned to local themes.

While I enjoyed Gordon's photos of Sydney, it is nice to have him back, so to speak. This photo shows an Eastern Grey Kangaroo having a snack outside his sunroom.

Returning to floods, a tweet from Paul Barratt suggests that "quite obvious Tony Abbott still hasn't figured Tony Windsor out. He never will." He followed this with "Re-reading your message, penny drops. TA will never understand TW coz will always be looking for an angle when there isn't one." and then "Also, TA simply doesn't understand the "Independent" part of Country Independents. Doesn't understand "Country" either."

The trigger for all this was a story by Michael Bachelard and Natalie in the Melbourne Age: Independent lashes Abbott on flood levy. I suspect that Paul is right.

Staying with the floods, in Brisbane’s Man-made Flood Peak! Ian Mott is critical of water releases from the Wivenhoe Dam, while Peter Rohde looks at specific aspects of the flood in Brisbane in Brisbane Floods, Brisbane Floods 2, Clean up – day 1 and Clean up – day 2.

I sometimes get asked why I include blogs not based in New England in this round-up. Well, like me, more New Englanders now live outside than inside New England. I include them. Paul Barratt is from Armidale and has continuing connections; Ian Mott is from the Northern Rivers; while Peter Rohde was Dux at Armidale High.

We have many different views, but are all part of the New England story.

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