From the federal Department of Bloody Silly Ideas comes the news that a panel of highly-paid “experts” have suggested we stop calling the drought a drought because it “makes farmers feel bad.” Instead, the government’s hand-picked Drought Policy Review Expert Social Panel suggests we use the word “dryness”.
“Words like drought … have negative connotations for farm families,” the report said.
“There needs to be a new national approach to living with dryness, as we prefer to call it, rather than dealing with drought.”
This is the sort of outside-the-box think that Australia desperately needs. Instead of dealing with permanent water shortages, rethinking agricultural policy or (gasp!) actually doing something to reduce the carbon emissions that are causing global warming, let’s just give the drought a new name and all will be well.
Now instead of worrying about the endless drought we can think of it as simply “a dryness”, the sort of expression that, until now, one only heard on deodorant and moisturiser commercials. Thank you, highly-paid panel of consultants!
Unsurprisingly, the National Party has rejected the suggestion that the drought be renamed. After many years, Australia’s farming sector has made a highly profitable shift from actually growing things to focusing on collecting government drought assistance payments, and obviously if the drought is renamed their business model might dry up (pun intended!)
Speaking of which, apropos of the current fashion for nationalising business losses by partial government buyouts of debt-ridden banks, has anyone noticed the parallel between this and Australia’s longstanding policy of subsidising the farm sector during the (increasingly frequent)bad years while giving the squatters and cockies a free ride when things are good?