Conversation with Max

Dave Rubin has started doing something I have been doing all my life: engaging with those on the polar opposite political spectrum and remaining friends after robust discussions.

Today we voted in the local Queensland election.  The line ups were quite long so when we queued up, we were approached by Greens volunteers.  I blasted them by telling all of them that through their well intended policies, farmers were committing suicide at great rates.  Max took the bit and spoke to us through the slow line to the voting booth. We covered a lot of territory and I must say that the Greens do recruit some impressive volunteers and Max is one of them.

Max, if you read this, here are my two promises I made you:

Two of the items I promised to post were Dr  Suri Ratnapala’s article “Constitutional Vandalism Under Green Cover” and the article Michael Thomson’s “The Lost Battle For Queensland Farming“.

Excerpt from Dr Ratnapala:

The effects of these instruments are far reaching and costly to property owners. Freehold and leasehold occupiers of land that becomes the subject of area declarations cannot manage or use their properties as they judge, but must do so in conformity with the “declared area code”. Owners require the authority of clearing permits even to maintain the productivity of their lands. At the very least, the declaration increases the landowner’s transaction costs in managing the property. It may reduce the productivity of the land, resulting in loss of income. It is more than likely that a declaration will diminish the market value of the property. I will return to the important question of compensation presently, but first the compliance cost deserves a closer look.

A property owner will be required to read and construe the legal effect of the “declared area code”. This may seem straightforward but, as owners have discovered, it is often not. The tree clearing limitations are fixed in relation to Regional Ecosystem Maps (REM), which are binding on land holders unless they are able, at much cost, to show that the maps are wrong. There are occasions where an REM may change an area of land from a non-remnant vegetation area to a remnant vegetation area, thereby retrospectively abrogating the landholders’ rights to clear, unbeknownst to the landholder. Since such clearing attracts criminal punishments, the effect is to impose punishment retrospectively for innocent acts.

In making such retrospective punishment possible, the VMA violates a principle accepted by all civilised nations and declared by Article 15(1) of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, that innocent acts must not be made crimes with retrospective effect (nullum crimen sine lege). A lawyer brought to my attention the case of her client, who cleared some land on the verbal assurance from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines that the vegetation was not remnant, and later found that the REM had designated the area as remnant. It took several years for her client to have himself cleared of the alleged offence, during which time the department refused to assess his other clearing applications, causing serious economic loss.

Tree clearance permits, once issued, may give rise to similar problems, particularly when the terms of a permit prove impractical or even impossible to comply with. A permit that allows some species to be cleared, but not others, may be a virtual prohibition if selective clearance may not be practical or possible given the nature of the forest. It is a basic principle of all civilized legal systems, and a rule of common law, that the law must not ask the impossible (lex non cogit ad impossibilia). An enactment that requires the impossible is not a law but a directly punitive act.

Excerpt from Thomson:

In the case of salinity, environmentalists used images of massive salinity damage in Victoria and Western Australia to generate fear and to create the perception that the same devastating outcome would befall Queensland if land clearing continued. But Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures revealed that just 0.07 per cent of Queensland was affected by salinity, only three per cent of farms were affected, and more than 20 per cent of farmers had changed their practices to prevent its spread. Only 0.01 per cent of the State’s agricultural land had been rendered useless by salinity.

Thanks for the chat, Max.  You are a promising young man, and I will look into the Steiner School you told us about.

Keep talking.

By the way, Bernie Sanders founded MoveOn.Org has endorsed Sanders.  Just saying.


About Mrs Beardsley

I tried, I died.
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