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by Viv Forbes, 23 August 2005
Viv and Judy Forbes breed cattle and sheep on a grazing property at Rosevale in SE Queensland. Viv recently formed “The Grassland Protection Group” to protect and promote Australia’s productive grasslands.

The Constant Battle for Land & Water
Australia has supported humans for thousands of years. Over the millennia, one feature has been constant — grazing animals have been the key to their survival. The grazier is the “Atlas of Australia”.

The essential assets for graziers are grasslands and water. Every previous generation has valued, maintained and conserved these, our most precious assets.

But this generation of urbanized fools and misguided greenies is undermining all that. They are destroying these valuable assets.

Every living thing is in fierce competition for access to soil and water. On land, the big contestants in this battle for space are grass, herbs and trees. These three are seldom in balance — one is always expanding at the expense of another.

The Early Invaders
The first human grass managers probably arrived here in sailing vessels. They brought with them the first grazing tools — the fire stick and the dingo.

These graziers changed the face of Australia. Fire removed last season’s old dry grass, pushed back the scrub, destroyed woody weeds and encouraged the re-growth of grass in all areas suited to grass. Fire was unable to penetrate the dense forests, where no grass grew, but in areas where grass had a foothold, the fire stick maintained that grass and allowed some expansion.

The expanding plains and open forests encouraged grassland animals and birds. Kangaroos, emus, parrots and pigeons flourished, and their vigour was maintained by constant culling by competing carnivores — humans, dingoes, crocodiles, eagles, hawks and other meat eaters.

But trees fought back, developing strategies to live and expand in the face of the annual fires. They developed iron barks, resistant to heat, and their seeds became fire resistant, so a new crop of woody weeds grew up after every fire. Trees, grass, herbs, grazing animals and carnivores all found their space in the Great South Land and fought vigorously to preserve and expand their territory.

We are all Ferals
Nature never stands still — some species of animals and plants are always failing, becoming rare and then extinct, while others are invading new territory.

Only fools think they can preserve an unchanging biosphere, where failing species are preserved for evermore, and vigorous feral invaders are destroyed or repelled. Even a casual glance at the fossil record will show that well over 95% of species that ever lived on planet earth are now extinct. They failed, and every one was replaced by vigorous “feral” invaders, who became the new establishment. Luckily, our ancestors were vigorous survivors.

The “Still Life” picture is OK for story books, art galleries and Greenie publications. But out in the real world, it is an action cinema. Out of the droughts, the fires, the floods, the weeds and the pests, new winners and losers are constantly emerging in the battle for living space. Every species in Australia arrived here as a “feral” invader, colonized vacant territory and pushed aside weaker occupants.

The Recent Invaders
The face of Australia was changed again by the next wave of human settlers, who brought new animals, plants and tools. Their sheep, cattle, horses, ploughs, axes, fencing wire, wheat and vegetables allowed an enormous expansion in the land devoted to human survival. Human population expanded enormously, and other species were pushed aside and some failed.

These settlers also brought a totally new primate species to Australia — the bureaucrat, a sort of parasitic species protected by armed men and granted power to impose their values on all other settlers. This new species, “Homo plumbeus” (lead in the saddlebag) used powerful new weapons such as taxes, fines, fees and red tape to again change the face of Australia. Unfortunately, a predator of bureaucrats has not yet emerged.

“Homo plumbeus” has a favoured habitat — a cosy office in a large city. Naturally the more adventurous explorers, prospectors and graziers got far ahead of the regulators and took possession or “squatted” on the best natural resources they could discover. Their axes, ploughs, grazing animals and mines laid the foundations for all the roads, railways, towns, farms and mines that supported waves of new immigrants.

However, the bureaucrats soon followed. The first one to turn up at a selector’s door was probably a Land Commissioner.

In the days of the pioneers, trees were the enemy. Unless these were cleared, both the settler and the colony starved. Government land inspectors roamed the bush threatening selectors with dispossession unless they cleared their quota of trees every year.

That policy was wrong, but so is the current policy where Government land spies, using malicious dobbers or aerial surveillance, threaten graziers with dispossession if they dare to clear a tree without a government permit.

Spurred by years of propaganda from the greenies, and the comfortable do-gooders in the well-watered leafy suburbs, politicians of many hues are now prepared to sacrifice Australia’s future because too few appreciate how much Australia depends, not on the trees, but on the grasses.

Our Sacred Grass
In the bible it is written “All flesh is grass”.

At the bottom of the land-life pyramid is the soil. The soil supports the worms, bacteria, fungi and other soil microbes that decompose rocks, minerals and organic matter. All land plants derive their sustenance from the soil, the air, the rain and the microbes, some of whom live in symbiosis with the plants. These valiant few (the soil microbes and plants) are the sum total of land-based primary food producers.

Of all the primary food producers on earth, grass is by far the most important — without all the native and domesticated grasses, most of mankind and all his farmed animals would starve. Grass is indeed the sacred plant on earth and those fools prepared to sacrifice our valuable grasslands for the still life dream of a protected forest, deserve to sit down to a breakfast of witchetty grubs and boiled ironbark.

Standing on the shoulders of these primary food producers (soil, microbes and plants) are the predators and parasites — insects, birds, herbivores, omnivores, carnivores and all mankind. And at the top of the food pyramid sit the bureaucrats and the tax collectors. (The pyramid is becoming top heavy.)

Atlas is Shrugging
All over Australia, droughts, taxes, prohibitions and confiscations of land and water rights are having an inevitable consequence — graziers are giving up — Atlas is Shrugging.

The most obvious evidence of this is the sudden takeover of grasslands by weeds, pests and trees.

The first grassland invasion started as bureaucrats seize and lock up land in national parks and other no-go areas — an expanding playground for bureaucrats, a haven for weeds and pests, a birth place for bush fires and a dangerous land magnet for the landless millions of Asia.

The second grassland invasion is coming from a plague of subsidised eucalypt plantations. This sterile monoculture of woody weeds is taking over whole farms as graziers are bribed to destroy grazing assets that their ancestors took two centuries to create (often sped along by subsidised or coerced state land clearing programs).

There is another sign of Atlas Shrugging – go to any farm meeting and look around — it looks like a seniors meeting — farmers are a dying species. “Homo plumbeus” is winning the battle for survival, and our next generation sees their future in the law, regional or industry planning, ecology, sociology, the welfare industry, the land rights industry or amongst the mandarins — few sons and daughters of the land are choosing to stay there.

Graziers, farmers and fishermen have supplied the food for all Australians for their whole history. The political classes are engaged in a war on their own primary producers that is unparalleled in history — as Napoleon once said “Only a foolish horse fights with his nosebag”.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Lang Hancock's Five Point Plan to Cripple Australia
  2. Put Windmills in National Parks
  3. Magnifying National Disasters
  4. Please Don't Feed the Animals
  5. Buy Birdsville Made?
  6. The Economics of Flood Risk
  7. Touring Bureaucrats
  8. Our slip-shod laws to blame
  9. Why Wind Won't Work
  10. A Profusion of "Prices"
  11. R.I.P. Ron Kitching - pioneer, explorer, author, family man, entrepreneur, scholar
  12. The Carbon Pollution Lie
  13. Closing Down Australia
  14. The Anti-Industry
  15. The Pyramid Builders
  16. Carbon Tax Bribery
  17. Crown Monopolies
  18. Carbon Tax Job Losses
  19. What Next, a Tax on Water?
  20. Carbon Health Warnings Coming Soon
  21. Growth Mythology
  22. The Tax Collection Industry
  23. Propaganda Puts Paid to Proof
  24. The Milk of the Welfare Teat is Watered Down
  25. "Crops for Cars" as Bad as Everlasting Drought
  26. Poll speech sets record
  27. The Emissions Trading Casino
  28. The Contract Society
  29. A Model Ministry
  30. The Five Point Plan to kill the economy with High Cost Electricity
  31. Put a Sunset Clause in the Carbon Tax
  32. Stuck on Red
  33. Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
  34. Carbon Tax Lies and Bribes
  35. The Middle of the Road
  36. United against taxes
  37. Call for Govt administrator
  38. Property & Prosperity
  39. "The Science is Settled" BUT Durban Climate Summit Not Cancelled
  40. No End to Fuelish Policies?
  41. The Right to Discriminate
  42. Sell the CES
  43. Free Water Costs Too Dam Much
  44. Creating Unemployment
  45. Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
  46. 1985 news item on Tax Payers United, Centre 2000 and the Australian Adam Smith Club
  47. Having the numbers is not the same as having the truth
  48. Who's Who in the Workers Party
  49. David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
  50. Caught in a welfare whirlpool
  51. Global Warming Season
  52. Mining in Queensland, Past, Present and Future
  53. WEATHER IS USUALLY UNUSUAL
  54. Political branch formed
  55. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  56. Viv Forbes on Libertarian Strategy and the Constant Resources Myth
  57. The New Brisbane Line?
  58. Carbon Lies
  59. We Mine to Live
  60. Save the taxpayer
  61. Solving Three Canberra Problems
  62. Vested Interests in the Climate Debate
  63. Carbon Tax Retrospective?
  64. Carbon Price Propaganda Taxes the Truth
  65. Don't Burn Food for Motor Spirit - Feed People not Cars
  66. Two Big Climate Taxes
  67. Greens Rediscover Hydrogen Car
  68. Atlas of Australia
  69. Shutting Out The Sun
  70. Safety Mania
  71. Coal - Sinking in the Swamps
  72. Hobbling the Competition
  73. Cubic Currency Coming
  74. "Dear Government"
  75. Viv Forbes mocks Flannery in 1988
  76. What we have is not a drug problem but a drug law problem
  77. Smoking, Health and Freedom
  78. Privatise Now! while they are still worth something
  79. The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
  80. The New Federalism
  81. Sunset for Solar Subsidies
  82. The mouse will roar
  83. The Road to Homelessness
  84. Planning & Prosperity
  85. Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  86. Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
  87. Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
  88. Our homeless regulation refugees
  89. Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
  90. Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
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