Labor keeps up attack on Angus Taylor and his 'controversies' – politics live

By Christopher Knaus

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I’ve just come back from the CanthePlan protest out the front of Parliament House.

The organiser Carly Marriott told Guardian Australia that “environmental water is not an out-and-out good thing” but rather is a piece of “branding” used to persuade the public.

She said:

They’re banking on ignorance. They’re banking on the urban voter to think the government is doing what is right for the environment when in actual fact they punch that much water down a natural waterway to deliver on things ... that don’t need to happen.

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP for the NSW seat of Murray, Helen Dalton, explained that Australia is an “ephemeral environment” and high water levels in the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers “is actually causing a lot of environmental damage”.

Dalton said:

They just think adding water to the environment is good. In Australia it’s not, we expect to be dry, this is the beginning of summer. We know what our environment is: It’s not with rivers running full banker 24/7 12 months a year. You’ve got everything out of whack in the environment. You’ve got proliferation of carp, carp are undermining the banks of the river, and destroying aquatic reeds which filter the water.

Marriott said:

Farmers, if given water, they can manage their environment. We deliver on the triple bottom line: we look after our economy, our environment and our people. The Murray-Darling Basin plan is undermining all of that.

Pauline Hanson said One Nation have been “working extremely hard” to fix the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, complaining that parliament had knocked back her call to debate setting up the Bradfield Scheme.

She said:

I’ve done three days in the Murray-Darling, and I’ve spoken to the communities and I’ve spoken to the farmers. It’s not good enough, it needs to be revised, it needs to be thrown out and we need to come up with something that’s going to give the water to the people of this nation. I’m so angry when we have our water sold to foreign ownership – 20% of the water is in foreign ownership, 15% of our licences. Water shouldn’t be owned by anyone just to use for a trade to make their pockets bigger.

Ahead of the rally, the National Farmers’ Federation put out a statement acknowledging farmers’ concerns, but warning that “no plan” is no solution. The NFF president, Fiona Simson, said:

We have continued to advocate, increasingly stridently, for changes and reforms to the way the plan is being implemented and welcome the support from farmers also seeking to improve the plan...

Not having a plan is a complex proposal. Even without it there would continue to be an intergovernmental agreement on water distribution; there would continue to be environmental water; there would continue to be competition in the water market and the status of the drought would remain uninfluenced.

No plan is not the answer to this very complex challenge.

Marriott said the push to scrap or rewrite the basin plan will not be derailed or stopped by a press release.

Pauline Hanson at the convoy to Canberra protesting against the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on the front lawns of Parliament House, Canberra this afternoon

Pauline Hanson at the convoy to Canberra protesting against the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on the front lawns of Parliament House, Canberra this afternoon. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

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Question time features renewed Labor attack on Angus Taylor

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