by PHILIP WHITE
South Australia’s new Premier, Jay Weatherill (with family, above), started Premieral life looking too good to be true. He had all the hallmarks of a straightforward fair dinkum no-bullshit zone, in spite of some suede bits surrounding his attitudes to the contentious destruction of the Cheltenham Race Course and its replacement with ghetto. In his very own electorate. But now he's been in the dying wreck of Detroit, Michigan, crawling to a decrepit manufacturer of inefficient, archaic iron horses, General Motors, begging it to continue to build motor vehicles in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. He will give them great amounts of our money, whether we drive their outmoded, over-sized gas guzzlers or not.
Whether we even drive or not.
The world’s best public transport system is what we want. Especially those of us who threw our keys away, once and for all, decades ago.
This grovelling to GM is reminiscent of Tom Playford ripping out Adelaide’s electric bus system and tramways and ordering every citizen to instead drive a GM-Holden. In the ’fifties! We have never got over it.
The jobs would be better spent on that public transport system. By the time they got it finished, GM would be dead and gone anyway. Where it belongs to be. Then we'd be battling the side effects of another GM: the genetically-modified crap that will likely infest every inch of our gardens, whether we like it or not.
And our bowels.
The other major industry in those impoverished burbs which spread like pox to Adelaide’s north, rendering useless great swathes of our best agricultural land, is conveniently labeled “defence”. All the detail we ever get on that is tut-tutting stage whispers about how important it is for us, and how we should never discuss it.
I loved my former editor from The National Times, Brian Toohey, the other day suggesting in The Financial Review that the new submarines should not be built in Adelaide, or anywhere else in Australia for that matter, because they will cost at least 30% more if they are.
Neither business - defence or big cars - is morally defensible. Last time “defence” was this big it spent a lot of money and lives blowing up aboriginal land with nuclear bombs and making a plutonium mess in the desert and in my generation's young lungs that nobody can ever clean. So I won’t mention the world’s biggest, shiniest uranium mine, and the mess its uranium made of Japan and the western Pacific last year and ongoing.
photo PHILIP WHITE
But this is not a nuclear piece. Back to car-cars. The Labor Party has for decades given the precious parklands of Adelaide – usually touted as the Garden City’s greatest asset – to General Motors and Ford to stage an evil, violent, thrilling charade that lasts a week and takes half a year to build and dismantle.
This is called V8 Supercars. In the name of economic growth and entertainment, grown men are encouraged to break every road safety law we have, spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, much of it ours.
It's sooo gay! They dress up in mob clothing, admire each other, and use the world’s least-efficient, most outmoded and deadly transport technology to also break all of Adelaide’s enlightened noise legislations. It is an evil, mindless malignancy that encourages our young to do illegal and deadly stuff in cars. Plain and simple.
This government has also rung out more than a fair share of adoring press for promising to save the Barossa and McLaren Vale vignobles from inappropriate development. Allegedly, a moratorium has been imposed on development in these regions until the legislation is debated and passed.
This is one of the biggest lies told the South Australian people since Bannon’s Labor amateurs pretended the State Bank was not down to the tune of about $4 billion, which everybody knew it was.
STEP # 1: REMOVING TREES FROM THE CREEKLINE ON THE SEAFORD HEIGHTS FARM photo JAMES HOOK
While Weathers was off throwing alms at the dinosaurs of Detroit, his government’s development at Seaford Heights commenced with a mob of nobodies removing the only trees on the site. Something to do with a loophole in the significant trees legislation.
Seaford Heights is well within the internationally-recognised boundaries of the McLaren Vale wine region. It covers the oldest, rarest and best geology for farming in the entire Willunga Embayment; it was for generations famous for producing the best and most valuable barley in the state. Guinness just had to have it. We also know from vineyards on its surrounds that it is the best and most profitable viticulture land on the embayment’s floor. And now the Labor Party, and its cheque-writing developer cronies, are determinedly proceeding to cover it with tasteless ghetto.
VINES THREATENING HOMES IN McLAREN VALE photo KATE ELMES
This will house thousands of Labor voters, and folks who'll mindlessly shop in Coles and Woolies, and get their cheap grog in Dan Murphy's, BWS or Liquorland, whose staff are all unwitting members of the ALP through the Shoppies Union, which selects the leaders of both State and Federal governments, as in Julia and Jay.
Next time you suffer the ignominity of waiting in a supermarket queue for a little Finnegan or somebody to ask how you are or whether you can fly by or something inane while they take your hard-earned for a trolley load of crap poison detergents, gm processed muck and fruitaveg that'll rot before you get them into your fridge, imagine that poor checkout slave could well be the next Prime Minister, and it'll be their union that puts them there.
MOWING AND STOOKING PRIZE-WINNING SEAFORD HEIGHTS BARLEY BY CLYDESDALE TEAM ... NOTE THE BARLEY IS UP TO THE GREAT HORSES' CHESTS photo courtesy JAMES HOOK from ONKAPARINGA COUNCIL LIBRARY
And all this is happening while these shonks tell us they’re saving our special vignobles from development.
We have a perfect example of Labor’s understanding of appropriate development in the disgusting shitboxes they’ve put on the nearby site of the heritage-listed vineyard (below) first planted by pioneer John Reynell in the early 1840s at his exemplary Chateau Reynella. As far as new residential precincts go, it is the worst development I have seen anywhere in Australia. Which no doubt means it will soon be winning awards.
JOHN REYNELL'S LITTLE 1840s VINEYARD, THE SOURCE OF THE FAMOUS REYNELLA SELECTION CABERNET ... ALL CEMENTED OVER NOW photo KATE ELMES
It was developed, after all by Constellation Wines and Pioneer Homes (not joking). Other than an initial, quickly-stifled bleat the great green conservative Hardy Family which flogged it originally didn’t utter a squeak agin the destruction, and the money-hungry McLaren Vale Grape Wine And Tourism Association refused to oppose it in the stupid hope that the Sands Brothers, owners of Cunstellation, would stay in Australia, which they most predictably did not.
They did, in fact, dump something to the tune of $1.3 billion of shareholders’ money to get out of this country, which makes the $6 million they collected destroying one of South Australia’s single most important historic vineyards look like the last lonely bubble in the last bottle of moscato.
All its residents will be shopping at Woolies and Coles, and they'll be buying their discounted bladder pack plonk there, too.
Flip to the Barossa. Labor’s development moratorium somehow doesn’t cover what the developers hope will be the State’s biggest windfarm, near Henschke’s Hill of Grace vineyard and its surrounds in the eastern Barossa Ranges, and south towards Eden Valley. Disguised as a verdant triumph, this is another piece of abject horror as far as aesthetics and amenity stretches.
HILL OF GRACE photo MILTON WORDLEY
Go to Seppeltsfield, where Warren Randall is pushing through a $140+ million tourism village in another heritage precinct, somehow immune to the planning moratorium. This is a huge motel town complex going beneath and around the world-famous Seppelt Family Mausoleum in those heritage-listed palm avenues.
Randall’s understanding of sensitive planning is best manifest in his McLaren Vale properties, like his ramshackle tank farm and crappy sheds in the vineyard at Tinlin’s at McLaren Flat, and the eyesore of his Fleurieu Winery at the top of Chandler’s Hill above the near-immaculate historical township of Clarendon.
Neither of these messy sites looks like a place where safe healthy beverages are made.
Randall is also responsible for destroying the old Southern Vales Co-operative winery, later called Tatachilla, in the main street of McLaren Vale, to make way for more ghetto. Part of this included his destruction of a set of perfectly workable hand-made copper pot brandy stills which were chopped up and sold as scrap. These were rare heritage items. Beautiful, extremely valuable things. He musta needed the cash.
Which leads me to the Liberal Party, which is about as liberal of thinking as the Labor Party is understanding of sustainable employment and food security. If the Libs' members are the best that all our cocksure green-aware farmers and intelligent conservative countrymen can scratch together to challenge Labor’s Malig Nancies, then it’s about time we all went to live in Tassie.
RIPE AND READY FOR PICKING: SELLICKS HILL, McLAREN VALE photo PHILIP WHITE
This party is a crude indictment of the conservatives of McLaren Vale and the Barossa, as much as anywhere else.
Weathers is about to step spritely off a plane at Adelaide airport, and reassure us in tones as measured as his predecessors' what a great business dealer he is and how things have changed.
The only change I can see is a switch to more devious and nefarious bullshit. Get ready to vote the whole damn lot of ’em out, whether they’re ex-shelf-stacking till-dinging Shoppies for Coles and Woolies and the very same discount duopoloist ethanol peddlers that are destroying the wine business, whether they're hard-right Catholic interferists who won't wear frangers, gambling addicts, serial traffic offenders, victims of assault, bare-faced liars or whispering bulldozers. I don’t care. Vote the Libs out, too: their fatso self-satisfied boofheads in the gold-buttoned blazers and blue-and-white-striped shirts belong somewhere that none of us any longer inhabit.
Please notice that I do not mention the fashion of Wendy Chapman or her Leader, whose name escapes me. Their fragments are not fashion. These are school uniforms.
I’d prefer a parliament packed with independents we hardly know. Odds are on they’ll be far better than this festering malignancy of shady creeps, suspicious paranoiacs, total dill-brains and manipulating power-hungry twerps.
Forget your car-cars, Weathers. Stop Seaford Heights. Stop the wind farm. Pull your cocky little attorney into line. Guarantee us that Warren Randall will clean up the mess he’s left in McLaren Vale before you let him sool the bulldozers into the Barossa’s most precious heritage precinct.
Do something enlightened, for Bacchus sake!
THE TRACTOR ACTION DEMONSTRATION: McLAREN VALE'S CITIZENS CLOGGED THE ROADS FOR HOURS IN THE INITIAL PROTEST AGAINST THE SEAFORD HEIGHTS DEVELOPMENT photo LEO DAVIS.