Colleagues and scholars from coast to coast, across Bass Strait and all the ships at sea.
Dateline: Australia, Federal Politics 2010.
We now have a serious, urgent and complicated issue for the political world to solve: The Murray-Darling Basin.
It's an issue that needs resolution and the only way to resolve it is for our leaders to be resolute.
It's clear the river needs resurrecting to something that resembles what it used to be like; but it's equally clear that the people whose livelihoods depend on the river cannot just be trashed as collateral damage.
So how is it to be solved?
The same way all difficult problems are solved - leadership; from everyone. Something that has been sadly lacking on so many issues recently.
Leadership from the Government.
Julia Gillard and Tony Burke must take the lead and not hide behind the Murray-Darling Basin Authority or Tony Windsor. It is for the Government to navigate a way through this process to find a solution that best meets the needs of all competing interests. There will be difficult decisions to make, no doubt, but that is what governments are expected to do.
Leadership from the Opposition.
Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce must equally lead and not adopt a negative position where they are simply not going to agree to anything at all.
It is a real opportunity for both, and especially Joyce, to show they can take charge of an issue and find a way through that will address the interests of both the regions and the river. It's easy to oppose, it's easy to carp, it's much, much harder to construct.
Leadership from the Greens.
Bob Brown and Sarah Hanson-Young also have an important opportunity to show how they, too, can find a way through this difficult problem. Simply suggesting the only solution is an environmental one will not suffice. There are real lives and real people who will be severely impacted and the Greens can play a very constructive role in resolving the issue.
Leadership from the media.
The media needs to break free, for at least one time, from the simple conflict scenarios that it so loves to exploit for the inflammatory headline, 'the story' and the 'great pictures'. It has a very important role to play in helping to educate and inform the public about the issues. Film of angry farmers burning copies of a report, audio of angry rants and headlines of 'war in the streets', is not good enough. Maturity and professionalism is called for.
This is a serious issue which requires serious people to take the lead.
It could be the making of several political players but it remains to be seen which of them stand up and take advantage of the opportunity and which remain seated; carping and whining from their armchairs.
It's time not to go to water.