In Queensland where wild rivers run, dichotomy holds sway,
Some locals say the wilderness and streams should stay that way,
That men should go on living lives they’ve lived for ages past,
A dreamtime life of hunting by the streams and rivers vast.
The Greens and other dreamers from the towns are in agreement.
It seems romantic. The conservationists are vehement
That the wilderness must be protected and our carbon footprint be contained,
And the life of first inhabitants needs to be maintained –
Idyllic life of fishing beside tranquil lagoons,
Sleeping rough inside bark humpies beneath frosty white moons.
The dream is lovely but let’s say idealistic,
And pragmatic locals are demanding that they be more realistic.
Lives are short and brutish lived under open skies.
Eyes are blinded to the beauty by disease from swarming flies.
Ears are deafened to the birdsong by the germs bred from the squalor.
Folk live in filth and waste, escape their fate by drinking liquor.
That’s the real dream-time of their lives, a drunken stupor,
Or petrol sniffing heaven, and they contract diabetes,
Or die of spread diseases breeding in their food and faeces,
For they don’t have any sewerage, and they don’t have refrigeration.
They’ve condemned themselves and families to the worst conditions in the nation.
The other half of the debate is for developing resources,
For the making of a profit from the wild and water courses,
Profit that will pay for better lives by education,
Buy homes and cars and health care, raise them from humiliation,
Raise them from their lethargy, give them hope and trust
In the future for their children.
Don’t you think it’s just?
Let’s ignore the hopeless and leave them to their fate,
Work with ambitious locals. The welfare of the state
Won’t be any worse for a little less of greenery.
Let’s give the willing work. Let’s bring in the machinery.
We can still preserve some of the wild rivers’ beauty,
But bettering conditions of our fellow-man is our first duty.