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EU online choices page, from each of your browsers or devices. Australia’s romantic attitude to farming has done untold damage to the land. Tony Hughes-D’Aeth is a Friend of The Conversation. Disclosure statement Tony Hughes-D’Aeth has received funding from the Australian Research Council. University of Western Australia provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation AU.
The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members. What if Australia were to stop farming? Towns that are slowly dying would collapse, jobs would go. But really the scandal of this thought goes beyond economics and into the very soul of the nation.
The crucial insight to emerge from such a thought-experiment is that agriculture in Australia is a religion — it is as much a religion as it is an industry. 200 years of assumptions about what it means to graze animals in Australia. Massy’s joins a spate of recent books that seek to recast the basic assumptions on which Australian agriculture was built.
And as major questions begin to be asked about the sustainability of agriculture — jobs would go. Curiously exempt from the cause, some people who could not possibly respect themselves, is something that is much more terrifying and it will be savagely resisted.
Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu, Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? Those Qantas television advertisements with choirs of angelic children strewn elegantly in front of Uluru or the Twelve Apostles trade on the basic fact that Australians identify and want to be identified with the continent itself.