FISH KILL: Hundreds of thousands of fish have been killed along a stretch of the Lower Darling River in New South Wales in a second major incident which has led some experts to fear whole populations of local native fish have been wiped out.
FISH KILL: Hundreds of thousands of fish have been killed along a stretch of the Lower Darling River in New South Wales in a second major incident which has led some experts to fear whole populations of local native fish have been wiped out.

BOUNDARY RIDER: We can't just accept information

IMAGINE it's a few decades ago, and you're reading this at the kitchen table on a balmy summer's morning in Bundaberg.

Are you there yet?

Yesterday, I pictured going back in time and I remembered the local paper being a font of knowledge, a history book and a source of entertainment.

I realised along with those things it also subtly guided the readers' thinking in one direction, or another, on various issues.

Governments were built up, and torn down, by those printed words. I think it was not the case of people not being smart, but because society didn't have the same access to information as we do now.

I'll give you one example.

What if we faced something like the fish kill on the Menindee Lakes in the 1980's media landscape?

The information we'd receive would come in chunks of text with grainy pictures in the paper, sound bites on the radio and a minute-long piece during the TV news.

All excellent forms of communication, but because of the time there was limited opportunity to access more information.

The then environment minister would have said something about how unfortunate the situation was, mentioned the drought and the story would have been over in a few days.

A quote from a local farmer may have been on the page somewhere to have another voice in the story.

Also, if there was a political agenda from any form of media, the story could narrow in its scope quickly.

Thanks to the internet we don't always believe what we are told, and I think it is time we started questioning the given information more.

Let's start with the words pouring out of the mouths of our political leaders as the election looms.

We just can't accept stuff like the explanation delivered to us that thousands of fish dying was the result of drought.

There is information out there explaining how, and why, the lakes were drained of water for use upstream.

We can, and should, do this with every issue that pops up during this election campaign.

If it's fiscal agenda, a humanitarian policy or even how the future government will fund sport in Australia, it doesn't matter.

If we all start questioning the information, the candidates may not have the chance to drag this country back in time, but instead they will have to be honest and lead us into the future.