(Image: AAP/Dan Peled)

Is there a less scrutinised area of public funding than drought relief? The government today has announced -- via drops to the media -- another billion dollars to be handed to a key industry ally of the Coalition, and there is virtually no analysis from the media and no objection from Labor -- which if anything will criticise the package for not being big enough.

If colossal sums of money in free loans were handed to the finance industry, or the construction sector, or manufacturing, specifically targeted at groups that support the government, at the very least there'd be media debate about how worthwhile an investment it was -- or even Utegate-style allegations of corruption.