Damian Drum Keith Pitt nationals
Resource Minister Keith Pitt (right) speaks to Nationals MP Damian Drum (Image: AAP)

Always remember that the Nationals are, foundationally, not a political party, but a conspiracy to rort taxpayers. And that will always come through in whatever they do.

This week the Murray-Darling Basin Plan erupted as the first battlefront of Barnaby Joyce's return to the leadership, with the Nationals moving amendments in the Senate to the Water Legislation Amendment (Inspector-General of Water Compliance and Other Measures) Bill 2021. That's the bill belatedly providing some teeth so that the hitherto feeble sinecure of the Inspector-General of Water Compliance got some powers to address rampant water theft by irrigators, especially in NSW.

The Nationals' amendments in the Senate were defeated when the government itself voted them down, but because the bill got amended elsewhere by the government, and by One Nation, it returned to the House for consideration yesterday. So the Nats decided to move the amendments again in the lower house, knowing full well they'd go down.