Our say: heavens have spoken, it’s time to move on

THANK the heavens that they’ve finally opened up. 

For months the New England and North West has lamented the enduring dry conditions. 

So not only were the weekend’s showers a welcome relief to our farmers and graziers, but it’s finally given us something other than Barnaby Joyce to talk about. 

As the Joyce scandal enters into its third week, there’s no sure sign of it slowing down any time soon, with the New England MP announcing on Friday his resignation as Nationals’ leader and deputy prime minister.

It’s all the region has been talking about for weeks – indeed months.

From the affair, to the Freedom Of Information requests to clarify the situation around travel expenses, from the new Ministerial Code of Conduct banning sex between ministers and staffers, to the rumoured rift between the Liberal and National parties – it’s the story that has dominated both private and public conversations.

It’s not just been in recent weeks, and it’s not just been in the media. 

People down the street and around the dinner table are talking about it.

It’s a catch-22. 

People say they are pretty sick of hearing about the Barnaby Joyce scandal, but at the same time, it’s all they want to know and it’s our duty to report on that.

The online response to our Barnaby-related stories speaks for itself. 

But if there’s one thing that’s going to trump the former agriculture minister’s behaviour, it’s the weather. 

People just love to talk about the weather.

In many social settings, it’s our go-to subject when a conversation gets tough. 

And in an agriculture-heavy region like the New England and North West, even more so, especially when you consider how dry it has been over the past couple of months. The region topped the state’s rainfall figures over the weekend, with Wyoming Station, halfway between Guyra and Glen Innes on the Macintyre River, recording a massive 112mm in just 24 hours.

We are the food bowl of Australia, and rain is an essential ingredient in maintaining that title. There was a buzz across social media sites on Sunday evening and into Monday morning, with locals rejoicing over downpours and comparing their figures. It just goes to show there’s life after Barnaby.

Thank heavens the rain has given us all something else that is just as important to talk about.

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