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Saturday, 21st September, 2019

The Connecting Our Country newspaper. The Connecting Our Country newspaper.

By Craig Brealey

Copies of a newspaper about the destructive consequences of the Murray-Darling Basin’s management hit the streets yesterday and “tens of thousands” of people will get theirs next week.

Even the Queen of England and her family will receive “Connecting Our Country”, said its publisher Kelly McPherson.

The free, full-colour tabloid consists of 24 pages, and five of them are devoted to what has happened to Menindee and Wilcannia, Ms McPherson said yesterday.

The first of the 30,000 copies were sent yesterday to Barmah where the deliberately flooded Murray River is destroying the red gum forest and washing away the river banks, she said.

“Next week, tens of thousands are going out all over the place,” said Ms McPherson, who was born and raised in Wilcannia and now lives in Victoria.

“My husband is taking copies to Wilcannia next week and we will send more as well.

“One of the stories has the headline ‘Queen city of the west wants her crown back’. That’s what Wilcannia used to be known as and we want the Queen to know what is going on,” she said.

“Princess Anne, Charles, and Harry and Will will also get a paper. I know they can’t do anything for us, but it’s a good way of getting people’s attention.

We do want a royal commission, after all.”

The papers will be posted to homes in Sydney and Melbourne next week and to all politicians in the country, the Governor General and all the main media companies, Ms McPherson said.

The former newspaper advertising representative from Shepparton said she had received great support from the public since announcing the newspaper project two weeks ago.

“Of the thousands of messages, I’ve only had a few cranky responses, including one from a politician who wanted to know what political party I was representing.

“This isn’t about political parties. Drop your political banners. This is all about doing what is best for Australia.”

Ms McPherson said government wanted people to point the finger of blame upstream but it had misread the situation.

“North Queensland people are gathering content for us, because they’re not happy either,” she said.

“We have killed our manufacturing industry, we’re killing agriculture and now nature. Australia is famous for its environment and it’s really sad to see so much of it being destroyed.”

The aim of the newspaper was to show city people what was really happening because the story was not covered well enough by the mainstream media, Ms McPherson said.

“We want to get them talking, and once all the paper is delivered we will put it online for everyone else.

“The internet has been so successful because people want their opinions heard. When you replicate that in print you have a fairly powerful platform.”

Ms McPherson said she intended to publish another edition of ‘Connecting Our Country’.

She said it took three weeks to get the first to print and that included everything from registering the company to putting the content on the page.

“The next one will be easier because all the hard stuff’s done.”

Ms McPherson said that as far as she could discover, the paper was the nation’s first ever citizen-generated marketing campaign.

“It really is a show of strength, and whether we succeed or not, we’re having a go.”

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