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Darlings for our Darling

Saturday, 8th September, 2018

‘Dead rivers are a real drag’: The girls put on a show at the lakes and on the river yesterday as a contribution to the campaign to let the nation know what’s really happening. PICTURE: Supplied ‘Dead rivers are a real drag’: The girls put on a show at the lakes and on the river yesterday as a contribution to the campaign to let the nation know what’s really happening. PICTURE: Supplied

Two exuberant drag queens filled the outback air with song on the banks of the Darling River and Menindee lakes yesterday to highlight the imminent threat to the Murray-Darling river system.

Abandoning her glamorous outfit for the occasion, Fox Pflueger slipped into a yabbie costume to sing “When the River Runs Dry” to an audience on the dry and degraded banks at Tolarno Station, 45 kilometres south of Menindee.

Up at the lakes, her friend Weird Alice dressed as a Golden Perch and blasted out “I Will Survive”.

Their costumes were chosen for a purpose - yesterday was Threatened Species Day.

The Menindee lakes are the largest fish breeding ground in the whole Murray-Darling Basin, and the Golden perch is at risk of extinction because the lakes are being bled dry by over-extraction upstream and failed water management. 

The queens were on their way through to Broken Hill for the annual Broken Heel Festival and said they couldn’t go past the dying ecosystem without bringing the story back to the cities.

“Drag is the art of resistance,” said Fox Pflueger.

“We are dancing in solidarity with endangered species and communities who have been left out to dry,” she said. 

“The queer community has fought for our existence for generations we are here to give a voice to threatened species and say ‘I will survive!’

“There’s a misconception that the lakes are suffering from the drought, but these lakes have been destroyed by mismanagement and alleged water theft upstream.”

Megan Williams, from Friends of the Earth’s Rivers, attended the protest and said the federal and state water ministers should do their duty and ensure that environmental “water makes it to our lakes and wetlands”. 

“We are here at Broken Heel celebrating our freedom, but local communities and threatened species like the Golden Perch don’t have that luxury while the rivers are being strangled by over extraction,” Ms Williams said.

“We are proud to have all Australians who love their country and rivers join us to witness this devastating event unfold,” she said. 

Rob McBride, the owner of Tolarno Station, 45 kilometres south of Menindee, said he is delighted with the wonderful support.

“Allowing the Darling to die is the worst man-made disaster in Australian history and it is only beginning,” Mr McBride said. 

“This could mean the destruction of the 600 kilmetres of the river forever,” he said. 

“It’s an insult to the Barkindji Nation and all those who follow in their footsteps.”

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