REAL AUSTRALIA

Can ScoMo and Albo go with the flow from Dubbo?

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition leader Anthony Albanese (inset) in Dubbo, NSW.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition leader Anthony Albanese (inset) in Dubbo, NSW.

Question: "What kind of sycophant are you?"

Answer: "What kind of sycophant would you like me to be?"

Veteran Canberra political commentator Michelle Grattan has some advice for Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of his White House state dinner in September - the first Australian PM since John Howard in 2006 to be so honoured.

Despite his "early bromance" with President Donald Trump, when Mr Morrison goes to Washington, Grattan says, "it will be important the PM seen as his own man".

Or as her fellow learned observer of all things Canberra, Ian Warden, opines: "Is today's Australian version of "All The Way With LBJ" a similarly fawning "We Kiss The Rump Of Donald Trump?"

Greetings from Your Nation's Capital, where your local federal MP is due back at work today.

The 46th Parliament had three sitting days at the start of this month. Yes, a taxing workload indeed.

All that horseplay and horse-trading over the Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Relief so Working Australians Keep More of Their Money) Bill 2019 obviously left the poor petals plumb tuckered out, and needing 14 days off to recover.

More in a moment on what's likely to be top of the to-do list as MPs begin a fortnight of sittings.

First, a salute to a couple of the Aussies who played a role in the Apollo moon landing in July 1969, and for whom the weekend's 50th anniversary of that giant leap brought back special memories.

Professor Ross Taylor was the scientist who analysed the first samples of moon rock souvenired by the moon-walking astronauts. He had gone from the Australian National University to NASA in Houston in 1969 to run the "lunar receiving laboratory".

"There were elaborate quarantine procedures set up to avoid horrendous science fiction scenarios," the 93-year-old - who remains an emeritus professor of ANU - told Canberra Times journalist Steve Evans.

Professor Taylor was able to definitively determine pretty quickly that the moon is not made of cheese.

Then there's John Saxon, operations supervisor at the Honeysuckle Creek tracking station that helped broadcast man's first steps on the moon. Mr Saxon is the only person in the southern hemisphere who spoke to the men on the moon. They talked about beer, of course.

BALE HEARING: Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Dubbo with Harry, Max and Hugo Barwick of Warialda and local MP Mark Coulton. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

BALE HEARING: Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Dubbo with Harry, Max and Hugo Barwick of Warialda and local MP Mark Coulton. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Back now to Parliament House, where the Coalition government is expected to reintroduce today a bid to set up a Future Drought Fund with $3.9billion for drought-proofing projects.

ScoMo and Albo were in Dubbo last week making all the right noises at a Bush Summit.

While there's concern we've had too much talk and not enough action to support struggling farmers, the PM's speech went down pretty well in Dubbo.

ALBO GREASE: Dubbo West Rotary members Paul Allan and Genevieve Menzies serve Anthony Albanese at the sausage sizzle. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

ALBO GREASE: Dubbo West Rotary members Paul Allan and Genevieve Menzies serve Anthony Albanese at the sausage sizzle. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

That assurance will be tested this week because the Future Drought Fund has already been knocked down once by Labor, which disagrees with the government's plan to take cash for it from an existing infrastructure program.

Expect niggles from the sidelines too. As Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale told ABC's Insiders program on Sunday: "Our concern is that what you're doing is giving $100 million to the National Party so they can funnel money into their big corporate irrigator mates".

With low winter rainfall across southern Australia, no water in sight for central Queensland and tougher water restrictions on the way for much of the NSW Central West, would-be Liberal MP and former Dubbo deputy mayor Warren Mundine believes now is the time for government action to support regional communities.

HIGH AND DRY: Murrurundi resident Ruth Roser puts another load of washing on the line. The family of eight has found a way to comply with tough water restrictions. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

HIGH AND DRY: Murrurundi resident Ruth Roser puts another load of washing on the line. The family of eight has found a way to comply with tough water restrictions. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Of course, this is not a time for politics. It's about the people. As editor Heath Harrison told Newcastle Herald subscribers at the weekend of the Hunter Valley's water-starved towns like Murrurundi: "They are struggling, scared and vulnerable. But they are also united, determined and made of something else. Sometimes the worst of times brings out the best in people, and that can be seen in the support these struggling communities are showing to one another".

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