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A Rejoinder to the Comment by Stewardson et al. (2021) to the published article by Colloff et al. (2021) that were published in the Australasian Journal of Water Resources.




Colloff, Matthew
Grafton, Quentin
Williams, John

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The Australian National University


This is a rejoinder to Stewardson et al. ‘The politicisation of science in the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia: discussion of ‘Scientific integrity, public policy and water governance’’ published online in the Australasian Journal of Water Resources (AJWR) on 29th October 2021. Stewardson et al. (2021) was a Comment to an earlier published article by Colloff, Grafton and Williams, ‘Scientific integrity, public policy and water governance in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia’ published online in the AJWR on 26th April 2021. The paper by Colloff et al. (2021) focused on scientific integrity and was triggered by ‘An open letter from scientists on the Murray–Darling Basin’ - published on 19th July 2019 (Vertessy et al. 2019a). The 27 signatories to the Open Letter (see Vertessy et al. 2019a) were ostensibly responding to a television programme entitled ‘Cash Splash’ (ABC 2019), broadcast on 8th July 2021 and produced by the Four Corners team of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Of the 23 original signatories to the letter, 17 are co-authors of the paper by Stewardson et al. (2021). To contextualise this rejoinder, Colloff, Grafton and Williams have each undertaken research on the science and policy of water reform and management over many years, as their publication records attest (see, for example, Grafton et al. (2020) ‘Confronting a ‘post-truth water world’: facts versus fiction in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia.’ Water Alternatives 13(1), 1–28). Further, they have always promoted open, evidence-based debate, dialogue, and interactions with policy- and decision-makers in Federal and State governments and their agencies. Colloff, Grafton and Williams have also supported the development of a range of policy options, not just within current policy settings, for the sustainable use of water resources in the Murray–Darling Basin. Over many years, their interactions have included briefings and face-to-face dialogue with State and Federal Ministers, parliamentarians, members of the media, senior public servants, community groups, academic and public audiences, as well as submissions to multiple parliamentary and public inquiries.



Murray–Darling Basin, water, water governance





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Open Access

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