THE debate about whether our great Aussie bush should be unlocked makes one thing clear: freedom isn't free, it comes at a price to you and me.
Mainly in the form of heated exchanges between, in the red (neck) corner (if you believe the hype), diesel sniffing, Toorak tractor-driving environmental vandals.
And in the green corner, cardboard-munching, latte-sipping enviro nazis who want to ban everything.
That's worth the price of admission alone. And there's the issue straight up - admission. To pretty places, like beaches and national parks and suburban shopping centre car parks.
No one's denying you need low-range to find a park at Woolies.
But if you're going to get up close and personal with the bush, the green corner reckon you should do it on foot, Tenzing Norgay style. The red (neck) corner respectfully argue that if you live more than a kilometre away from Kakadu it's gonna get sweaty. Particularly if you're planning to lug in a port-a-loo.
The politics are more complicated than the Middle East, where at least they have camels.
No one's suggesting we use camels to explore Australia any more. Because camels are an introduced species. Like the manufacturers of most four-wheel-drives in this country. Lucky they're all pulling out, not.
If only we could harness some native species for transport. "What's that Skip? An injured bushwalker stuck deep in the national park? They'll have to walk out."
One of the problems in the battle for hearts and minds is identifying the enemy.
A person who misbehaves in the bush may be a "hoon". But a person who doesn't misbehave may be a "greenie" or alternatively a "bush lover".
Hard to tell unless they own a 4WD, then it seems they're a "redneck". Or a "bogan" if that's sounds too American.
One thing both sides can agree on is they all hate the Yanks.
A "bogan" may possibly morph into a "fat bogan". And that's where it can get nasty.
The poor old fat bogan argues it's not his or her fault they're not as athletic as they used to be. It's one of the reasons why they drive 4WDs. Along with the fact it's not humanly possible to walk to Cape York from the Hunter.
They naturally take umbrage and accuse the elitist lean greenie beanstalk of playing the man about their fitness. Ultimately you have to ask, as Kamahl would: Why are people so unkind?
In an effort to ease the confusion about who is who, I offer this simple method of distinguishing between a bogan, a greenie and a redneck.
If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck . . . a bogan will probably call it a duck. (Possibly a chicken first before Googling it.)
A greenie will probably call it a dead duck due to their pessimism about humanity's relationship to nature. (Possibly a migratory masked lapwing duck, because greenies know this stuff.)
A redneck will probably shoot the duck, and I wouldn't feel too comfortable if I was the greenie either.
The hostility is unfortunate and only serves to ramp up the stink.
And yes, pretty soon the greenie may find themselves taking fire about their deodorant, or lack thereof. Which is hardly accurate in this age of metrosexuality.
But all's fair when it comes to sledging.
Personally, I feel walking has its advantages, but only if it leads to my car.
What shines through all this "dialogue" is our famous Aussie egalitarianism.
It's "our bush", "our beach" and in the case of Stockton beach "our sandmining". And if you don't like it, you can all go get . . .
People say you shouldn't have to pay for the actions of the few. On the other hand, does that mean we should all have to pay?
That's the kind of disturbing rhetoric they're dealing with down at Merewether baths. We're all equal but some are more vocal, I mean equal, than others, the whingers at Beresfield add.
To paraphrase Joe Hockey, who has announced an end to the age of entitlement, no one has inalienable right to access where ever they want. For free at least. Unless it's travel-related.
The greenies might add so long as that travel's not done in a 4WD - they're not into bush bashing. Joe Hockey reckons he's not either, despite what his policies suggest.
Some people reckon the bush should be locked up for posterity so we don't have to show kids photos of what the wilderness used to look like. Some people reckon those who reckon that should be locked up.
Others feel the Greens, with their ban everything mentality, have a lot to answer for. Namely the Shooters and Fishers Party and the Motorists Party.
The vibe from these guys seems to be that Australia was built on exploration and freedom and inappropriate land use and soil erosion. To put the brakes on that would be unpatriotic.
Which begs the question: Are the great outdoors best seen from the great indoors of an airconditioned all-terrain vehicle? When it's 45° outside, maybe yes.
What's all this driving at? Certainly not a solution. If we could all share a bit more it'd be OK.
But common ground, like commonsense, don't seem that common on the ground.