NATIONALS Senator Barnaby Joyce says the Greens just want to demolish towns by trying to disallow the Murray Darling Basin Plan.Environment Minister Tony Burke tabled the final version of the landmark water reform laws on Monday.
Senator Joyce slammed the Greens, and Senator Hanson-Young in particular, for what he called their divide and destroy mentality on the basin.
"It is great frustration that in trying to defend the people who live in the basin and it goes beyond the irrigators, just the townspeople . . . are put at risk because of a nihilist philosophy that wants no more than to destroy things and then has the hide to not have to live with their decisions," Senator Joyce told the chamber.
He said Senator Hanson could show "real empathy" by moving her office from Adelaide to the basin.
"You can say some wonderful things, some marvellous gestures, the faux empathy, the grimace, the emotive pause but it is not fair dinkum," Senator Joyce said.
Senator Hanson-Young said she would prefer celebrating the passage of a plan that would set the river up for a living future.
"(To) set the river over the next 20 years to be a system that is healthy and could sustain itself, and of course the communities and the eco-systems that rely on it," she said.
"The plan tabled by the minister earlier this week does not do that."
She said the plan appeased those who didn't want to return as much water as they have been "greedily taking".
Parliamentary secretary for Defence David Feeney said the Greens were committed to conservation "at any cost".
"They judge success on what they stop, not on what they protect," Senator Feeney said.
Greens leader Christine Milne asked what was the point of spending $11 billion if it failed to save the river by returning enough water to maintain its eco-system.
"This is policy where you have brought in a political fix," she said.
"The money flows but the water doesn't get restored to the river system until 2019."
Independent senator Nick Xenophon said he wasn't prepared to go down this risky path.
"As imperfect as the plan is, my concern is . . . what happens if this plan is disallowed and the version that comes back is worse than the one we have now," he said.
The disallowance of the Basin Plan 2012 was defeated 44 to nine yesterday.