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Fiddling while Australia burns

By 2353NM

Sometime in the future when Australia is finally taking real and meaningful action on climate change by reducing emissions across the board (and hopefully we aren’t all suffering a reduction in quality of life due to the compressed timeframes and drastic action required to obtain a result), it would be worth considering if Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s ‘secret’ trip to Hawaii while unprecedented and catastrophic bushfires were blazing around the country at the end of 2019 was partly to blame. It wouldn’t be the first time when someone goes on leave that an analysis made of the personal bravado of the holder of the position is balanced against the actual worth of their contribution, with the latter demonstrated to be seriously lacking.

In addition to the problems we identified before Christmas, the media looked around for more issues Morrison left unattended while enjoying himself and probably helping himself to some ‘bargains’ at the Ala Moana Center in Waikiki. It didn’t take them long to work out ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’ was accurate on more than one level.

The ‘climate change’ protests continued while Morrison was away including the optics of a 13 year old being manhandled by NSW Police in a protest outside the Prime Minister’s official Sydney residence at Kirribilli. If Morrison didn’t have cause for concern about the images of the country he claims to love drying out and burning prior to leaving, he should have pressed the panic button when acting PM McCormack claimed that some of the catastrophic bushfires on the eastern seaboard were caused by self-igniting cow pats rather than the raping and pillage of the environment.

This left the door open for Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese (who may have been ‘on leave’ but stayed in Australia) to question Morrison’s refusal to take any real action on climate change with The Guardian asking if Morrison’s ‘she’ll be right’ attitude was correct, clever or even realistic. Hand in hand with the bushfires from hell is the related issue of drought with a number of larger and smaller communities across the country either running low or completely out of drinking water. It has been noted in at least one media outlet that charities rather than government are making the effort to shift water to areas that need it.

Morrison returned from Hawaii eventually and attempted an apology

“I deeply regret any offence caused to any of the many Australians affected by the terrible bushfires by my taking leave with family at this time,”

However, as Michelle Grattan discusses in The Conversation

There’s been a lot of talk about how people don’t, or shouldn’t, begrudge Morrison a holiday. But, with the exception of family illness, a prime minister’s priorities should be the needs of his position ahead of personal matters, especially holidays. It sounds harsh, but that’s the nature of the job. And many firefighters are sacrificing holidays (and much more) this summer

It’s not like Morrison and the LNP couldn’t see this coming. Climate change has been an issue for years with a small group of deniers (you’d have to ask them why they ignore the evidence of nearly all appropriately qualified scientists) making various claims to maintain the façade of ‘nothing to see here’. The Minister for the Environment (Angus Taylor) recently wrote an article published by The Australian which rehashed most of the claims. According to The Guardian,

Taylor writes that Australia is “responsible for only 1.3 per cent of global emissions, so we can’t single-handedly have a meaningful impact without the co-operation of the largest emitters such as China and the US.”

So The Guardian asked an expert

Prof Frank Jotzo, director of the Centre for Climate and Energy Policy at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, told Guardian Australia: “I would characterise [Taylor’s article] as a selective use of statistics that make Australia’s emissions trajectory look good, when in reality it does not look good at all.”

While it is true, elimination of Australia’s 1.3% of global emissions won’t stop global climate change on its own, every little bit helps. Hugh Riminton points on the 10 Daily website

Our emissions, at less than two percent of global totals, will not be decisive in the fight. Therefore, it follows, we can change nothing. So let’s sprout new coal mines all over Queensland, and leave the issue to someone else.

And how gutless would that be?

In a nation that rightly reveres its ANZAC ideals, here’s a reminder: Australia has never beaten any deadly threat on our own.

We didn’t defeat Nazi Germany on our own.

But we did join the fight.

We didn’t defeat Japanese imperialism on our own.

But — by heaven — we were in the fight.

We did what we should be doing now. Seeking allies wherever we can find them, goading them into action, showing our willingness for the fight, and getting stuck in.

Riminton has a point. Every little bit does help. On New Year’s Eve, ABCTV turned its top rating concert and fireworks broadcast into a pitch for donations to assist the Red Cross in providing for bushfire victims. Leaving aside the question of why it should be the job of the Red Cross to provide for those affected by large scale misfortune (surely the government should be doing the heavy lifting here), the total donations at the end of the night exceeded $2million. This amount wasn’t given by one generous Australian millionaire, it was raised by people pledging $2 or $5 or $10 or perhaps more if they could afford it. While we don’t know, it’s a pretty good bet that most donations to the Red Cross via the ABC were considerably under $26,000 or 1.3% of the total value raised during the telecast. Every little bit counts, despite Morrison’s regular claims that eliminating our carbon emissions (which are about 1.3% of the total) won’t achieve anything. It is kind of ironic that the community reaction to a catastrophic event caused by our government’s failure to act disproves the very claim the government makes to justify its lack of action, isn’t it?

As an aside, the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal (as well as a number of other worthwhile appeals) continues to accept donations as the need to support those affected by bushfires will continue far beyond the recovery being newsworthy.

Morrison can’t market himself out of this one. It is said that George W. Bush’s Presidency never recovered from his apparent lack of interest in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Morrison needs to make a heroic conversion to belief in and actual progress on reduction of emissions as well as addressing the reality of climate change. The alternative is Morrison will be always remembered as the Prime Minister that fiddled around in Hawaii while Australia burnt to the ground.

What do you think?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. Kathryn

    Considering that the totally inept, bible-thumping hypocrite, Scott Morrison, is the HIGHEST PAID leader in the OECD, we should DEMAND that this smug, condescending grub make it his business (and ours) that he puts our nation FIRST, SECOND and THIRD! Most certainly, the over-worked, exhausted and tireless fire fighters put our country first fighting the raging, out-of-control and existential fires since November and right over Christmas and the holiday season! This is a callously inhumane, totally corrupt, rorting PM who has nothing but sneering contempt for Australia, Australians and our environment. Morrison was a cruel, self-entitled Immigration Minister under the OTHER worst PM in our nation (the swaggering, obsequious imperialist, Tony Abbott) – and now Morrison is a cruel, self-entitled and totally corrupt PM – the worst in living memory! The rusted-on Lieberals who put this monstrous aberration into power SHOULD have known better – ALL the red-flag warning signs that MorriScum was going to be a CATASTROPHIC and EPIC FAILURE were there. I’m just so grateful – and proud – that I was NOT one of the deluded, Murdoch-manipulated fools who helped this Machiavellian, soulless creature cross the electoral line into his role as one of the most heartless, entitled and inept crime ministers in living memory.

  2. Phil Pryor

    We need to try, to let off pressure, to express anger, BUT, the fact is, every effing morning, I retch at the sight of the Head Moron, an incompetent, lying, superstition drenched, self congratulating, saved, anointed, blessed, holy object of faecal fantasy, a sight in ugly smirking poses. It tests the tummy, tempts the bowels, fills one’s inner self with disgust. This Human manifestation of a sewage works is there, lying, fictionalising, declaring, twisting, on behalf of all of us, most of whom hate the sight of the repulsive bugger. He was always overinflated, understrength in the skull, unfit, an object of scorn and hatred at his intrusive negativity. Backed by the perverted political pox of Murdoch, the Media Maggot, the conservatives blunder on. Never ever support any conservative anywhere, because you will curse us all with the weight of their greed, stupidity, wilfulness and selfishness. Now Joyce wants to return, a reflushed huge turd…

  3. Kerri

    A few points!
    1/ Morrison left AFTER the bushfire season had begun and was already disasterous. He does not deserve a holiday.
    2/ I believe it is the unspoken LNP aim to do so little in terms of any form of social or natural crisis that the public will (and always does) pitch in and do the finance for them. Gotta get that surplus!
    3/ The USA probably got ticked off after Hurricane Katrina because Bush was seen to do so much rallying and action after 911 and the passion did not continue for Katrina. Bush sat on his hands for too long.
    Morrison blew all his brownie points on needles in strawberries.
    We all knew at the time that he was conflating the strawberry issue to buggery (we lead the world in punitive laws pertaining to strawberry tampering). We all knew he was feigning control and concern over the thing.
    So along comes a real crisis and Morrison’s battery is dead. He is recharging it in Hawaii. His daughters need him on holiday with them just like they needed him in Fiji with them 6 months earlier in June.
    Scotty from marketing should know you can’t pretend to be a superhero some of the time and claim it’s not your job for the rest. Maybe he should have just been constantly ineffectual like Michael Mc Cormack?

  4. New England Cocky

    “Morrison can’t market himself” Smirkie for Marketing could not sell a bottle of water in a desert at noon on a sunny day.

    The other sad news today is that Mick Muck the sometime representative of the Nazianal$ somewhere managed to hold on to his Deputy Prim Monster position because Barnyard was liked even less than the present Leader.

    Local New England gossip has the unelected political hacks of the Nazianal$ party “suggesting” that Barnyard go home and play with his bastards because he is an embarrassment to an inept political party and will be replaced at the next federal election if he does not choose to accept the opportunity of a new career in some Public Circus position. London, or Rome, or Ireland where the pubs are.

  5. ajogrady

    When are Australians going to stop rewarding corruption, criminality, lies, deception, obfuscation, sophistry, cruelty, laziness, failure, incompetence and lack of leadership coupled with poor judgement. When are Australians going to stop being gullible and falling for the Main Stream Medias biased messages and myopic agenda.

  6. crypt0

    From time to time I hear some who should know refer to Morriscum as a “moderate” Lieberal … now we all know that Abbott Dutton etc. are not moderates, and yet I can’t see how Scummo differs from them … on water matters, concentration camps for refugees, starvation rates for the unemployed/homeless and so on.
    Some say there’s only a small group of climate deniers in this COALition … if so, how is it that they seem to be running the show (ask M. Turnbull) , despite there being (allegedly) a large majority who understand and support the science?
    Either that alleged majority have no backbone/principles whatsoever, or that majority is merely a fiction.
    I just don’t believe any of it.

  7. Bruce White

    I’m hoping this will be the beginning of the end for Morrison and co(alition).
    I believe we need a federal election asap.
    Two a years and three months is too long to wait.
    Action on Climate Change needs to be implemented within 8 years world wide to save the earth.

  8. TuffGuy

    Seems to me everybody carries on about this Scummo thing regarding our negligible contribution to GLOBAL emissions. I have yet to see anyone talk about the NATIONAL impact of our emissions. The impact of our own emissions nationally is far greater and is perhaps what we should be talking about because this summer has been loud and clear on that front.

  9. Peter Gate

    I read that the Red Cross had different priorities other than the bush fires. Only a small amount went to help the bush fires.

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