James Taylor released ‘Fire and Rain’ in January 1970. Taylor’s song is about a number of his personal issues including drug addiction, professional upsets and the suicide of a friend. If it was released today it could have been a commentary on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s current term in office. Morrison’s term as Prime Minister has been bookended by (unprecedented) bushfires and (unprecedented) flooding. Morrison is a part of his problems as he doesn’t ‘hold a hose’, or send a flood boat either – apparently.
Morrison has been a ‘front bencher’ in all of the versions of the current Liberal National Party Coalition Governments since Abbott came to power, as have the current pretenders to the throne, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Defence Minister Peter Dutton. Abbott came to power promoting the false premise that an emissions trading scheme was a ‘carbon tax’ that would mean $100 lamb roasts and wipe out the City of Whyalla. To be fair, the ALP didn’t sell the trading scheme well because the leadership were more interested in stabbing each other in the back than having a genuine and honest conversation with Australia on the need to reduce emissions. The expert scientists in the CSIRO have been telling us to have the conversation about emissions reduction since the 1970s.
Probably with memories of the less than stellar reaction to his televised visits to firegrounds in NSW at the beginning of 2020, Morrison chose to tour South-East Queensland and Northern NSW without the media as he claimed that people in distress don’t like having cameras shoved in their faces. That’s probably true, however Morrison’s ‘personal photographer’ was in attendance. (One has to ask in passing why the Australian taxpayer is paying for a photographer to accompany any Prime Minister to produce glossy propaganda photos?)
The media didn’t use many of the photos. The Nine Network’s Today and Seven’s Sunrise show grilled Morrison and Emergency Services Minister Bridget McKenzie about their pitiful response to the flood disaster – with Nine’s Karl Stefanovic telling McKenzie he didn’t know what her response to a question actually meant. Crikey and others took Morrison and McKenzie to task over the declaration of a National Disaster being made a week after the flooding event started in Gympie (Queensland). Morrison and McKenzie claimed they had to wait until they had agreement from the affected states and there was a scale of magnitude to the disaster. As Crikey observed
Still, the serious question remains: why the late declaration? The correct answer is the obvious one: there was no reason to not declare a national emergency earlier, unless the prime minister was insisting on announcing it himself, standing on a pile of waterlogged furniture like George W Bush at Ground Zero. And Morrison, as it happened, was in COVID isolation until the day the emergency was declared. Coincidence? With this government, there is no such thing.
The National Disaster was eventually declared without the support of the Queensland Government.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of climate change causing greater volatility in the weather across Australia, Morrison’s lack of effective action to promote emissions reduction had his supporters. The News Corp keyboard warriors such as Bolt and Kenny were claiming there is no correlation except bad luck therefore climate change doesn’t exist. Some of the lunatic fringe politicians, such as Malcolm Roberts and Mark Latham agreed with Kenny and Bolt.
The week after the flood event, when communities from north of Brisbane to south of Sydney were starting the clean-up, it was announced that the Coalition Government had successfully appealed a court case that determined the Federal Environment Minister had an obligation to protect our children from climate change. It is a sad commentary on the Government’s priorities that eight teenagers and an octogenarian catholic nun feel so strongly about the Government’s apparent lack of consideration of our children that they have to take the Government to court in the first place. It is absolutely criminal the Government appealed the initial decision. Unfortunately, it looks like the case will have to proceed to the High Court.
An election is due within a few months. A number of Australians have chosen to run for office as conservative independents in Coalition held seats. Most, if not all of these ‘teal’ independents are partially motivated by the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Collation Government’s complete and utter disregard for the environment that our children and grandchildren will have to endure. They seem to be confident of changing the voting habits of a reasonable number of formerly rusted on Coalition voters. We also know from history, that once an electorate chooses an independent candidate, it is difficult for the major parties to regain the seat.
Poetic justice would be that when the next ‘unprecedented’ natural disaster hits Australia, Morrison is sitting on his couch and watching the rolling coverage of the unfolding disaster. with the Prime Minister of the day showing Morrison how the job is done and the media making the comparison for all to see. At the same time his daughters are telling him in no uncertain terms that he could have done something when he was PM to stop the tragedies of the future, and didn’t.
What do you think?
This article was originally published on The Political Sword
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