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Let’s Just Ignore The Bushfires!

This may seem like a strange question but can we afford the cost of fighting the bushfires over the coming months?

I’m just asking it because no interviewer is asking anyone this question. They’re not even asking Labor what they’d be spending on fighting fires if they were in government. Nobody is pointing to all the lost productivity from volunteers taking time off work and asking if we can afford it.

We have fires. They threaten parts of Australia, so we fight them. Nobody says we can’t afford it, because everyone understands that it would cost more not to fight them.

Compare this to climate change. Labor is not allowed to argue, as Bill Shorten tried: “People don’t stop me and ask what is the cost of acting on climate change, people ask what is the cost of not acting on climate change.”

Just imagine if Tony Bourke’s interview on the ABC the other day was about bushfires rather than climate change. The interview would have gone something like this:

ABC: What is Labor’s policy at the moment on bushfires?

BURKE: Our policy has always been that we should act on bushfires. Always.

ABC:Specifically how much are you proposing to spend on prevention and firefighting equipment? Because Bill Shoren took a policy to the election and you lost, so is there a change in policy?

BURKE: Our next chance to implement Labor policy is in 2.5 years’ time. We can’t wait for that. There is a Government that won the election and they need to act on bushfires now. People are breathing in the impacts of these bushfires.

ABC: Can you put a figure on that then, Mr Burke? What specifically – when it comes to bushfires, are there specific targets in terms of the number you would like the government to commit to fighting?

BURKE: First of all, we’d like Scott Morrison to commit to putting them all out.

ABC: But put a figure on it. What would Labor be prepared to spend to do that?

BURKE: I’m not really in a position to put a figure on it.

ABC: Well, the PM has said the Government’s plan is to meet and beat all the bushfires without upping taxes, losing productivity, spending on equipment and without pulling the rug out from the building industry that will get an enormous boost from all the rebuilding. Can Labor also commit to doing the impossible? And if so, how much would it cost?

Yeah, you’re right. It makes no sense. Of course, nobody disputes that the fires are actually happening and tries to suggest that they’re part of some conspiracy of scientists to get more funding for bushfire science. Nobody argues that we’ve always had fires so there’s nothing we can do about it. (Ok, some people talk of “droughts and flooding rains” and try to suggest that it’s part of the landscape, but nobody suggests that we should do nothing.)

There’s a consensus that the fires are real, they are an actual threat and from there the only arguments are about how best to tackle the ones that are already burning and what to do about reducing future risk. Climate change, on the other hand, is a little bit more complicated. Leaving the deniers to one side – which is probably the best place for them – we still have the problem of the lip-service politician. Just like John Howard of 2007 who “intuitively” didn’t believe the scientists, but knew that telling the public what he really thought was politically dangerous, we have a large number of MPs who tell us that they accept the science when talking generally, but want to ignore it when it comes to talking about specific action. While nobody would say, “I saw you fall off the ladder and I’ve already written a letter asking for an ambulance to be sent as soon as it’s convenient, so you just lie there and medical help should arrive some time in the next week or so!”, we have politicians tell us that they’re fully committed to taking action on climate change, as long as it doesn’t affect anything or anybody.

Of course bushfires are immediate and urgent. Unlike climate change which sneaks up slowly, it’s impossible to argue that now is not the time to talk about them or to suggest that we won’t start fighting them until other countries do something about their own fires.

And, if one tries to mention any possible link between droughts and fires and climate change, why that’s just an attempt to politicise the disaster, which is quite shameful at a time when so many are suffering and the community is all pulling together, and we have ads telling us what a good job the Federal government is doing.

Besides, the Morrison government has all that climate stuff under control. We’re going to “meet and beat” our targets. Yep, we’ll beat our targets… Interestingly, no journalist ever asks, “By how much?”

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  1. Win Jeavons

    Nor do journalists ask whether the target, even if honestly achieved ( which is impossible unless we change direction rapidly ) is fit for purpose . It is like saying bread and water is all we need for a long and healthy life.

  2. Keitha Granville

    I am constantly frustrated that journos never ask the NEXT question. They never seem to try and nail them all down. Disappointed that Labor is fudging at the moment too. We KNOW you lost last time, but don’t throw out all your principles. The ones who voted for you WANT you to keep on making clear policy statements to show how different you are from the morons in power.
    The ambulance analogy would be funny if it wasn’t close to the truth in many cases in some areas.

  3. Kaye Lee


    The interviewers are too dependent on their prepared questions. Instead of listening to the answer, they are glancing down at their next question. They seem incapable of reacting to the answer and then varying from their script. And the interviews are too short as they cut to an entertainment piece.

    I think most of Labor’s policies were great. If only they could shake off their fear of being wedged about “border protection” and coal and buying war toys and “national security”.

    A Federal ICAC with teeth and an immediate interim increase in Newstart pending the results of whatever inquiry they were saying they would do which just sounded like weasel words even if its intention was good. Homeless starving people can’t wait for yet another inquiry.

    It wasn’t their policies that were bad, it was their strategists and communications advisers. Bill Shorten unscripted was good, Throw out talking points. It sounds insincere and silly when everyone parrots the same phrase. If they don’t know something, they should say so and endeavour to find out rather than bluff and bluster and rote learn a few lines.

  4. Lambchop Simnel

    Another chippie. That woman, a McKenzie scrubber like too many of them at the ABC.

    Drunk on rum, tottering up the muddy Pitt St of 1798.

    Could you imagine her speaking to Morrison or the like or taking such a dishonest and obviously personalised tack if it had been an LNP minister?

  5. Lambchop Simnel

    Do readers think these are the sort of women who rush out to buy Paltrow’s Candle with their cheap casks of industrial rum.?

    Should we include Kerry- Anne Kennerley?

  6. ajogrady

    Rather then call what is happening with weather “natural disasters “.The truth is that criminal corporates absolute greed and insidious corruption in collaboration with power hungary pathetic politicians and cash for comment media propagandists are the root cause of man made climate change. In the not so distant past this would be called out for what it is, a premeditated act of treason and a orchestrated crime against humanity. In those days these deliberate and disgusting crimes would be dealt with accordingly. Why in todays world have these crimes not been called out for what they are or has democracy and the institutions that protect and uphold the institution of democracy fallen victim to industrial strength collusion and corruption.

  7. David Stakes

    This lot of fires will be ignored once they are out by this Gov, only when the next major flare up. Which will happen, will expose their wilful neglect. And should bring the Gov down.

  8. Phil Pryor

    Women deserve all that men get and deserve, good or bad. Thus calling the tedious, terrible, truth wrecking tarts ignorant, or stupid, or just primitive animals mentally, is hardly nasty, just accurate in the case of the Mc Kenzie, Hanson, Kennerly, Ley, Cash types, types that were sent here on the first fleet for generous legstretching, entering more than doorways and windows, taking far more than law allowed. I’m not putting up with shitheads in the media or parliament without pointing out what shitheads some of them are. Men outnumber them easily, for B Joyce alone is trying to multiply himself anytime with careless insertions and not very neat correct entries. So, how is it that this nation has become riddled with the filth of rampant parasitism? Why are we still coerced and reduced by filthy dirty, gouging, thieving, rotten, greedy arseholes of know known ability or decency? Could we have an umpteenth fleet to send the conservative shitheads back to pommy pastures or prisons? The masses, indigenous, even the wildlife would CHEER.

  9. LambsFry Simplex.

    Easy though.

    McKenzie is culpable and complicit but only the tip of an iceberg that comprises just about all of the LNP. She may yet be patsied even more for the higher ups.

    Abbott has been drawn into it now with a big fat rort assigned his leafy green Warringah electorate, when battler seats got nothing despite actual cases of need.

    If anyone deserves the sack it is Morrison, who will never discipline ANY of the stacks of politicians on his side caught out with their fingers in the till.

  10. Phil Pryor

    And.., we have barely had time and space to notice the latest goings of that oozing orb of obnoxious offal, J Bishop, who makes the most poxed pussies look prim and pure. Let’s cash in on a long career of stupidity, ignorance, supremacist shit and general erroneous efforts to clean up on the good old reputation, circle of contacts, incrowd fellatio friendly fellowship and a self image of inflated infected egocentric vacuuminousness. It’s a step up from co-habiting with known nazi nong Lightfoot, just to get up and on and in.

  11. LambsFry Simplex.

    Yes.. Asbestos Barbie, the woman where a hole exists where there should be a heart.

    The role model for women like Cash and McKenzie.

  12. wam

    burke, like all labor politicians should not be allowed to go unscripted to an interview. They need to be armed with answers
    the first answer should have been:
    Labor had a bipartisan climate change scheme in 2009 which bob brown scuttled leaving us 10 years with no systemic understanding or climate plan, -shortish pause – then follow up with albo offered bipartisan approach and labor has dadada the second answer we had a bipartisan scheme in 2009 which bob brown scuttled and follow up with albo offered bipartisan approach and labor dadada.

    Albo needs to decide whether the ABC is worth using or just being used their journalists have long been operating at an autocue journalist level and their crawling subtitles under the news are no longer fair.
    The watched media troll and select little bits of idiocy for re-telling out of context and, usually, unsourced unanswered by labor. Forget the ABC and go sunrise and today.
    If albo selects the time and asks questions like does the ABC supply questions to the government asks them whether they know the background to the questions, have a bit of fun like ‘peak download’?
    Who thinks craig, pauline and most pollies understand the greenhouse effect much less climate change?
    What can we make of Jaqui?? “Australia must prepare for world climate change by boosting the numbers and resources available to our emergency services, our military, our medical professionals and our farmers”

  13. Kaye Lee


    If they had bipartisan support for anything, the Greens would be completely irrelevant.

    As for “Forget the ABC and go sunrise and today.”….I would never see a politician again. I refuse to start my day with that trash.

  14. Andrew Smith

    Our PM’s, MP’s and media’ focus on the now precludes any real action.

    It’s a metaphor of much that we see in Australia, don’t do anything (till it’s too late); avoid being proactive, wait then react or panic.

    Ensures that nothing will change while maintaining the status quo.

  15. Andy56

    Lambsfry, i disagree. There is a hole where the brain should be.
    That photo of our brain dead PM should be shown often and everywhere. We need to constantly remind the stupid of their choices.

  16. LambsFry Simplex.

    Too right. They are running scared.

  17. Andy56

    lambsfry, there should be a picture of her holding a lump of asbestos to go with the coal.
    Gone but not forgotten!! They should be reminded everyday of their existence for their evil choices in life. Should be a tattoo on their foreheads, 666 in bright pink so nobody could mistake who they are.

  18. wam

    hahaha, kaye, spot on with both comments. But every day I watch pauline’s mate trump’s muslim Al, a few glances at the bbc news and push the mute button for smirko on the abc.
    As for the greens they made themselves irrelevant when they went for the cash and gave lambe and hanson the balance,.

  19. Ken Fabian

    Take a drought and bushfire crisis. Consider what an added 3 – 5 degrees would mean with “but we always have droughts and fires”? Yeah, but nah! The LNP won’t consider that – they are the elected government and they decide what they consider and when they consider it.

    So many of our outspoken pollies fight fearlessly for what they believe in and that hits a chord with the public… but they also fight fearlessly against examining and thinking about what they believe in. Things that don’t happen don’t get seen by the public, let alone hit a chord.

    Now the LNP pollies have the additional problem of fighting fearlessly against saying aloud what they really believe – that from either direction, ie the ones that know the climate problem is at least as bad as those IPCC reports say (there MUST be SOME, surely!) who must avoid sounding “needlessly” anxious about it . And the ones that think they know, are sure, that the anxiety itself, whipped up by the global climate cult, is the totality of the problem, not able to say what they think. All that mental gymnastics so that changing the rhetoric and getting that balance right remains the full extent of their policy shift on climate change must be hard work.

  20. Max Gross

    Scummo is quite content to watch the country burn to a crisp because it fits neatly in with his deranged Pentecostal belief that the world must be destroyed before zombie Jesus will come to “save” him and his fellow wingnuts

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