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Byron Shire
July 7, 2022

Everything’s on Fire

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Barnaby Joyce blamed the stress of worrying about his parents’ place burning down for his erratic behaviour last week, but as the emergency worsened, it became clear that his burning pants and those of his leader needed more urgent attention.

The attempt to re-frame the bushfire catastrophe as something caused by dastardly tree-huggers and latte-sippers was spearheaded by Nationals leader Michael McCormack, who said in response to Adam Bandt that people ‘don’t need the ravings of some pure enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time when they are trying to save their homes.’

What they did need, apparently, was the ravings of former accountant and beverage expert Barnaby, who followed up with the conjecture that two of the people who had just burned to death near Glen Innes were probably Greens voters (they weren’t, according to their friend and RFS veteran Bruce Walker, who let loose on Facebook), and hence, what? Were they responsible in some way for what had happened?

In fact the victims lived in one of the best bushfire-prepared communities in Australia, none of which helped one iota, as was explained by Glen Innes Severn mayor Carol Sparks, who also lost her house in the blaze.

‘While all this is a personal tragedy for my family and myself,’ she said, ‘it is but one story within an unfolding statewide and global disaster, about which our community deserves nothing less than the honest and unvarnished truth.’

Despite a chorus of retired fire chiefs supporting this request, any mention of the global climate crisis fuelling the bushfire catastrophe remained verboten by Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Despite a chorus of retired fire chiefs supporting this request, any mention of the global climate crisis fuelling the bushfire catastrophe remained verboten by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who told journalists, ‘There is a time and a place to debate, you know, controversial issues and important issues.’

Until that undisclosed moment, it seemed there would only be pre-loved thoughts and prayers, recycled from the American NRA playbook.

The leader of the ‘opposition’, Anthony Albanese, showed up in Akubra and cool-Albo shades at the emergency evacuation centre at Nimbin, where he was heckled about climate change, but at least had the decency to leave a few fridges to help the evacuees.

Later he went to a Qantas junket with the Prime Minister and one of the world’s most overpaid CEOs, Alan Joyce, who had just arrived on a non-stop experimental flight from London to Sydney, which Qantas claimed was fully carbon-offset.

It was left to the WA Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John to tell truth to power in the parliament, during a debate on the federal government’s proposed laws cracking down on energy companies who had the temerity to move away from fossil fuels

It was left to the WA Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John to tell truth to power in the parliament, during a debate on the federal government’s proposed laws cracking down on energy companies who had the temerity to move away from fossil fuels.

‘How dare any of you suggest that in this moment at this time it is appropriate to be prosecuting a piece of legislation with the aim of propping up coal,’ he thundered. ‘

‘You are no better than a bunch of arsonists – borderline arsonists – and you should be ashamed.’

The senator’s words were met with howls of derision by the mainstream media, despite the world’s scientists having clearly told those in power that something like this would happen for decades now, if they continued on their merry way.

Speaking of merry, invitations were sent this week to MPs at Parliament House for ‘Bright Sparks Christmas Drinks’ from the Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Resources (aka Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon and the Liberal Party’s Craig Kelly) to be hosted by APPEA. APPEA are the helpful people who brought us CSG and a host of other fossil fuel products currently contributing to the climate emergency.

The mistletoe invitations were shared to social media by the Greens’ Larissa Waters, providing a glimpse of the insiders status of the mining industry and the sham dividing line between the major parties.

At a state level, it’s a similar story. 500 people protested outside Parliament House in Sydney this week as the Berejiklian government prepared to bring in legislation to decouple consideration of global warming impacts from new mining approvals, in spite of what the courts have said about this.

While there was no talk of reinstating the millions of dollars cut from the RFS in this state, they did find time to wave through new laws to prevent exposure of animal cruelty with the support of the Shooters Party, who put out a press release charmingly titled ‘SFF puts steak through vegan terrorists.’

While there was no talk of reinstating the millions of dollars cut from the RFS in this state, they did find time to wave through new laws to prevent exposure of animal cruelty (and other interruptions of corporate exploitation of our planet) with the support of the Shooters Party, who put out a press release charmingly titled ‘SFF puts steak through vegan terrorists.’

All this was largely kept off the front pages by the bushfires, as was a gallant attempt by one man in Canberra to draw attention to the plight of Australian citizen Julian Assange. Dressed in suit and tie, he managed to get past the machine guns and climb up to the tail of the emu in the coat of arms over parliament’s entrance with his ‘Free Assange’ banner, but it was to little avail.

Where the mainstream media is concerned, if it bleeds it leads, and if it burns it earns.

Unfortunately, as Naomi Klein explained in The Shock Doctrine, disasters of all kinds are great for governments with fascistic tendencies, even if they’re wholly or partially responsible.

PS: amidst the flames, smoke and stupidity, something wonderful happened this week. After seven years in detention on Manus Island for the non-crime of seeking asylum under Australia’s international human rights obligations, the award-winning Kurdish writer Behrouz Boochani has escaped the clutches of the Home Affairs Department, and is in New Zealand.

Proof that when enough people care, magic happens, and the pen is mightier than Peter Dutton.


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21 COMMENTS

  1. Everything’s is on fire, especially our politicians arses. In a physical sense, most of what can burn is about to…..if not this week then next week and next month. Millions of dollars have been cut by the Baird-Berejiklian government not just from the RFS, but in a stunning display of governance flying n the face of scientific warnings and logic, there has also been millions cut from NSW Fire and Rescue, while the greatest cuts of millions more – and 30% of on-ground and experienced staff have been cut from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Are they trying to run it all into the ground and cause a colossal failure then say “the model does work”? Our Deputy Premier John Barilaro has publicly stated “If I had my way there would be no NPWS”….wtf?

    As the Betoota satirists so aptly put it “now is not the time to talk about how we ignored warning this would happen for the past 40 years”. So they don’t talk about it now. Nor after massive coral bleaching events. Nor after any of the series of record floods. Nor after massive coastal erosion events wash houses into the sea. Ex-PM Howard did one thing right…. the day after Port Arthur he talked about the tragedy, the problem, the causes and the solution. While dickheads such as Barnaby Joystick complain about the Greens despite them never having been in power, nor opposing hazard reduction burns, and he can’t even get the terminology right! Using his logic, his own parents are negligent and lazy if their property is threatened by bushfire.

    Meanwhile they muzzle the media, accept millions from miners, change the laws to exempt mines, over allocate precious river flows and groundwater while farms no longer produce and species plumet towards extinction. The world has gone crazy. We are all f*cked!

  2. And so David began to write and he writes from the seat of his pants and strikes a low blow to Barnaby by choice?
    David, do yourself a favour, and don’t write home as this denigration of a great Australian of Barnaby Joice is nothing to write home about.

    • Emily at last a voice of reason. Barnaby is truly great. Who else had the courage to tell us last week that the fires were caused by magnetic waves from the sun?

    • Barnaby Joyce has been a dud from the start. When first elected to Parliament years ago, he said he wanted to see more people move to the country. At the time several regional centres like Goulburn had the highest level of water restrictions.

      Country people should dump him and the other ‘Nationals’. Let the ‘bonking beetroot’ try and make it in the real world.

  3. Barnaby is fast running out of excuses and reasons for all his stupid, offensive, prejudiced and blatantly incorrect blatherings. He can barely speak enough English to string a sentence together. Every time he opens his mouth he bumbles in his particular version of angry incomprehensible self-serving Joh-speak. He never retacts, or apologises or corrects the record, just blames some unrelated distraction, changes topic and starts again. What an embarrassing wanker! He must be in such a constant state of confusion, stress and anger he needs a full-time carer. Little wonder while he was the “Special Drought Envoy” he didn’t manage to write a single word about it. He should resign, get treatment and slither off into obscurity.

    Unfortunately it’s not only him. The whole LNP mob at state and Commonwealth level are lying heartless bullies who have presided over ecocide, racism, and the privatisation of every vital service a government should provide.

  4. Really Emily, a great Australian? He was hopeless as ag minister and hardly forgettable for his management of water. A hypocrite on preaching family values during the marriage equality debate. Did nothing as drought ambassador, does one need to say more except why do people vote for him when he achieves nothing except saying outrageous statements then trying to back peddle. Unfortunately you get what you vote for.

    • Rome was buring 2000 years ago Stefanie .
      They just got on with it , humanity survived!!
      Just ask extinction rebellion about the next
      Revolution , socialism is on the march all over
      The world !! Although cant remember a country
      Where it has been a success!!

      • Barrow, if you can’t remember any country where socialism has worked, what about Iceland.
        Every woman in the country went on strike for 3 days and got equal pay.
        When the global financial crisis was on, that country evicted all the banks and made their own. No more crisis. Iceland also has a system where ANYONE can make a suggestion to parliament on how to improve the country and everyone gets to vote on it. Isn’t that socialism? Unfortunately, we are only told by media what the powers that be, want us to know. Hence the crackdown on journalism and “making our internet safer”. What barrow are you really pushing? Negativity?

        • Everyone makes that suggestion at the polling booths at election time, that is not Socialism.
          Its democracy..” socialism is communism without the the enforcement “

  5. A great read David. Thoroughly concur. Just one bit of detail. They were 2 brand new fridges and 2 freezers given to Nimbin CWA who were feeding the firies. It was organised by Albo and donated by Woolworths. Albo Justine and Janelle all came to Nimbin Evac Centre at the Showground where I was, and Albo was good talking to everyone. Janelle has been awesome.

  6. My son was born into the world on the morning of 8-11 and that same evening forests around our home (in Huonbrook) were burning. His struggle to breath through the smoke, a reflection of nature’s struggle to continue, despite humanity. Our systems of governance and economics have perfected industrialised self-harm and are driving humanity to a precipice, yet until we stop voting for the same, we will only get more of the same. It is easy to blame everyone and everything else, but the change we want to see in the world, must begin with us.

  7. David, not being very scientifically literate, seems to ignore a few salient facts. For example that this political theatre is just a diversion away from the behind the scenes weather and climate manipulation that the military-industrial complex has been carrying out. It has nothing to do with stupid Barnaby. The climate has bene manipuylated by scientists since the 1920s!!
    Here WATCH THIS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyxmrwbTKoM

  8. Yeah but blaming anyone here is stupid because climate manipulation is happening on a world wide scale and has been happening since the 1920s. What is more interesting and something little David has not noticed is where these fires have been burning and who has been impacted. As someone who lost his home to a fire i am very interested and concerned about why a fire that was deliberately lit at Long Gully was allowed to sweep into Ewingar almost 50 kms away over a period of three to four days and then allowed to burn uncontrolled for three to four days. Can anyone answer that? I doubt it because living on the coast you really have no idea what living in a fire prone, increasingly arid Eucalyptus forest is like. You have no idea how heart breaking it has been for those of us who have watched our beautiful area turned into a semi arid shit hole by the actions of Forest corp. You really ave no idea because most of you live sheltered privileged middle class existences and think that the political system will one day deliver you a saviour. Fools. The game is rigged and the riggers do not even live in Australia. They are a cabal of soldiers, financiers and scientists , the ones Roosevelt warned about in his last speech and who are now running the planet, or more accurately ruining the planet. So why would a certain corridor of national parks and State forests here in NSW as well as California suddenly be burning catastrophically? What vested interests want that land? Or as deep throat once famously said, “follow the money’. here watch this, do not let the guys annoying voice divert your attention . just watch to see what has been planned for our state of NSW. https://www.facebook.com/Rob.D.64/videos/2548213691932359/?t=0

  9. Hopefully those in fire ravaged electorates will at last see the light a stop voting for idiot half wit climate change denialists, captive of the fossil fools, and vote for intelligent, informed people who will make the urgent changes to government policy needed to phase out fossil fuels.

  10. Emily, I suggest you check the track record of Barnaby Joyce. When he was in charge of biosecurity in Australia he cut the number of biosecurity personnel which had the consequence of a reduced number of inspections of imported food. Consequence the white spot disease now prevalent in native prawns up the coast. We have canned food now imported which contains (whoever knows what) without proper biosecurity checks at the source let alone when it arrives on our shores. Therefore to say Barnaby Joyce is great is totally wrong.he is just a total waste of space.

  11. Rome burning was – tongue-in-cheek. And there’s
    satire, & bloody stupidity everywhere. Get out of
    the 1920s & deal with the now. While you’re at it
    have the heart & sense to realize we have all
    been duped by the squillions of billions of hidden
    money that’s manipulating countries & markets.
    We-are-in-a-cross-fire. If Socialism is the support
    that’s needed in ‘the now’ of politics I agree with
    it whole heartedly because it’s all that’s left to
    quell the monster that’s been let loose on man &
    womankind. Yes, dangerous times ain’t pretty. I
    am Rebelling because this land needs protection
    … let that be understood. Pull your head out of
    the sand.

    • What ? So you are implying that Socialism is the
      Alternative to the Democracy and freedom we all
      Enjoy in this wonderful country stefanie ? quell
      The monster ?? What are u talking about , but do agree that money is power unfortunately always
      Will be !! Democracy has stood the test of time
      For thousands of years, what country in history
      Stefanie has been successful regarding socialism??

  12. What has Capitalism done other that support
    shock-jocks & a government selling this
    nation’s very soul… allowing banks to act
    like a band of thugs & get away with it.
    Creating laws [almost] daily to incriminate a
    population & removing the rights of free
    speech. Strip-searching is common . Abuse
    by police is now an every day event. There’s
    Union [working people] shut-downs. Tactics
    being used that even the Mafia would run
    from. Threats & more Nuclear Power deals
    plus Arms Selling to all the unsafe places.
    We’ve been bought & sold; the only thing
    that’s missing is the ‘Auction Block’. They’d
    throw us all on Manus Island if we weren’t
    good for taxing. Farmers are on their knees
    & I’m cutting it short because I refuse to get
    angry. The lands been kicked in the guts &
    we let it happen. I will not cop this sweet.
    We are better than that.

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