Government Ignoring Climate Emergency in Bushfire Escalation

10/11/2019

Queensland and New South Wales are experiencing more bushfires, forcing people to evacuate homes, straining emergency services, and destroying animals and habitats. Any rational and compassionate government would be doing everything in their power to help people who are struggling and work tirelessly to alleviate the conditions that spark such brutal blazes. Australia is lacking this basic expectation.

In a video from ABC News, a reporter asks Prime Minister Scott Morrison about climate change, which is known to be exacerbating many of the factors that have gone into increasing the ferocity of this year’s fires globally. Interestingly, as Morrison goes to “answer” the question, the ABC reporters in the studio talk over most of it, making what Morrison said incredibly difficult to hear. A sceptic might think that the ABC was trying to leave climate change and Morrison’s answers to such questions quiet.

But there was another, less intrusive but still as infuriating and pathetic interruption from NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian. If there was one sentence that summed up the Coalition’s approach to climate change, it would be what she said: “Honestly, not today.” Why not today, you witch? Climate change is an existential threat that affects you, everyone else alive today, and the future generations, so when is a good day to pop in and have a chat? I’ll leave it in my calendar, right after the day all Coalition politicians get a brain implant.

What you could hear of Morrison’s answer (I’m sure the full audio could be found somewhere, but I doubt it’s worth listening to) was his “solidarity” with firefighters. His voice seemed to break as he mentioned a story of firefighters saving others’ houses whilst their own burned down. Crocodile tears from the Coalition, I’m sure, as the NSW government cut the Fire and Rescue budget by $13M. The Prime Minister has also refused to meet up with Greg Mullins, former Fire and Rescue NSW head and a member of the Climate Council and Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, and others in relation to the connection between the fires and climate change.

At least three people have died, with more missing and a number of homes lost. Hundreds of koalas and large swathes of land have also fallen victim to the fires. Rather than cuts to emergency services, they need more funding. Instead of ignoring and dismissing the concerns of Unions and climate groups, discussion needs to be had over how climate change is worsening conditions. A great start would be to throw all the money used in fossil fuel subsidies into emergency services and green projects, but corporate donations and suppressing protests appear to be the methods of choice for our government.

We can all spare a thought for those devastated by the fires, and it is heartbreaking to hear that people have died as a result. But our government needs to be held accountable for their inaction and budget disasters, and climate change is a necessary topic for discussion. To do anything less is to allow this destruction of life to continue unhindered.

 

Liked this? Read Disaster Survivors Speak Up, another time Morrison ignored the people.

Previous piece: Ok Boomer: A Class Struggle

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