Australia is no longer the lucky country

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 am, January 6th, 2020 - 112 comments
Categories: australian politics, climate change, global warming, Media, Mining, science, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uncategorized - Tags:

This is a scene from Bladerunner 2049, a futuristic Science Fiction film.  The visual effect that the Director Denis Villeneuve wanted to create was to show that “[t]he climate has gone berserk — the ocean, the rain, the snow is all toxic”.  The scene looks like Sydney on any day over the past few weeks, or to show that Mother Nature does not respect countries’ boundaries, Auckland yesterday, or Dunedin or the South Island glaciers last week.

There have also been over the past few years significant dust storms in Australia.  Like the Eastern Australia Dust Storm in 2009 that affected Sydney.

And what is required for a big dust storm?  Extended drought, just like the Climate scientists have predicted would happen.

The political response has been interesting.  It is as if the right throughout the world use the same old tired excuses.

There was this lame video from Scotty from Marketing.

The video has been pilloried. Note the extended use of lame statistics and lists.

There was the “this is not the time to get political about this issue”.

Thoughts and prayers all round.

There is “we are only a small nation and only produce a small amount of pollution”.  Well Australia’s 0.2% of the world’s population produces 1.3% of the world’s emissions.  And if you factor in its coal and LPG exports the figure is 5%.

There has also been “it is all the Green’s fault” which is funny since the Greens have never held power in Australia, but they are apparently to blame because they are preventing the forests from being looked after.  This has been tried in America as well.

The claim has been rebutted by those that know.

The latest rumour is that it is a bunch of Extinction Rebellion activists committing arson.  As yet not one activist has been arrested but why let the complete lack of evidence get in the way of your dogma?

There is a great deal of anger in Australia.  The failure of Australian Political leadership is pronounced.  They could not even get the Navy quickly enough to crisis points and the effects of budget funding that the Rural Fire Service has had to endure are clear. And refusing to meet Fire Service leaders for months when they were trying to warn of the impending crisis is with the benefit of hindsight not a good look.

Imagine this crisis repeating itself more and more frequently into the future.  Because this is what we are facing.

So what do progressives do?

For a start we need to oppose every new coal mine.  There should be no new mines and existing mines have to be closed.  Which is why it is extraordinary that the Adani Mine in Queensland is proceeding, and, get this, signed off by the Labor Government in Queensland.

I said this earlier about the Adani mine.

The Adani mine shows everything that is wrong with Australian politics.  Put aside the fact that if completed it would release huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere as well as wreck the Great Barrier reef not to mention fragile local habitats it makes no economic sense whatsoever.  The price of coal is crashing.  No merchant bank would go near the project, it appears that even merchant banks have minimum ethical standards.

Adani claimed originally that 10,000 jobs would be created but this has subsequently been reduced to 1,468.  Spending billions to create so few jobs makes no sense.

It also had open rights to use artesian water, that commodity that will become more and more valuable in Australia.  It has been estimated that the mine would use 4.6 billion litres of water a year.  Consent was rushed through by the LNP three days before the election even though the report relied on had major faults.  From the Conversation thread linked to above:

Details leaked to the ABC showed the review actually found that Adani’s modelling was “not suitable to ensure the outcomes sought by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Protection Act are met” and that advice for the approval was rushed through in a single afternoon.  

The review found that the modelling was “not sufficiently robust”, over-predicting flows back into the aquifiers it was drawing on and using incorrect measurements for calibration.

The mine owner had also sought a billion dollar government loan to pay for the required rail infrastructure.  Thankfully the Queensland Labor Government has killed this off.

The project should be terminal and put to death. Instead of this it has arguably helped return an incompetent inhumane right wing Government back to power.

But the problem is that Australian politics is awash in coal money.  Gina Reinhart in particular will fund whoever can continue coal business as usual.

From the Guardian:

Advertisements spruiking the benefits of coal and mining were the biggest political expenditure by third-party groups in Australia last year, dwarfing public contributions from unions and GetUp, new data reveals.

The biggest political expenditure was $3.6m by ACA Low Emissions Technologies Ltd, which manages a fund established by the coal industry to invest in clean coal. Its largest outlay was on political ads to pay for a campaign called Coal – It’s an Amazing Thing.

The Minerals Council spent a further $1.3m, including the Making the Future Possible campaign which spruiks coal and prompted a backlash from BHP.

And coal money is all pervasive.  Again from the Guardian:

Australia’s richest person, mining magnate Gina Rinehart, has been revealed as a key funder of the rightwing thinktank the Institute of Public Affairs – a consistent promoter of climate science scepticism.

Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting, donated $2.3m to the IPA in 2016 and $2.2m in 2017, according to disclosures made to the New South Wales supreme court.

As part of a long-running legal dispute over the use of company funds, Rinehart’s daughter Bianca had served a subpoena to access documents that would have shed light on the two donations from Hancock Prospecting to the IPA.

The IPA has close ties to the Liberal party and IPA fellows regularly appear in the media. The payments suggest that more than a third of the IPA’s income in 2016 and 2017 was from Hancock Prospecting, the majority of which is owned privately by Rinehart.

On the subject of Coal Money we should not forget Clive Palmer’s $60 million spend on the last election which arguably gave the election to the Liberals.

We desperately need a media that is able to see through and pronounce the resulting propaganda as lies. But with Australia’s media dominated by a climate change denier you can see what the problem is. This passage from Enrique Dans in, of all places, Forbes Magazine, summarises the situation well.

Australians back strong environmental policies. But the powerful coal lobby in a country that is the leader in exports of this poisonous product, together with a media panorama led by climate change denier Rupert Murdoch plays down or simply ignores the situation, means no action has been taken: hence what we are seeing now. Scott Morrison, surely a candidate for the worst prime minister in the country’s history (and that’s a low bar) continued his vacation in Hawaii while his country was burning, and since returning home, has tried to play down the catastrophe, saying Australia has been through similar crises, but the evidence is against him, and now requires determined international action: if Australia continues like this, it is not just Australia that has a huge problem: the rest of the world does.

Australia is arguably no longer the lucky country.  And if it does not resolve its addiction to coal it may not have a future.

112 comments on “Australia is no longer the lucky country ”

  1. Ad 1

    Australia's energy production is heavily reliant on coal.

    India and China have energy production heavily reliant on Australian coal despite programmes to lessen it.

    There's no easy extraction from this.

    • weka 1.1

      Australia invented permaculture. The *only thing preventing powerdown is intention and will. That's a social and political problem, not an economic one.

      • Ad 1.1.1

        It's a social, economic, and political problem. Mickey's post has ample evidence of the tie between the three and how they are.

        Climate change response is also the hardest political problem Australia has had since the Vietnam war.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          Let me rephrase then. The block to effective action is social. Once that is solved we have the capacity to design political and economic solutions that both prevent the worst of CC and avert us falling into economic and political chaos. Not that those are easy, but I think we have plenty of people with the skills once the will is there.

        • RedLogix 1.1.1.2

          Agreed. There are a lot of kiwis here being altogether too smug by half over this crisis, Australia was always in a quite different position to NZ. If Oceania was an ancient, eroded continent we too would be burning a lot of coal for our domestic power needs.

          Yet we overlook the tremendous strides the Australians have made towards carbon zero. The Snowy Hydro scheme is in the process of a major upgrade, solar panels are ubiquitous here, they have wind farms on a scale that take the best part of an hour to drive past. They have pioneered solar-thermal stations and are in the process of commissioning a solar pumped hydro system in Queensland. And when it comes to water conservation, us Kiwis have nothing compared to the rainwater harvesting commonplace here.

          But (and there always is a but) … the numbers were always against them. Renewables are a fine thing, I have nothing against them … but with our foreseeable tech they cannot replace fossil carbon. Nowhere near. This leaves only one other option … the word that has all true Greenies frothing with outrage … nuclear.

          If we are to truly turn around the mass emissions from China (by far the largest and fastest growing), India, Indonesia and developing nations everywhere … there is only one prospect that will fill the gap in time … modern, fourth generation Molten Salt Reactors. These are a different creature to the current fission machines we have, with a totally different safety profile. Moreover they lend themselves to manufacturing modularity at a far lower cost.

          I've watched at least several hundred hours of YT video on them now; the only real barrier to their relatively fast introduction is political … the 'greenie' opposition they reflexively generate.

          • Ad 1.1.1.2.1

            The instructive New Zealand comparison is the Christchurch earthquake response.

            The most powerful (and fastest collective response came from private insurance policy – not public policy.

            In housing, energy supply, and most utilities, the limits to what public regulator action can do have long passed. The most important player in What's Next for Australia is Lantern.

            Lantern, and the price of water.

            That will drive where people resettle.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 1.1.1.2.2

            If "the only real barrier to their relatively fast introduction is political … the 'greenie' opposition they reflexively generate", then "modern, fourth generation Molten Salt Reactors" should be springing up like mushrooms in coal-reliant countries where 'greenies' have negligible political clout, i.e. in most countries, no?

            Or is it just that you can’t help having (another) go at those awful non-progressive, stick-in-the-molten-mud ‘greenies'?

            We’re all in this together, it’s just that some have more to lose than others.

            • RedLogix 1.1.1.2.2.1

              That's a decent argument … indeed I could point to a non-greenie country like China that has at least one active program. There are around 20 odd small companies in the developed world with just enough funding, science and technical resource to keep moving forward with a variety of programs. But constrained very much by the funding. A couple of them have mentioned countries like Indonesia and Phillipines as interested clients.

              All the videos I've seen that touch on the broader political landscape they have to operate in do mention an irrational and extreme anti-nuclear phobia that is now a commonplace everywhere. Yes there are risks, but MSR's are at least an order of magnitude safer than all the previous generations. If not more so.

              Most designs are explicitly working toward being 'walk away safe' … in other words no matter what the plant operators do, even just walking off site and leaving the machine to it's own devices, it would shut down safely and cleanly.

              • nukefacts

                This is the consistent delusion we see from older generations – Nuclear will save us!!! It seems based in an old world view that massive power plants are the only way to go. Also in this list of delusions, renewables can't provide enough power.

                Sorry, Nuclear won't save us. All these so-called 4th and 5th gen reactors exist on paper only, and are completely unproven. What's even less clear is their economics. Current reactor designs are hopelessly uneconomic – there is nowhere on earth that a private company will fund and build nuclear power unless state sponsored. They now take over a decade to build and are uninsurable.

                In contrast, contrary to the previous poster, renewables can provide enough power, take very little time to build, cost almost nothing to run (no fuel costs), and get cheaper every year. Just over the horizon is the ability to massively overbuild renewables and use the excess power to crack water into hydrogen. This can then be used for industrial processes currently using coal (e.g. steel manufacture), and run back through PEM membranes to generate power.

                • RedLogix

                  All these so-called 4th and 5th gen reactors exist on paper only, and are completely unproven.

                  Most of the new designs can point to the MSR machine that ORNL (Oak Ridge National Lab) ran for about 7 years in the 60's. The fundamental concept is well proven. Remarkably so.

                  All new engineering utilises sophisticated modelling; the physics of these machines is beyond all doubt. It’s optimising the practical designs and getting them licensed which is where all the work is at present.

                  Current reactor designs are hopelessly uneconomic – there is nowhere on earth that a private company will fund and build nuclear power unless state sponsored.

                  That's true. Which is why all the new MSR designs take a totally different approach that is dramatically cheaper. I urge you to do some research on the topic … these designs have little in common with the graphite/water moderated reactors you are familiar with.

                  Just over the horizon is the ability to massively overbuild renewables

                  A reality check:



                • pat

                  a decade to build would be lightening fast…by the time planning , design, approval etc is done 2 decades would be pushing it before a nuke generation plant produced any power….as evidenced by recent examples

                  • RedLogix

                    All the reference points from the current designs you are familiar with are not longer applicable. Cost and time included. Look on YT for names like Gordon McDowell, or Ed Pheil.

                    These machines are typically intended to be built in a factory and delivered as components. Decades not needed.

                    Still maybe we should draw this tangent to a close here … it’s getting OT.

                    • pat

                      "These machines are typically intended to be built in a factory and delivered as components. Decades not needed."

                      "Intended" is such a useful word….have you considered that if it was all so simple it would have happened? …apparently its not so simple.

      • mauī 1.1.2

        Permaculture was an idea thought about by two wonderful men who happened to be Australian. It was probably never going to take off in an environment of abundant resources and money.

        • weka 1.1.2.1

          true, and we may be about to hit crunch time when permaculture and allied practices start to be valued for what they truly are.

        • RedLogix 1.1.2.2

          My partner and I spent a wonderful day at Daylesford with Holgreen a few years back. Inspirational and impressive.

          Yet even he had to admit the lack of rainfall was hurting him … the place was noticeably short of it's potential.

    • Paul Campbell 1.2

      Australia has enormous reserves of empty desert, full of sunshine, the perfect place to build solar farms, along with modern battery technology they are uniquely placed to give fossil fuels the heave ho

  2. weka 2

    In the absence of political leadership and a sane and competent MSM, what are our options? (because it's not just Aus).

    It's up to the people now. The politicians will follow once there are enough people on the streets, literally but also metaphorically. We don't all have to be part of XR or SS4C, there are many things that we can all do.

    We're basically out of time now, not only because of the advance of CC, but because the fuckery about to be done to democracy via IT and extremely well funded propaganda companies is going to narrow the power of governments who will regulate around CC and MSM. By out of time I don't mean it's too late, I mean we have no time left to hope for the best, but rather we need to act.

  3. Molly 3

    This Guardian article from four years ago, shows that the Australian government does have the information needed to make effective – rather than politically expedient decisions.

    Climate change will hit Australia harder than rest of world, study shows

    Science agency the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology predict temperature rises of up to 5.1c in Australia by 2090 in their most comprehensive forecast yet.

    … The report stated there was “very high confidence” that temperatures would rise across Australia throughout the century, with the average annual temperature set to be up to 1.3C warmer in 2030 compared with the average experienced between 1986 and 2005.

    Temperature projections for the end of the century depend on how deeply, if at all, greenhouse gas emissions are cut. The world is tracking at the higher emissions scenario, meaning a temperature increase of between 2.8C and 5.1C in Australia by 2090.

    According to the report, this “business-as-usual” approach to burning fossil fuels is set to cook Australia more than the rest of the world, which will average a temperature increase of 2.6C to 4.8C by 2090…

    A quick google to find the original CSIRO report sends you to the Climate Change in Australia website, where the data and analysis methods are shown in some detail.

    However, for many, the matter of fact reporting of higher probability of drier days and higher temperatures that may or may not happen don't paint the full picture of what these will actually mean in regards to their country and their way of living.

    For those who have looked into the impact of climate change on human based systems and living, the issue of sea level change is bigger than for those who just decide to sell their beachfront properties because the value might decrease.

    The technical information needs clear sighted interpretation for those who don't have the knowledge or understanding to translate it into what it means in terms of the status quo, transition and the control over it to where we are all going next.

    • Ad 3.1

      Facts aren't the problem.

      • Incognito 3.1.1

        Morning, Ad.

        If you want your comments to appear in a timely fashion, it might help if you log in since Moderators are not always around to release your numerous comments held up in Moderation 😉

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          I think changing the login email even by one character would stop the comments going into the Mod filter. I comment from my phone without being logged in and just use a different email address.

          • Incognito 3.1.1.1.1

            Could be. I’m going by what MickySavage has said previously about what the ‘problem’ was but I’m happy to apologise to Ad and stand corrected. Ad’s comments do get stuck in the filter on a regular basis.

      • Molly 3.1.2

        Yes, that was my point. I should have been clearer.

        Family get together this year was the first time that climate change and what it meant as impacts on current living standards had been discussed. This is primarily due to the close relationship of NZ and Australia and the coverage of the bushfires, as well as the fact we have family living in Australia in the path of the fires.

        Even the weight of that discussion will be short lived I expect, as the ideas expressed vs the impact it will have on lifestyles of high consumption and travel will be incomprehensible to family members.

  4. weka 4

    2008: "should be observable by 2020"

    https://twitter.com/BenPennings/status/1213379733720715264

    That is one of the more challenging stats I've seen (at a time of alarming information almost daily).

    2008 also happens to to be the year that NZ voted out the Clark government that was gearing up to seriously address climate change.

    • Sabine 4.1

      2008 was also the year that NZ ignored the warning of Janette Fitzsimmons Leader of the Green Party who also ran for PM in the election.

      In the one debate (on Maori TV i think) that i watched then with the three Candidates she was the only one that made sense.

      H.C was don't rock the boat, J.K was aspirational thoughts and prayers, wage parity with OZ and don't become a tenant in our own country, and J.F and her talk about investing in public infrastructure, in public transport, in greening our environment in becoming the organic farm for the world was ignored.

      I guess we could say we voted and so did the Australians. And we all got what we deserved. And we are still getting it.

      • weka 4.1.1

        pretty much. We'll see if lefties/progressives/people concerned about climate change want to put their money where their mouth is this election.

        The Clark government was however actively working on climate change, as in the relevant government departments where doing the mahi. So even with don't rock the boat Clark we would have been far further along in terms of climate action. Otoh, maybe it was good to get Key and co through and out of the way. It's not like NZ was going to vote for 6 terms of Labour.

        • Sabine 4.1.1.1

          Well some got tax cuts, some got homeless, so i guess no harm done under the Key Years.

          From where i am standing there is very little difference between hte main parties. The only difference really is that National would cull us without a worry if they consider us surplus, while Labour will give some of us a heating allowance and thus can be seen as not culling us outright. At the end, neither one of them has any idea what to do should what happens in OZ come over here, and it will soon enough. In saying that, the Greens have no idea what to do about much either.

          It is up to the people, and sofar they are busy pulling their boats back home cause the holiday is over and now they must go back to work somewhere to pay of the credit card.

          One of the few things that could be done is the one thing no one does.

          How to use the defense forces in the case of a catastophe such as the fires in OZ.

          How to use the emergency services without killing them off.

          How to pay for hte volunteers that are on the job day in day out for weeks on end – see OZ and even loose unemployment benefits cause they are not applying for jobs. And what benefits are for the spouses of those that loose life or limbs? Are there any?

          How to house / school / provide medical aid to the refugees of the fires.

          How to deal with the respiratory illnesses that come with living under smog for weeks on end – see OZ.

          How to use civil contractors and their equipment to plow trenches, etc to make life a bit easier for the fire fighters.

          Essentially are we equipped in this Country to deal with a devastating fire?

          And rest assured Weka, that so far we have only ever been lucky. We are quite overdue for a big fire, and sofar the only reason nothing has really gone out of hand is because the rural teams throw everything they have at any scrub fire that raises is ugly red/yellow head. And remember we too are in a drought. Our soil too is loosing humidity at a frightening space, and we to pretend that its OK an its always been this way.

          At the end people will vote for those that say what they want to hear.

          • RedLogix 4.1.1.1.1

            Sadly one of the reasons why Australia has been reluctant to pay it's volunteer fireys is that human nature being what it is … it may well incentivise even more arson than is already the case. A non-trivial fraction of all the fires are intentionally lit by humans already.

            • Sabine 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Fuck it. Seriously fuck this bull shit excuse making for not paying people doing a job that needs to be done.

              and again and again and again. Fuck this. Also tell that to the widow with the toddler that got his dads medal and tell her that she can now apply for a benefit as a single women with child. I guess she should have made better choices and gotten herself married up to someone who is not a volunteer fire fighter.

              The reason volunteer firefighters are not paid is the same why our amublance drivers are not paid – cause WE DON"T WANT TO PAY THEM! cause tax cuts.

              there are so many jobs that need doing, and we could put people to work tomorrow, IF WE WOULD JUST BE OK PAYING THEM!

              • RedLogix

                I wasn't arguing they shouldn't be recompensed, but the issue isn't quite as straightforward as most people think it is.

                Where do you think I got this little gem of unhappy information? A long time RFS volunteer.

                There is also the question around a long standing volunteer culture, many of the fireys do make big sacrifices for their community and it’s a point of considerable pride and dedication for them. Reducing firefighting to just another ‘job’ is a step that needs some thought and care.

                Yet at the same time there is no doubt the extended fire season is stretching this model to breaking point and changes are going to happen.

                • Sabine

                  My Partner is a voluntary fire fighter, ready to run into your burning house, ready to die if need be in order to save your life.

                  Go think about that for a fucking moment if you can take one. And then realise that your comment is nothing else but cheap excuse making, slander and defamation of excellent men and women and other then that nothing but a load of bullshit.

                  And again, I advise you to go to the widows of the men that died, and you tell them that they can't have the benefits of the paid fire fighters cause we don't want to pay volunteers for the work they do and that it is ok for them to now be the worst thing a conservative can think of – namely women, single with children in need of a benefit or two because the bread winner just burned to a crisp in his over turned truck.

                  As for 'reducing' firefighter to just another job, It is a job. It needs doing. It demand an aweful lot of training, the beeper can go off at any time, and it is YOU who is demeaning the work they it by your fables of fire fighters that can't be paid lest they start the fires. Fuck that bullshit. Fuck it.

                  Whom else would you like to not pay cause some of them might commit a crime?

                  • RedLogix

                    Fable huh?

                    "It is also a disturbingly common crime, with estimates up to half the 54,000 bushfires that hit Australia on average each year are deliberately lit or suspicious."

                    I’ve made it clear that I believe the firey’s should be recompensed, I'm just pointing out that there were reasonable grounds to hesitate before taking this step. Understanding those reasons and coming up with good counter argument and a strategy is how you get results … I want them paid as much as you do.

                    • McFlock

                      Arson is one thing.

                      Arson by firefighters looking for income when they might well earn more in their day jobs is another thing entirely.

                      Arson by a fire-obsessed guy who becomes a firefighter while also lighting fires is not "incentivised" by a bit of compensation for literally ricsking their lives to save their community.

                    • RedLogix

                      @McFlock

                      As the links above demonstrate, arson caused by firefighting volunteers is an unhappy fact of life. What exact fraction of the 54,000 fires each year is unknown … it's not zero and given the nature of the crime it's unlikely anyone would have a solid number. This is the closest story I can find right now:

                      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-50400851

                      Would paying volunteers likely increase the rate of this crime significantly? Personally I'd guess not, but guesswork won't cut mustard in a Minister's office.

                    • McFlock

                      Yeah, nah.

                      Professional firefighters seem to be able to keep their arson to a minimum.

                    • Poission

                      Human starts aren’t just a California problem. Researchers who analyzed two decades of U.S. records found that, from 1992 to 2012, human activity was responsible for 84% of the wildfires and 44% of the area burned nationally.

                      The scientists also concluded that people have dramatically expanded the fire season — extending it by far more than a warming climate — because they start fires virtually year-round.

                      https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-01-05/human-caused-ignitions-spark-california-worst-wildfires

                    • Sabine

                      and doctors have killed people and nurses too, so let them work on a voluntary basis only, lest the pay be an incentive to kill someon.

                      cops have been known to kill people, so let them work on a voluntary basis only, lest the pay will be an incentive to kill someone.

                      builders have been building shoddy buildings that fall apart and kill people, so lets not pay them lest they take their pay as an incentive to kill somone.

                      I have absolutly no use for you Red. None what so ever. I just hope that no fire fighter – paid or unpaid – comes to harm when it is time to drag your sorry arse out of a burning building and save what its yours and yours. Cause that would be a precious fucking waste of life.

                      [It is perfectly understandable that emotions run high but could you please take it down a few notches with the personal stuff? Thank you – Incognito]

                    • Incognito []

                      See my Moderation note @ 1:54 PM.

                    • RedLogix

                      @McFlock

                      But the vast majority of people in the field are not full-time professionals. In rural areas there simply isn't the capacity have such a force on standby much of the year … hence volunteers. As this link shows, the professional/volunteer story is a bit more complex than you'd think.

                      I'd agree the rate of firefighter arson is relatively low, but it needs to be understood as one part of a bigger picture as to why the authorities were reluctant to go 'full professional' for the rural fight services. The 10,000's of people you are drawing in from all walks of life, guarantees that at least some of them will be firebugs.

                      What I think will happen is that the govt will extend more support to local employers for extended 'fire service' leave and similar measures for the self-employed.

                    • RedLogix

                      @Sabine

                      I've made my case based on first hand information provided in recent conversation by a long time Australian RFS volunteer. I've backed up my case with numerous links to reputable sources.

                      I've also made it plain that the ground has shifted, that the extended fire season has brought into question the traditional volunteer model and that some sort of recompense and/or support is both necessary and inevitable. You keep pretending that I am saying otherwise; and getting increasingly angry at something I am not saying. Odd.

                    • McFlock

                      Firebugs already volunteer. The juice for them is the fire, just like for other volunteers the juice is the community service.

                      There might be many good policy reasons to not pay volunteer firefighters. Fear that it would encourage people who are by definition motivated by something other than money is not a good reason.

                      The fact is that if they need to take three months off the work they do to service the mortgage on the house that might or might not have burned down, some manner of ensuring they don't lose their employment and basic family income is definitely in order, and will be needed more frequently in the future. Not just aus, but here too.

                  • Poission

                    Unnecessary callouts being one during a fireban.

                    Fire officers are furious that during days of high winds, which can fan fires, they had to attend a weekend callout in the Kauaeranga Valley, part of the Coromandel that has significant patches of dense native bush and pine forest.

                    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10362592

                • Exkiwiforces

                  Unfortunately Red is correct on this one, as there is culture over here in Australia that volunteering is that it is unpaid work whatever your job or hobby floats your boat and some do take this idea quite seriously both young and older members.

                  I'm an unpaid Vollie firie for my local Bushfires NT Brigade, where is if I was in the DoC's High Country Fire Team as I was in the 90's we got paid per call out once we were on the fire line or at our form up point from memory.

                  But this idea of unpaid volunteering such as a Rural Firefighter is now seriously challenged by the changing environment with CC, a declining volunteering force though an aging workforce as the snowflake/ scrabble generation won't to any sort of volunteering of any nature if they don't get a reward from it.

                  Bushfires NT is starting to understand this problem, the long term effects IRT CC and are seriously are looking at paying us, but this throws up a number of problems such as-

                  Professional Training and Development for members

                  Equipment issues from uniforms to trucks and depots (this is a major shit fight atm)

                  Most importantly funding, we are the only NT Government Dept to get an increase in funding of extra 33%, where else everyone got a freeze or cut to funding.

                  And lastly what happens to us War Veterans & those on Centrelink payments if we start getting an income from Bushfires NT? DVA will cut my entitlements, DVA pension etc and therefore I would have to resigned my position as the Tanker, Meduim Attk Truck driver/ Cdr because of the current laws/ rules from DVA etc

                  And there are probably others items to adds to this list .

                  • Sabine

                    And both of you have not understood a single thing.

                    They should be paid, because you don't fight a fire for month on end now and are considered a 'volly'. That is now a full time job and should be paid as such.

                    Volunteers have died, and if the spouses are lucky they get exactly what the spouses would get here, a medal for the kids to have instead of dad or mum and trip to Winz to apply for benefits. You know, the single mother with children job seeker benefit, and they better behave well lest they get called 'bludgers' by the conservatives and their water carriers.

                    When one is on hte job, like the guys in OZ currently they are not 'volunteering' to make up the lack of government funds that would allow for hiring more full time paid fire fighters, they are unpaid full time firefighters with no benefits what so ever. And they – all of hte vollies in OZ that have been fighting these fires now – should not have to worry about having their benefits cut, or loosing hteir jobs cause they are trying to save the god damned country, they should be paid full time, plus haz pay, plus overtime and all that jazz.

                    And non of the reasons you and the other poster bring up will change anything of the fact that the men that died, were not paid, will receive no benefits, and their spouses and children are no not only in a world of sorrow because they lost husbands, fathers, but because they also would have lost their main source of income. Just in case anyone actually cared about that. Fuck, if they had life insurance will that even pay out, cause ….volly, in a danger zone, brought it upon himself etc eetc etc.

                    • Exkiwiforces

                      I think you don't understand the volunteer culture here in Oz, or you didn't read my post probably about the issues facing us within Bushfires NT atm.

                      Yes it took me a while to get use at no getting paid for my efforts as Bush Firefighter compared to when i was in the DoC High Country Fire Team.

                      Bushfire fighting isn't all beer & skittles either and last fire season just gone up here, I think being on a two range is a lot safer than try to fight a bushfire with the current shit fight we with Bushfires NT (see above) and pulling a 150hrs duty time on one call time this season gone isn't fun either.

                    • Sabine

                      @Exkiwiforces

                      again, you miss completly my point.

                      These guys CURRENTLY fighting the fires, the guys that have been on the job for weeks now SHOULD get paid, because they are DOING the work of FIREFIGHTERs.

                      Vollies – rural here or in NZ – are vollies not so much for the beers and bbq but mainly to keep their rural towns, villages, farms etc save. And that works for the most part, over there and here.

                      But when you have a fire of that magnitude, and you ask for the Rural Vollies to give up their life – figuratively and literally – then you recompensate for any losses, you make sure they are paid for hte job.

                      As for you 150 hours duty on time, that is done in AKL over holidays.

                      Guess how is on call over Christmas and New Years for 8 days in a row 24 hours, the vollies. In the meantime the Fire Department saves an awful lot of money on not paying extra pay for being on call on Christmas Eve, New Years day. And again, that only means that the Fire Department is undermining work law by using 'unpaid' volunteers. (but hey, you get a bottle of wine – that you can give to the kids so they shut up asking for Daddy / Mummy on Christmas Day right?) Who should not be used other then an emergency and even then only to support the paid crews. And that is not what is happening in OZ.

                    • Exkiwiforces

                      I'm actually on the working group that is looking at paying us for every fire we attend, as the very nature of how we operate is now outdated and the powers at be up here in the NT are now realising this from last fire season and is further ram home by what is happening down Sth.

                      Yes we should paid for fighting fires as the very nature of the environment has changed due CC, but some of the morons down from sides of the fence can't get their head around in what's happening and the very fact the paying the vollie firey's affront to the very meaning, ethos of being a volunteer in Oz. At least we in Bushfires NT are now addressing the problem before its too late, but time is slowly running and the law of averages will catch up with us sooner or later especially last fire season where we were too bloody close for comfit. Or as the Duke of Wellington said after the Battle of Waterloo "It was a close run thing" last fire season.

                    • Sacha

                      both of you have not understood a single thing.

                      again, you miss completly my point.

                      When you keep running into problems being understood, take a breath and look in the mirror.

            • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.1.1.1.1.2

              " A non-trivial fraction of all the fires are intentionally lit by humans already. "

              Yeah, right.

              In Victoria, where about 1.2 million hectares has burned, only 385 hectares — or 0.03 per cent — have been attributed to suspicious circumstances.

              • RedLogix

                Both statements are true; historically arson has always been a significant concern in terms of the number of fires lit. Fortunately this season most of them (24 known arrests so far) were close enough to roads and towns that they've been spotted and extinguished early; before they could go on to become dangerous. That's a tribute to how effective the modern RFS has become.

                It's in the remote backcountry where lightening is starting fires that are very difficult to spot and reach early, is where the terrible conditions are letting them build to megafires. I have no quibble with your link.

                I had the chance to talk with my ex-RFS acquaintance again; he explained that when the local rural fire brigades were first formed in the late 1800's they were independent, remote, isolated organisations. The people involved were from small, conservative and tightly knit communities. For a start there was never the money available to pay anyone. But equally it was important to these local volunteers that they should be seen to be entirely above suspicion, that there should be no conflict of interest with payment to fight fires. Firefighter arson, while rare, was seen as a major threat to their reputation and support in the community.

                It was only in the late 1990's that all of these small organisations were finally brought into state wide organisations, and much of the volunteer ethos remains with them to this day.

                Having said all this … everyone accepts that the world is regrettably changing and that increased compensation and professionalism is inevitable.

          • weka 4.1.1.1.2

            "From where i am standing there is very little difference between hte main parties."

            I will say it again. In 2008 the Clark government was actively preparing for climate change. The incoming Key government largely stopped that.

            • Sabine 4.1.1.1.2.1

              no, in 2008 the Clark government was happy to pay lipservice and other wise do nothing much.

              We have known since the 80s at the very least that we need to change. 2008 was thirty years to late.

              Now its past redemption point, and we are still discussing if we can get electric cars, you know, just so that we can pretend we are 'green' and 'environmentally friendly' and above all don't have to give up comforts that we have grown so fond of. Like driving armored vehicle type SUV with boats hundreds of kilometers across country to have some livestyle.

              And our current government is doing exactly this. Nice words, lots of self congratulations for the nice words, and well….done.

              • weka

                "Now its past redemption point, and we are still discussing if we can get electric cars,"

                Speak for yourself Sabine.

                As for redemption or not, one thing for sure that is also a problem at the moment is framing and messages that it's too late. Highly motivated people like you and me will continue to act, but people who have less motivation and are presented with the option of a drop in standard of living or lifestyle for little or no effect are hardly likely to do the right thing.

                • Sabine

                  i don't speak for myself, as i have powered down some time ago. And i live to tell the tale.

                  And we on more then one occasion have discussed the use of electric cars here as a 'greener' solution, all the while in Bolivia they are having their environment ruined to produce the batteries that we would need for all of the sexy new electric cars. Which is exactly the wrong thing to do. But hey, we are not discussing the guys in Parliament all take a train. We are not discussing making any and all public transport free of charge for all – not means testest – but for anyone who would use a train,bus, tram rather then their own car.

                  What we are still spending a huge amount of time on is :How can I keep my lifestyle in a world that is burning', rather then how can we save our lifes in a world that is burning.

                  btw, Jakarta has had some huge floods, while OZ is burning, the weather is unseasonally warm in Norway – 2+ degrees and humid 🙂 in January, and so on. See here https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/jan/01/world-ends-2019-with-bushfires-and-unseasonal-temperature-highs

                  OZ is just a glimpse into our future. Maybe we really should take of ideological blinders and start demanding better. And if we don't get better ruthlessly cull those empty suits who find reasons to tell us why they can't do better and only keep those that give us reasons as to why we can do better?

                  • weka

                    the irony here is that you are spending all this time talking about what can't done.

                    • Sabine

                      oh i do.

                      free public transport for all – its not me who says it can't be done

                      no more then one vehicle per family

                      all new builds with double glazing, heat / cold insulation, grey water recycling,

                      no water permits for water companies

                      restricting the use of recreational fossil fuel driven toys on our water ways

                      re-establishing of nature areas that are free of recreational use

                      planting natives – a billion of them. Not just some mere 20 % when all other trees planted for the nice photo op are nothing more then a bunch of radiata that is gonna get clear logged in ten years.

                    • weka []

                      everyone has ideas about what should be done (and I agree with most of what you propose). That’s not the same as what can be done. Show me how any of your ideas can be achieved politically, including without the Greens in government. If you can’t say how these things can be achieved, then they’re just another set of reckons on the internet.

                      The Greens don’t have a magic wand, and neither do you.

              • weka

                The Ministry for the Environment (2008) report included a large amount of guidance material on how regional government might interpret and apply the climate projections (Chapters 4 and 5), undertake risk assessments (Chapter 6), and incorporate the projections into planning decisions (Chapter 7). We consider this material to be excellent guidance, and still completely relevant to the new projections. Therefore,it is not included Climate Change Projections for New Zealand: Atmosphere projections based on simulations form the IPCC Fifth Assessment21in the current report, but should be referred to by regional government for all the issues mentioned above.

                quoted in Climate Change Projections for New Zealand (2018) (PDF)

                The 2008 report Climate change effects and impacts assessment A Guidance Manual for Local Government in New Zealand – 2nd Edition (PDF)

              • Siobhan

                For a sign of where Clark was/is at, its always interesting to read her opening address to the New Zealand-Australia Climate Change Conference..

                She praises the efforts of BP and Du Pont.. repeatedly mentions 'Business opportunity' and 'seizing the opportunity' .. a general ra-ra over the joys of "The age of the carbon economy [being] upon us" and closes with.."I wish you well as you get on with making the most of this opportunity.". Opportunity in all cases being "The Premature End of Life as We Know It"

                I am still to be convinced that any Market driven/ business driven//Capitalist plan will save the planet..I mean that unholy blend can't even manage to house all our citizens…but I would love to be proved wrong..

                https://www.beehive.govt.nz/speech/helen-clark-addresses-new-zealand-australia-climate-change-conference

                • weka

                  No-one thinks Clark was going to save the planet. The point is that there was a difference between the outgoing Clark government and in the incoming Key one with regards to CC.

        • PhilA 4.1.1.2

          And just whom should "lefties/progressives/people concerned about climate change" vote for? I've always (party) voted for the greens but I wont at the next election.

          The pathetic 'climate change' legislation passed by the current government barely qualifies as green wash. It doesn't meet the Paris 2C target requirements let alone the 1.5C ones which require a (global) 7% per anum reduction in green house gas emissions starting this year, and that (if I remember correctly) only gives something like a 60% chance of success.

          No political party in New Zealand (that I know of) comes close to taking the actions necessary to prevent climate chaos and the consequent likely destruction of our civilisation. I wonder how long it will be before the forests and plantations of North Island are burning?

          • Psycho Milt 4.1.1.2.1

            So, the Greens can't get proper climate change legislation through Parliament because not enough people voted for them, and your response to that is to not vote for them? I keep seeing this thinking expressed, but it seems profoundly illogical.

            • weka 4.1.1.2.1.1

              heh, succincter than I as always.

              I also struggle with the logic, but then experienced political commentators like Idiot/Savant have been slamming the Greens for not doing enough.

            • Sabine 4.1.1.2.1.2

              Enough people voted fro them to get to Government, and we still get no Gummi bears.

              Its very logical for people who voted for the Greens to ask nay, make that demand that they get better then what the current brigade of beige empty suits is delivering.

              • Enough people voted for them to get them 8 MPs out of a parliament of 120 MPs. No doubt someone of your own superhuman capabilities would have had no trouble in using that 6% of the vote to obtain complete legislative domination of the House, but it appears that the Green Party's MPs are mere mortals. Perhaps you should stand for office yourself? The problem would thereby be easily solved.

            • PhilA 4.1.1.2.1.3

              Psycho, what evidence do you have that the greens even tried to get legislation that meets what the physics of the situation demands?

              All I can see is James Shaw and others spouting off about how great the legislation they got through is, apparently without any knowledge of the reality of the situation.

              • I don't think the failure of a party with 8 MPs to push through its agenda unchanged in a Parliament of 120 MPs is something that really needs a great deal of explanation, but maybe I'm just wildly over-estimating other people's intelligence.

          • weka 4.1.1.2.2

            How do you think government works? The Greens have 8 MPs out of 63 and they are the party in government with the least amount of power after Labour then NZF. Labour and NZF both have relatively conservative policy platforms on CC, the Greens have a very progressive one.

            The choices that Shaw had with the Zero Carbon Act were 1) no major legislation or 2) major legislation that was acceptable to Labour and NZF.

            The upshot of all that is,

            1. the Greens are not the ones holding NZ back from effective climate action
            2. the Greens are the only party in parliament with both the commitment and plan to take meaningful climate action
            3. the only way the Greens will be able to do that is by having substantially more MPs
            4. the only way that will happen is if people party vote for the Greens
            5. voting Labour or not voting will lessen climate action by the NZ government

            Can't make it more clearer than that.

            https://www.greens.org.nz/climate_change_policy

            https://www.greens.org.nz/reducing_our_climate_emissions

            https://www.greens.org.nz/climate_protection

            • Sabine 4.1.1.2.2.1

              actually that is the best reason why we can stop voting for the Greens.

              a. vote for us so we are in government and can change things.

              b. got voted into governemt
              c. sorry you did not vote enough for us to get perks for life so we still get nothing done, next time please vote harder. Yeah, right Tui.

              • weka

                So you don't understand how government works, even when it is explained to you. Or how voting works either apparently.

                Carry on with your fatalistic narrative Sabine, I'm sure it serves a purpose. But I can't see how this is relevant political analysis.

                • Sabine

                  Oh boy, oh i get how government works. And so do many other people i n this country and they all seem to give up on voting. (Go figure)

                  The Greens need to start realising that they are in government, thus they are responsible for the stuff that gets done but also for the stuff that does not get done. The Greens can't have it on booth sides, either they are ineffective because they are not in government or they are ineffective because they are in government but not in great enough numbers. That does not work.

                  You might see the things they did as great, and that is fair, as it is fair for me to see the current lot in parliament as the most inconsequential bunch of people ever that at the end of the day will have achieved absolutly nothing much.

                  • weka

                    Sabine, you don't even seem to be able to tell the difference between what I'm commenting on and what you are (or maybe you don't care?). I'm not talking about my assessment of how the Greens have done, I'm pointing out the logistics of MMP and power.

                    Me: MMP governments work in specific ways, and different parties in the coalition have different degrees of power and thus ability to effect change and control what happens.

                    Sabine: Small parties in coalition can control what the government does and if those small parties don't get things their way it's because they're useless or not trying hard enough.

                    The Greens can't have it on booth sides, either they are ineffective because they are not in government or they are ineffective because they are in government but not in great enough numbers. That does not work.

                    It's beyond me how you cannot see that if they had more MPs than Labour they would have more power to achieve their policies. Really, this is not a difficult concept. And consequently, to get more MPs, they have to have more votes.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Can I join the fray"

                    Sabine says: "

                    "Oh boy, oh i get how government works. And so do many other people in this country and they all seem to give up on voting. (Go figure)"

                    What I don't get, Sabine, is why, if you have given up on voting like so many others, you bother to comment here, on a political blog that generally supports one or more of those parties you have no faith in? Are you intending to attract us all into the non-voting block you support? Are you hoping to shame us into understanding the wisdom of distrusting every political party and even politics itself? You confuse.

                    • Sabine

                      why on earth would you believe that i don't vote.

                      In fact i voted for the Greens in the last election. I voted Labour, and in Europe were available i voted either green, social or socialists.

                      Not liking the suits that we pay good money to deliver little and in fact to spend most of their tenures thinking and working towards re-election does not equal not voting.

                      and i plan to vote in the next election.

                      last but least, every empty suit in parliament has the right to abstain, or heck not even show up, but people don't have the right to not vote? You know what would do good in our selection of representatives, the Option of "Non of the above'. But i get it, why actually try to appeal to the voters who have chosen to 'abstain'….that would be hard work and that is something our suits are not cut out for.

                      But never mind, carry on nurturing your biases.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Logic. They are like you, you are like them.

                      "Oh boy, oh i get how government works. And so do many other people i n this country and they all seem to give up on voting."

                      Of course, it's not certain that you eschew voting, which is why I said "if" you have given up…

                      Seems you haven't, despite your intense criticism of how The Greens have managed their role, in the face of comments from other thoughtful commenters here.

                    • Sabine

                      Robert, you more then anyone else here should know that 'giving up ' is not an option, and you should know just how bad this planet is doing, how bad this creeping drought is going to be that we are experiencing here an so forth. I don't inted to give up on voting, but i do not participate in peoples worship – especially people who are not worthy of such a thing, and i don't consider any of our suits worthy of deification, and i do not participate in party worship – I am to fucking german for that to be honest.

                      I will vote for the least worse of the pack and fwiw, my last vote was dedicated to Metiria Turei for her honesty and openess.

                      This next election i will probably vote for Legalise Aotearoa as they are in my book the only ones that actually have a platform that will fix a few things if they could get a chance. – Our double standard in criminal justice – create some jobs – create some tax revenue (we are gonna need that one) – and to promote some healing in communities were a criminal lifestyle and be turned into a legal one.

                      Again, i would never assume someone to vote or not to vote, in fact, it is not even my business to know.

                      But the current lot running this planet are not the ones to save it, they are not even trying.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      RedLogix said: "

                      4.1.1.2.2.2

                      6 January 2020 at 3:10 pm

                      Indeed Shaw has done an exemplary job with the numbers he was dealt with. Certainly the NZ Greens seem to have learnt from the fiasco the Australian Greens created when they refused to support Kevin Rudd's carbon pricing legislation because 'it wasn't good enough'"

                      Do you regard that as "deification", Sabine? And from his comment, do you feel that your comment that Shaw is "not even trying" is fair?

                    • Sabine

                      @Robert Guyton…

                      11 January 2020 at 5:28 pm

                      You can fete what you consider 'achievements' of the Greens that is your right as is my right to consider their 'achievments' nothing more then a bunch of new meaningless blahblahblah while the world burns.

                      this is both our right, after all this is still a democracy?

                      However, rest assured that I will not vote for the greens this time around, i will leave that to the faithful – faith being one of the things that i have run out of a while ago.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      As you wish.
                      You voted Green last time but now that they are in Government and have achieved a measure of success (and haven’t blown their opportunity as so many smaller parties in the same position have done) you won’t vote for them at the next election…yet you will vote. Confused much.

            • RedLogix 4.1.1.2.2.2

              Indeed Shaw has done an exemplary job with the numbers he was dealt with. Certainly the NZ Greens seem to have learnt from the fiasco the Australian Greens created when they refused to support Kevin Rudd's carbon pricing legislation because 'it wasn't good enough'. The sequence of consequences that flowed from that mistake was to open the door to a decade of dysfunction … 5 Prime Ministers in 10 years … none of whom have seen out a full term.

              And to be crystal clear; I'm not 'having a go' at the Greens. They've had my vote 5 of the last 6 elections and still get a small regular donation from me. But they aren't above all criticism either.

            • PhilA 4.1.1.2.2.3

              Weka, your statements are utter bullshit. The greens had the backing of the more than 3.5% of the polulation who turned out to protest in September 2019. They had clear statements of what action is required in recent UN reports.

              If the majority of the governing coalition prevented the legislation from taking meaningful action, then the greens should have left the government and explained to everyone why they had sone so.

              There is no compromise with physics. We either take meaningful action or, as the people of Australia are finding out, we lose control of the situation.

              • weka

                talk me through this then. If the Greens had stayed out of a Confidence and Supply agreement with Labour, who would have formed government and how would that have been better than what we have now in climate action terms?

              • Sacha

                The greens had the backing of the more than 3.5% of the polulation who turned out to protest

                Too many of that 3.5% do not vote.

                Do you really believe that most voters would reward a minor party for bringing down a government?

  5. dv 5

    AND budget cuts will not have helped.

    https://exhalantblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/03/a-standout-example-of-right-wing-truth-inversion-debating-responsibility-for-the-australian-bushfires/

    Under the 2019-20 NSW State Budget, Fire and Rescue had its capital expenditure budget cut by $28.5 million or 35 per cent.

    The Rural Fire Service has its capital expenditure budget cut by $49.9 million or 75 per cent.

  6. Ad 6

    If the NZ government wants to generate the biggest blowback of all time, it should give the Australian government advice about climate change.

    Or worse, the relationship between climate change and bushfires.

    We deliberately burnt down most of our forest just over a century ago.

    • pat 6.1

      "We deliberately burnt down most of our forest just over a century ago."

      Que?

    • weka 6.2

      yep. NZ cannot afford to be complacent and yet we are. Our fire problems are just a decade behind Australia's (if we are lucky). At the moment we have a government funding mass, block planting of highly flammable tree species, and almost no-one apart from the dreaded farmers is talking about the implications of tenure review land now building up a shitload of flammable scrub species.

      • Robert Guyton 6.2.1

        weka – are you suggesting that, despite the desperate need to reforest the planet, nothing should be planted until the stocks of fire-proof trees is big enough (never)?

        • weka 6.2.1.1

          not at all. I'm suggesting that instead of seeing tree planting as an opportunity keep planting plantation pine and eucalyptus in the same ways we have in the past and for primarily economic reasons, we could design reforestation to include increasing fire risk over the next 200 years and shift our focus to producing what we need rather than making money.

          Propagation isn't so hard, we could be doing that already. As well as commercial quantities, train communities to produce seedlings and saplings. A nursery in every neighbourhood. I'm preaching to the converted here of course 🙂

          Certainly people could stop planting flammable trees near houses and infrastructure (eg mānuka and tussocks, but also pine and euc) and plant non-flammable species instead. We might also want to rethinking urban design and subdivisions to take fire risk into account.

          Spend the next decade planning and implementing how to replace flammables too.

  7. Exkiwiforces 7

    Mickey,

    I take umbrage at this comment, They could not even get the Navy quickly enough to crisis points.

    First of all its Xmas stand down until today or next Monday where 90% of all permanent ADF are on or on posting to their next location and some places aren’t just down the rd like in NZ.

    Those on posting aren’t on strength from their previous unit, Ship or SQN nor are they on strength for their next unit etc either.

    The Landing Suppot Dock, was on standby for HADR ie 5- 7 days notice to move for the Nth Cyclone Season the other ship is Naval ship run by civilians. This also goes for the air assets from the RAAF, FAA and Army Aviation.

    Getting the Landing Helicopter LHD away is no mean feat by any imagination, first calling back all crew ( probably also grab crew from the other LHD), organising stores from ready use warehouses and then getting them alongside, systems checks on broad, loading the ship correctly and adapt to any short notice changes.

    All this may appear slow to the those out of the military, but is mobilisation of Ships, Aircraft and manpower was pretty quick by any standards by drawing on those assets assigned to HADR standby.

    Jandals is sending a 1/3 of NH90’s, which leaves 5 at home, 1or 2 C-130’s and Engineer Troop for duty in SA. These NZDF assets have come from the Ready Standby Forces for the Nth Cyclone Season and HADR duties within NZ. This force deployment is quite sizeable Force for a small regular force from NZ, when one considers the run down state of both Regular and Territorial Forces since the 90’s which doesn’t leave much fat or meat if another HADR operation pops up or something worst.

    Unfortunately there are some Greens, sea changes, some Councils and inner urban muppets, who don’t want anything burnt be it fuel reduction burning etc or anything to do with passive fire defences regardless of what members of the First Nations did prior to the White fella turning up.

  8. RedLogix 9

    Tides are turning. Julie Bishop is a highly respected Liberal with decades of high level experience:

    “Australia is a highly developed country. We should be showing leadership on the issue of climate change,” said Ms Bishop.

    “I attended a number of international conferences, and countries do look to Australia for direction, for guidance, for leadership. And I believe we should be showing leadership on the issue of climate change.

    “At the international conferences, Australia should be putting forward a cogent, coherent case for an energy policy. We don’t have a national energy policy in this country and a national approach to climate change, so we are part of a global effort.

    “If a country like Australia fails to show leadership, we can hardly blame other nations for not likewise showing leadership in this area.”

    Far from leading the rest of the world on climate change, Australia has been accused of dragging its feet.

    https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/julie-bishop-calls-for-australia-to-show-leadership-on-climate-change-in-wake-of-the-bushfire-crisis/news-story/f1c9882d602b63fa5c28ddc498b1cd56

    • Ad 9.1

      I see a Royal Commission as likely.

      But don't expect it to slide from bush fires to energy policy.

      I can imagine a Terms Of Reference that for example looks at:

      – Fire services integration and full professionalisation, directed at a Federal level. We might even have the temerity to assist them with that one since we did it last year. Maybe even full federalization of the service.

      – Powers to enable states to accelerate abandoning small towns and villages – either in the forested areas or on the long-term drought areas – with handsome compensation to help it happen

      – Signals to the insurance industry that there won't be any state top-up or in-kind subsidy such as road or utility rebuilds in the most damaged areas

      – Maybe revisiting the powers of the Darling River Authority, to re-price allocations, and further accelerate depopulation and more strongly encourage low water-use agriculture.maybe they can’t grow pears and rice anymore in that entire catchment.

      – With the net effect that far more Australians move to the main coastal cities, and let the remainder of the Darling-Murray and Flinders Ranges just revert to what they need to.

      I don't think any of that would require the current government to walk back its approach to coal – which it never will for reasons Mickey describes above.

    • Koff 9.2

      The tide may very well have turned for Julie Bishop,but tbh she did SFA about climate change when she was part of the government. She has the luxury of not having Rupert Murdoch and the fossil fuel industry breathing down her neck now. Some scathing comments made about Turnbull and Bishop's recent 'tide change' in the Sydney Morning Herald. Think that Kevin Rudd's comments reported in the Guardian (Oz edition) are more on the money

  9. Siobhan 10

    It is still very much 'the lucky country' as Donald Horne described it.

    "Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second rate people who share its luck. It lives on other people's ideas, and, although its ordinary people are adaptable, most of its leaders (in all fields) so lack curiosity about the events that surround them that they are often taken by surprise."

    Sure, Scotty from Marketing is probably gone…but I wouldn't rule out his Party getting in again, certainly on a local Government level, and the Sirs and the Right Honorable's and the Masters of the Universe that make money from Australian resources..well, its not like they have to live there..

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-21/australias-rich-keep-getting-richer/10731700

  10. Sabine 11

    It will be interesting to see what Australia is gonna do with thousands upon thousands of people that have lost everything, have nothing to go back to, are saddled with mortgages in places that don't exist anymore, have lost their jobs – all burned down and so on and so on.

    We are not hearing much of that.

    its nice to say that they provided 20 million to provide 4 more air tankers, but heck, they lost some 2000 homes (that is the number that they give) hundreds of businesses and other structures, and i guess we can assume that this is lowballing the numbers.

    It will be very interesting to see how they will handle that part.

    Equally how will they handle people being ill from the smoke, the exposure to the fire etc.

    One hopes that our government is paying attention and taking notes.

  11. Sacha 12

    Kevin Rudd not holding back: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/06/the-government-response-to-the-bushfire-crisis-has-been-evasive-tepid-tone-deaf-and-above-all-too-late

    So in the midst of all this, what can be said that’s in any way productive for the future?

    ​​First, the feds should be taking their marching orders from the state fire chiefs each day.

    Fifth, what more warning does Australia need on the absolute imperative of accelerated action on climate change? Not enough it seems for Scott Morrison, who says there will be no change in policy whatsoever. Nor for the high priest of climate change denial himself, Tony Abbott.

    Indeed, in the midst of the fires, there was Abbott on Israeli radio telling a global audience the real problem for Australia was that we had been taken over by a “climate change cult”!

    Abbott! He who famously proclaimed climate change was “absolute crap”. The political opportunist who stopped my government imposing a carbon price by toppling Malcolm Turnbull and revoking the deal we’d struck to pass it.

    • tc 12.1

      Rudd's labor could've made history with CC if he'd had the humility and pragmatism required but he's no Hawke/Keating.

      He left the door open for murdochs mob with his childish egocentric moves and hobbled Gillard in the process instead of backing her.

      Do us all a favour and STFU Kev.

      • RedLogix 12.1.1

        You may well be right about Rudd's lack of humility, but then again for those closer to the story it's more complex than that.

  12. Koff 13

    Good article written by Frank Bainimarama (Fiji's PM) in the Guardian. Bainimarama is one of the very few world leaders (only one?) who has so far made any link between climate change and the Aussie fires.

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