The intensity and prolonged fire crisis here in Australia has brought about a few added dramas, starting with what I believe to be an inept and inadequate response from our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. Our leader seems to be oblivious to what is required in a leadership role, which is mainly to lead. When the country one leads is in a crisis going on a holiday is a no brainer in what not to do. Many of his followers cried foul at how Morrison was chastised by the media and the public claiming that ‘Scotty from marketing’ (Scomo’s new moniker) didn’t start the fires. No one blamed him for starting the fires but he holds some responsibility and accountability for the outcome. Just because you like a politician or follow a particular political party doesn’t mean that they’re infallible or can do no wrong. Seven prime ministers in a decade are proof of that.
The intensity and length of the fires have brought the climate change debate to the forefront of public and media discussion. The Australian fire crises came from a mixture of events that the Rural Fire Service (RFS) saw coming and attempted to warn our leaders about early in 2019. Prevention is always better than cure. Our government for years has dismissed RFS warnings. Action could have been taken pre-crisis that might not have prevented the fires but might have helped to diminish the devastation which has occurred. We have suffered an eight-year drought that’s still going. Back-burning laws were changed and became restricted in that time. Even Aboriginal communities knew of the importance of back-burning to help control with the usual bushfire season. Land clearing laws also changed with numerous different permits involved. Just removing a dead stump off one’s own land has become a bureaucratic nightmare. Australia is a dangerous powder keg covered in combustible fuel and the RFS knows this.
If our government had listened to the experts the current fire crisis we are still suffering and will continue to suffer, for the bushfire season has just begun, would not have caused such huge devastation. The devastation of not only the loss of human life, homes, livelihoods and the unfortunate extremely high animal mortality count but the devastation that causes ongoing repercussions. The high loss of agriculture affects our food supply and export industries. Our air has been so affected by thick smoke it has caused numerous health issues. Tourism (a massive contribution to Australia’s income) has also been affected. I’m sure that there are other repercussions that we’re yet to realise. Our government has a lot to answer for and hopefully they’ll have no choice now but to listen. The Australian public is paying attention to how our government now responds to this crisis and will continue to respond. The bottom line is that the government needs its population to remain in power. Without our support they cannot exist.
The positive response from the general public worldwide restores my faith in humanity. The donations and well wishes from all four corners of our planet are overwhelming yet that faith has been diminished somewhat with the knowledge that some charities cannot be fully trusted with donations. It has always been common knowledge that charities keep a percentage of their donations to help fund their organisations. It has come to light that it is not a minority percentage they are withholding but a majority percentage. Due to the power of the internet and ‘people-power’ folks are beginning to wake up. The Salvation Army, the Australian Red Cross and St Vincent De Paul are three major culprits. The Salvation Army justifies its actions as stockpiling of some donations for later use. The real need is now. Folks need to restore their losses and basic needs as soon as possible to survive. Even small local charities have been found to dip into funds for their own use. I’m not saying it’s futile to donate to worthy causes or that all charities are bad. What I am saying is to do a little research to find out where that donation really goes, or maybe just donate to the RFS directly.
The year 2020 isn’t going too well. The Australian fire season and it’s resulting state of crisis is far from over and now the coronavirus has been confirmed in Australia. Bloody hell, and we’re still only in January.