With large swathes of New South Wales currently burning thanks to unprecedented bushfires (fires that have so far claimed the lives of three people, left several more unaccounted for, and destroyed in excess of 150 homes) and with the entire Greater Sydney region facing “catastrophic” fire conditions tomorrow, that there exists a link between climate change and the conditions that allow such catastrophic events like this to occur is horribly inconvenient for the Liberal and National Parties. And what they want, more than anything in the world, is for that indisputable fact to go away. They’re having a really tough go of it right now. They’re copping a rough trot. How bloody sad for them all.
Between NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, you’d be forgiven for thinking someone forced them out of bed to deal with this shit, given the way they’ve petulantly railed against the very obvious lines of questioning over the past few days.
This morning, Nationals Leader/Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack unloaded on climate change-related questioning in an explosive interview on ABC Radio, saying with his actual mouth that climate change is only the concern of “raving inner city lunatics.” He further asserted that “we’ve had fires in Australia since time began,” stated people affected by these fires “don’t need the ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital city greenies at this time,” and labelled any attempt to link the fires to climate change “disgusting” and “disgraceful.”
Prior to that, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was caught on camera over the weekend audibly howling “honestly, not today” at reporters trying to probe the Prime Minister on the – rather indisputable – links between climate change and the conditions that allow such unprecedented and ferocious fire activity to occur, later asserting it was “inappropriate that people were trying to talk about climate change,” in the face of the fires.
"Honestly, not today!" Gladys Berejiklian calls out as journalist asks Scott Morrison about climate change. Journo had previously been speaking to a couple at a hotel who raised concerns over CC. Unfortunately, ABCNews interrupts midway through answer. #nswfires #qldfires #auspol pic.twitter.com/14GVwXD9GW
— David Marler (@Qldaah) November 10, 2019
On Saturday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison offered up the tried-and-true “thoughts and prayers” response on social media.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been so directly and horribly impacted by these fires. https://t.co/XvgsLv4eht
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) November 9, 2019
On a political front, these fires – unprecedented in size, scope, and ferocity – are a horrible pain in the ass for the Liberal National Party’s bottom line.
Acknowledging the scale of them means, in some small way, admitting that climate conditions are a factor. Which, in some small way, means either they or their predecessors could’ve done something meaningful to curtail it.
But because the Prime Minister is the man who once held a lump of coal up in Federal Parliament and joked that we shouldn’t be scared of it, and because the NSW Premier is a sycophantic ghoul, and because the Deputy Prime Minister has made a career out of maintaining his blood pressure at 200/115, we’re getting the same kind of affected faux-sympathy that’s irreparably poisoned the US political discourse on gun control.
It’s not appropriate to talk about it now. It’s poor form. Bad timing. Not the place for it. How dare you.
All this is not to say that Morrison, McCormack, and Berejiklian don’t care about the human toll of the bushfires. They do. Just not enough to do anything that might actually prevent them from re-occurring or worsening in the future. Certainly not enough to compromise their other various political interests or, god for-fucking-bid, do anything that might put a hefty political donation from the coal industry at risk.
And so all this horror, in early November, rates as little more than a curious annoyance as far as actually doing anything is concerned. That’s why we’ll get thoughts, prayers, maybe a federal assistance package after the fact, and not much else.
More than anything right now, they all wish these pesky, historic, unprecedented bushfires would just go away.
But they’re not, and they won’t, and that’s a big fucking problem.Image: AAP