Episode 197. Fires and Rebellion

This is the World Organic News for the week ending 6th of January 2020.

Jon Moore reporting!

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!

We’ve seen some strange things politically since 2016. Brexit and Trump spring to mind. The yellow vest and now general strike in France and, of course, the Hong Kong demonstrations.

What all these things seem to have in common is a reaction to, not so much the centre as the establishment. After 40 odd years of privatisation, outsourcing and a growing disparity between the ultra rich and the rest, a backlash occurred. In the Hong Kong case it was against the establishment on mainland China and for different reasons but a backlash against the establishment nonetheless.

How does this relate to the “Organic” in World Organic News? Well, Australia is seeing its own anger and outright rudeness. A bit like the reputation Canadians have for politeness, we have a similar attitude towards our political leaders. Occasionally an outburst has occurred but it was rare enough to raise eyebrows.  I understand Australians, as a rule, don’t have an international reputation for politeness and deference but at home it’s different, especially to the politician’s face.

Where am I going with this?

As you may have heard, all states on the mainland have been dealing with bushfires as we call them or forest fires as they’re known elsewhere. These started back in September after ending in about March. The fire season usually runs from October to February. 

These fires are not just early but the huge numbers of fires and their size are unprecedented. These things happen, we tighten the belt, knuckle down and deal with it. 

Our Prime Minister decided December was a great time to go on holidays to Hawaii. His office briefed the media and asked them not to say where he was. They complied. I kid you not. Eventually he decided he should come back after a plethora of ministers saying the PM deserved a break. This was while bushfire volunteers were putting in 12 -16 hour days in the fire front.

I might also remind listeners that when a minister in a previous government our current PM brought a lump of coal into parliament to show how safe and how wonderful it is. This gives you some idea of the climate change policy at the federal level. There is none. They spent a few bob on tree plantings but offer huge subsidies to coal miners in tax breaks and cheap transport. 

People are living through a severe drought, from overflowing dams in 2016 to townships running out of water while mines still have access to water resources. People on the land can see this is not a normal drought. Things are different. The rate of drying is unprecedented. Murmurings from the right of politics at the local and state level have been ignored for the sake of party solidarity and there are many on that side of politics who have bought into the “it’s all part of the New World Order to destroy our freedoms” nonsense. 

Back to the fires. It is the case that bushfires are a state matter not a federal one but there’s an expectation that our nation’s elected leader will survey the damage, comfort the afflicted and so on. When he finally got around to visiting a fire affected location the locals let loose.

There’s a video link in the show notes. 

Then a day or so later some frontline firierys in NSW spotted a camera crew and let loose on our PM. I’ll quote the article title, link to video in the show notes:


‘Go and get f***ed’: Angry NSW firefighters on the frontline deliver blunt messages to Prime Minister Scott Morrison

End Quote.

It is difficult to comprehend how long this has been going on. Way back on the 2nd of December, one grandmother dumped some the remains of her fire destroyed house outside federal parliament with the words:


“Morrison, your climate crisis destroyed my home.”

End Quote.

There’s a link to that story in the notes too.

Our bushfire services are staffed by volunteers. Some have been off work for months. Our PM generously offered a $6000 payment to help them through after stating there would be no federal funding because the fireies love being out there. I kid you not.

So when the backlip came, the offer was made with great fanfare.

It turns out the application for funds can only be done online. Ok 21st century but first you need to fill in this twenty page questionnaire. Once the fireies had completed that they were told they’d have to wait for February for payments as that section was on Summer holidays. 

I kid you not.

Sprinkled in amongst the bureaucracy and destruction has been such memorable events as the PM scuttling a climate declaration at the Pacific Nations Forum and the smoke and mirrors of our government’s dodgy carbon accounting at COP 25 that fooled no one but placated the government’s base. 

The two themes, climate inaction/flimflammery and the obvious in your face fires has people really pissed off. I might point out that nearly everyone in the country has either been affected or is related to someone who has been affected. This is a nationwide event

Then just when you think things could become more surreal, the PM announces he’s called up the reserve forces to assist the states, without the states requesting this help, which is the protocol. Oh and he announced this on the day when the very worst of fire conditions were expected. Huge areas of the country had been depopulated and people moved to safer ground. Then states and their services were kinda busy, well, flat out.

But it gets worse. The chief fire office of the Rural Fire Service in NSW and even the military liaison personal already working with him only discovered this generous offer through the media. 

But it gets even worse. The PM then released an ad on Twitter and Facebook telling the country what he’d done and there was a donation button included. The donations though were not for families of the deceased or for counselling services or food even but to donate to the PM’s political party.

I kid you not.

So that’s why I think we are about to have our moment of rebellion from the bottom up. We have been failed by our leadership.

Already there’s a move to more widely  return to First Nation’s fire management systems, a growing call for regenerative agricultural methods to restore water cycles and sequester carbon. The people are pissed off and the only end in sight to these fires is real rain.

1-5 mm up to 5-10mm in some places are forecast but we are going to need days of soaking rain and then follow up a few weeks later. Until then the women and men of the volunteer and paid fire services in this country just keep going.

The longer it goes the worse the PM and his government look. All of their own doing. Years of partisan posturing and wedging on Climate issues has come home to roost. The status quo can no longer hold. Change is sweeping this country just as the flames are and the seething anger is bubbling to the surface.

Australia was pretty much predicted to be the canary in the coal mine of climate change effects. The canary is very unwell. Let’s get this sorted, yesterday!

Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!

Thank you for listening and I’ll be back next week. 



World Organic News

email: media@worldorganicnews.com


WORLD ORGANIC NEWS No Dig Gardening Book: Click here

Scott Morrison Heckled


‘Go and get f***ed’: Angry NSW firefighters on the frontline deliver blunt messages to Prime Minister Scott Morrison


Grandmother dumps burnt remains of home at Parliament House in climate change protest


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