I have to wonder if logic has taken a long holiday in Australia.
Like most I have been watching in quiet horror at the fires that have ravaged much of the eastern parts of Australia.
On one hand, I have been relieved that there has not been the horrific loss of life as was seen in the Ash Wednesday fires in Victoria and during other past fires from hell.
On the other hand, the devastating loss of property and the terror suffered by many is worthy of all, or almost all, the media attention the events have received.
When I say “almost all”, it is because I cannot recall more ridiculous, overblown sentiment being expressed so boldly by so many about any event.
It seems that these fires, for some reason, have incensed so many that they have lost all reason and sense.
Take “our” Barnaby Joyce.
Now Barnaby is not known as a man regularly given to understatement, but his recent remarks make you wonder if his recent re-coupling is symptomatic of a deeper malaise. He reportedly suggested that a couple who had perished in one of the blazes probably “voted Green.”
Now when you pause and imagine what the last few minutes of these folk’s lives must have been like, it is hard to imagine a more terrifying and agonising death.
To even refer to political leanings seemed, well crass, to put it mildly.
The implications of Barnaby’s remarks also makes we wonder. The suggestion was that the Greens and their policies were in some way responsible for the fires.
Now I disagree with much that the Greens stand for. In fact, at times, I wonder how on Earth they can say what they do with a straight face. But one fact seems to me to be fairly important.
That is, that the Greens have never held (or even looked like holding) power either federally or in any state. So for Barnaby, and others to suggest that the fires are somehow the fault of the Greens, seems to ignore the fact that any legislation that prevented clearing fires and burning off MUST have been passed by the ALP or the Coalition.
Yet I do not hear anyone blaming them for the blazes.
To me it would seem obvious that if you clear away fuel from a fire, then the fire will be lessened. (A fact Mrs Doyle emphasises when it is time for the gas bottle at the side of the house to be changed.)
So stopping any hazard or fuel reduction burns would seem misplaced.
But to simply blame the Greens seems as though you are ignoring the realities of how government works in Australia.
But it would have to be said that the Greens are far from blameless in the hyperbolic rant stakes.
For them to suggest that Scott Morrison and others are the equivalent of arsonists because they do not follow a Greens endorsed climate change policy seems to go beyond delusion into some sort of fantasy land. As Sco-Mo has been PM for a bit over 12 months, even if he had switched off every light, stopped every engine, had us riding horses and burning dung for cooking, it would have had no discernible impact on global temperatures.
To suggest that stopping Australia’s 2 per cent of global emissions would magically cool the climate and stop Australian bushfires seems to more than match Barnaby’s comments for sheer…well, stupidity.
I imagine Dorothea Mackellar would have been shocked when she wrote about a sunburnt country in 1904, that the solution to bushfires and heat was so simple!
One of the few edifying things from this whole kerfuffle has been Tony Abbot.
Now Tony has done some really silly things (knight Prince Phillip anyone?) but it seems that, alone of all the above, he is actually doing something. Getting out, volunteering and actually trying to put the fires out.
And on that theme. While so many have been uninspiring in their hyperbole and frankly ridiculous comments, the Fireys have been just the opposite.
Putting themselves in harm’s way to put the fires out.
Not saying rubbish, but doing …whatever the opposite of rubbish is.
Bill Doyle, occasional guest columnist for The Courier.