Koala, Raymond Island, Australia, Eucalyptus

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” – Harlan Ellison

Just a heads up this is a post that is political, it is an attempt to link to accurate information in what is a sometimes a contested discussion. I have no intention to offend or upset anyone. I had no intention of making this blog political, in fact it is with great hesitation I embark on any political post, but sometimes you just have to stand up for what you know is right and to do it with respect for others.

The discussion around the climate change emergency has become clouded in spin, distortion and outright lies. Vested economic interests have distorted facts and openly lied, a right wing media has attempted to distort the truth for its own ends for too long and it is time we all started to call out the lies and stand up for what is right. Our current government has been guilty of the most appalling spin in regards to the bushfire emergency. This government and the right wing media have attempted to foster a mythology that the left, the Greens, are responsible for the bushfire emergency because of opposition to hazard reduction, this is a blatant lie. if you hear this lie repeated demand to see the evidence for the claim. For the truth look at the Greens own policy statements on hazard reduction, found here: https://greens.org.au/bushfires :

“Do the Greens support hazard reduction (including backburning)?

Our policy on this is clear and hasn’t changed recently. The Australian Greens support hazard reduction burning (before bushfire season) to reduce the impact of bushfire when guided by the best scientific, ecological and emergency service expertise. For more on the Australian Greens’ policy on bushfire management, please refer to Aim 8 of our Environmental Principles

I find it absolutely absurd the suggestion that any individual with an informed knowledge of the Australian environment is opposed to proper environmental management. I am not a member of The Greens, I am not an environmental activist, although I believe I am becoming one. I know that those of us who have regular contact with rural and bush Australia are well aware of the demands of stewardship of this land. I have grown up in country Australia with an understanding of the demands of farming and environmental responsibility and I find on going suggestions that the fire emergency has been caused by poor land management practices caused by environmentalists absurd. If anything it is the under funding of fire and parks and wildlife services that has contributed to any poor management. In addition it has to be acknowledged that the drought, which no reasonable person denies is connected to worsening climate change, has acerbated the conditions which have made fire management so difficult.

I find the governments, and specifically Scott Morrison’s behaviour during this emergency highly objectionable, the ignoring of advice from former fire and emergency staff and the ongoing attempt to undermine the advice and informed opinion offered by such figures as former fire NSW fire commissioner Greg Mullins highly objectionable. The following interview with Mullins, a respected figure and currently himself fighting fires on the front line is highly reveling and well worth listening to: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/sydney/programs/breakfast/greg-mullins-bushfires/11839122

Morrison’s and the government’s haste at attempting to get a PR win with the release of the ad spruiking their apparent contribution to the battle and it is a battle, was nothing short of offensive self promotion. The failure to inform the relevant and affected services was indicative of the kind of arrogance, ignorance and unprofessionalism that has characterised this administration in regards to the fire emergency and the managing of the climate change emergency this country and the world is now clearly facing. When people/ the press, have called this government on it’s failure it has attempted to direct blame at others, claiming it informed the NSW premier and it was her responsibility to inform the fire commissioner, not their failing but the premiers. Personally that excuse is just further evidence of an individual and government unfit to govern, a leader accepts responsibility, they do not make excuses and blame others! On going deceit is evidenced in this reporting this morning:

Mr Morrison told the media he offered naval assets to NSW for emergency evacuations but the State Government rejected the offer.

When this claim was put to Ms Berejiklian by journalists, she responded: “Not true, not true.”

Meanwhile, Mr Fitzsimmons said: “The answer is simply no.”

“There has been no offer of assistance that I’m aware of that we haven’t accepted.

“If these rumours or these messages keep going around, I would simply ask [what] was the offer of assistance that we rejected? Because I’m certainly not aware of any.” ( https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-06/nsw-bushfires-two-people-unaccounted-for-says-rfs/11843060 ) The rest of this article is worth reading, please do so. We have the leaders we have elected, lets demand that they do their job.

On the subject of leadership and the desperate need for all levels to step up, this article in the Sydney Morning Herald is worth a look: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/julie-bishop-says-australia-must-show-leadership-on-climate-change-20200106-p53p48.html

This link will give you a summary of some of the criticism of the media: https://mumbrella.com.au/australias-media-outlets-clash-over-bushfire-coverage-612066 I am the first to admit my principle source of news is the ABC and I do consider it to be a professional and reliable source of information, like any media organisation it does on occasion contain opinion and editorial, it is generally identified as such and it is up to us the audience, to weigh up the value of all information we consume.

While now is not the time for divisive ideological attacks it would serve us all well, to be aware of the potential biases of the media we consume and yes everyone has a bias, you simply need to be aware of it, including your own biases and weigh up information and evidence appropriately. We have a civic duty to be informed, and to hold our government to account. If like me, you are unhappy about how the climate policy has been dealt with by our government and for that matter how the bush fire emergency has been dealt with by the federal government, than I urge you to exercise your civic duty and at the very least write a quick letter or email even, to your member of parliament both state and federal and urge, in fact, demand greater action on climate, (if you hold the opposite view than by all means do the same, I may not agree with you but I respect your right to the opinion). Personally I will no longer be a “quite” Australian I intend to enact my civic obligations at every opportunity and no longer be silent and complicit in what can quite reasonably be called ecocide.

Right now our main concern should be for the well being of all who have suffered and are suffering you can donate to the Red cross here or for an organisation supporting wildlife and domestic animals: RSPCA Bushfire appeal . There are many other organisations offering support and I am sure everyone has a favourite charity they would like to support, now is the time.

10 thoughts on “Civic Duty

  1. Woah, Sharon! Excellent post. We all need to be asking the questions and checking the facts. And those ads were appalling on every level. The focus should be fair and square on the affected communities not grandstanding politicians.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well done Sharon, it can be hard to speak out and cause potential backlash but I’m like you at the moment so incredibly angry at the mismanagement of our country and it needs words and actions by everyone. They are not listening and trying, as you said to use their typical political spin to downplay and deflect blame. I’ve donated to The Salvation Army and WIRES so far and it still doesn’t feel enough. They Government needs to be told loudly and often that we are not going to accept it anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Glenys I know it is hard to feel like we can ever do enough. I think maybe now all the quite Australians will let them know we are not going to be quite anymore no matter what political persuasion is in charge and it would be so nice to see real partisanship leadership.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sharon, this is a wonderfully important post. One day the governments & countries who are entrenched in the past, tied unhealthily to the fossil fuel companies & old economic models, will realise the error of their ways. Time is running out for this, as you know, but there are hopeful signs – small changes in the financial investment sector…
    Keep appealing for everyone to do their/our civic duty; and don’t ever apologise! Climate change is absolutely not a matter of opinion!
    Would it be ok if I share your post please, with Australian relatives, on Facebook, Twitter etc…? Love, Emily ps that obscure title of my last post was because of my name – I should have put ‘by Emily Thwaite’ & couldn’t work out how to get lower case!


    1. Sorry, Emily, I have been a bit slow catching up on comments YES YES please share the post with anyone you like. Your own blog is a source of ongoing inspiration!


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