I’ve had enough.
Yesterday’s National Press Club Address was almost the end of me. The lies and obfuscation were exhausting.
To have a temporary break from messy, nasty politics - and other Australian and world crises - is necessary; These things must be left aside for a breather once in a while to save a person’s sanity.
So, herewith, a more personal blog post:
In 2013, moving from the southern state of Victoria to live in the subtropics of south-east Queensland was a BIG challenge. We loved living in Victoria, the state of our births, but family had moved away and July days in Gippsland (Victoria) had temperatures too often too close to freezing.
Our daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons were (are!) living in Queensland and, what was at first just a glimmer of a thought, eventually became an idea upon which we acted.
We joined them.
There were a few reservations,
‘But, what will I do when the weather is very hot?’ A question for my daughter.
‘That’ll be your chance to just sit inside by the air conditioner and read’ was the answer.
‘Oh, ha!’ I scoffed.
But that is exactly what I have been doing a lot of this summer.
The days are hot at this time of year and I wonder how much longer I can tolerate the humidity.
But I know I will.
One day, in a month or so, we will suddenly realise that the days are sunny and warm, but the air no longer has the thick soupy feel. Our skin will feel dry and breathing will be easier.
Lately, on some days, I gently slip-slide into the pool, holding a ‘noodle’ floating device. I cannot swim because my right hip is not working properly, but that’s okay. It’s peaceful floating. I can gaze at the sky and watch fluffy white clouds floating in that lovely Queensland sky.
Looking towards the rockery at one end of the pool, today I see the peeping head of a small water dragon. Gradually he tip-toes to the pool’s edge and then stops. He is playing statues, thinking I won’t notice him if he remains as still as a stone. But I keep watching from my floating position and eventually he moves to another rock and surveys the pool – and me.
We share our backyard with these beautiful Eastern Water Dragons. We also have magpies, noisy miners, lorikeets, currawongs and the not so popular, crows and (screamingly noisy) corellas.
We have only had one snake, which was harmless but we called the snake catcher anyway, to take it away to a better place.
There are butterflies, bees, beetles and countless other helpful insects. Small geckoes run up the walls, searching for mosquitoes – of which we have too many.
There are cane toads.
Each night at bedtime, my husband, armed with a torch and plastic bags, thoroughly surveys the back and front yards. Bagged toads are put into the fridge, then the freezer. Once a month he takes the (now frozen & well dead) toads to a place where they ‘mulch’ the toad bodies to make cane toad lures.
It’s one way of limiting the spread of these killers of native animals.
So, it’s summer time on the subtropics, where I never thought I’d be.
The young (schoolboy) grandsons we moved to be near have grown and changed. They now drive their own cars, have university degrees and go to work.
It’s not the same world we came to join nearly seven years ago.
But I am happy to be a Queenslander. (Well… almost).
Scott Morrison, Australia’s Prime Minister: “Australian tourism is facing its biggest challenge in living memory.”
Yes, that’s exactly what he said last week.
Today’s news announced: “Tourism Australia will today unveil the first part of its $76 million federal government tourism package: a $20 million bump for its domestic, multimedia, regional-focused “Holiday Here This Year’’ ad campaign.” (Crikey, 23.1.20)
Seriously? Tourism is the problem? And “Holiday Here This Year” is the solution?
What amount of $$$ was some moron paid to think that slogan up?
TOURISM? We need tourists to visit our burnt out, smoke filled continent?
Incidentally, tourism is apparently so important that … get this:
(as we are reminded by Paul Barratt OA, on Twitter), “Government will spend 50% more on Tourism package than on habitat restoration”
Words fail me.
AND, of the $76 million ‘Tourist Package’, $25 million will be spent on a GLOBAL ad to tell people it’s SAFE to come to Australia.
A further $20 million is for domestic ads to ask people to please visit bush-fire ravaged parts of our continent.
Then, there’s the (wait for it!) $10 million to BRING CELEBRITIES here!
I mean, we are going to PAY CELEBRITIES (who, perhaps??) to visit and pretend that they care?
(Is that some sort of joke?)
And WHY is our PM talking as if the fires were something that have ‘been and gone’; that came and went?
Here’s a bit of bushfire history:
Bush fire threats and possible future catastrophes are indeed worsening. We all have to accept that fact.
Previous fires are well known and documented.
Since 1851, there have been over 800 deaths caused by bush fires in Australia.
Have they all occurred in December and January?
While some of the fires have occurred in the months of December or January, the horrendous ‘Black Saturday' fires of 2009, burnt in February to March.
‘Ash Wednesday’ (1983) was in February.
The Tasmanian fires of 1967 were in February.
1926 fires – in Feb-March.
And that’s mentioning just a few of the worst.
May I remind Mr Morrison that it is now still January?
Can you see the problem?
What makes our PM think that the crisis is over? He is assuming that we’ve had our fires for this season and now it’s time for the important work of trying to plug the big hole in the economy and solve all the problems by inviting tourists to come to Australia.
Is he serious?
One (only one, mind you) of the reasons for the big hole in the economy is because many parts of Australia are wrecked. Lives are wrecked, houses, businesses and properties have been wrecked. We’ve lost famous forests and billions of native animals. Whole ecosystems have been obliterated.
What’s to see?
How did this happen?
Don’t even start thinking about the total neglect of planning for what was – and is - an inevitable catastrophe.
So, should tourism be the major concern right now? Really?
What about concern for people who have lost their homes and everything they owned? Aren’t they deserving of real and urgent concern?
What about the ongoing concerns for other programs and organisations, unrelated to bush-fires, that have been ignored and drained of funds lately—such as the NDIS and Aged care—not to mention health and education — all subjects that seem to have been forgotten, while tourism is being put forward as the answer to everything.
What about the REAL and present danger of Climate Change that is affecting us all —all our communities, all our ecology, all our lives —whether you want to accept it or not, it’s REAL.
It may already be too late. How’s that for a thought to bump you awake?
While Scott Morrison and his coal-worshipping acolytes in government and elsewhere continue their purposely ignorant and dangerous attitude to our country - and the world - by rejecting the need to be rid of coal-fired energy, the chorus of the old (was it 2003?) song, ‘What about me?’ keeps spinning in my head.
And, I don’t mean just for me, personally. I mean for all the seemingly voiceless people (young & old).
And the koalas and all beautiful — now endangered —Australian fauna.
And the entire world.
“What about me? It isn't fair
I've had enough, now I want my share
Can't you see, I want to live
But you just take more than you give.”
Mr Morrison, you have a history of being a failed advertising man and a twice failed tourism ‘executive’.
So, forget bloody tourism and do something decent.
Come on, Scott. Move over and let someone with brains and integrity take over.
The world wants to live.
I WAS trying hard NOT to be a politically grumpy person. I was hoping to be able to spread a little lightness, happiness and hope, but no chance, sorry!
I apologise for this rant.; a rant that is probably jumbled and unintelligible, but that’s how my mind is functioning at the moment. I am upset at the fire catastrophe. I am upset at the loss of human life and of homes and livelihoods.
I am upset at the toll on dead animals and I am upset at the destruction of our beautiful forests and bushland.
But, most of all, I am upset and appalled by the inability of our so-called leaders to comprehend and act upon what has been obvious for many years.
We have listened to three-word slogans - and verbosity - and we think, ‘That’s okay’.
We don’t look behind the words.
We stop looking to see who – and what - is behind those ‘smart’ words.
When we, as citizens, leave many decisions to others, we neglect to check out WHO are these ‘others’. Are ‘the others’ trustworthy?
“The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the Axe, for the Axe was clever and convinced the Trees that because his handle was made of wood, he was one of them.” (Turkish Proverb).
I’ve quoted this proverb before. I like it. It’s a very appropriate ‘story’ to think about right now.
We are all influenced by ‘The Axe’ at times. We think that the Axe is one of us. We are sure it’s like us; we are sure it likes us. We think that The Axe has our best interests at heart.
Perhaps we are wrong.
We neglect to check on what is the BEST way and, instead, accept what sounds right at the time.
We forget that propaganda is easy to push and we forget to check the facts. But it is facts that matter.
It is only facts that matter.
Facts are facts, and facts = truth.
All this is certainly worth thinking about in these drastic times of climate change. Especially here in Australia, as fires rage throughout the country. People have died, millions of animals have perished and environments and ecosystems wrecked – sometimes beyond redemption.
It seems to me that it is way past time that WE (the ordinary ‘little’ people) spoke up.
We have to stop accepting our version of ‘The Axe’ proverb and start looking behind the false soothing words of ‘it will be okay’.
It will NOT be okay if our country continues to pander to the coal lobby. It is not okay for the Mineral Council of Australia to completely infiltrate our government, therefore controlling mining for the sole purpose of making gross amounts of money - totally neglecting the negative and horrific consequences.
It is time for us ordinary citizens, to stop believing the people who are like ‘The Axe’. They are not one of us.
Our future is at stake.
It doesn’t take much effort to check out facts.
Start with checking how much tax most of the coal mining companies pay. (Usually NONE).
Check out how many millions of $$ mining companies donate to political parties.
Check which current politicians have strong connections to the Mineral Council. (Most of them)
Then read the ‘fact checks’ done on what the PM has claimed. (mostly false).
Most of us are sleeping while dirty deeds are being done by people who are supposed to have our interests at heart.
Check them out. Don’t be complacent. Don’t accept the words and actions without question. It’s too dangerous!
Here are some facts to mull over:
“The Minerals Council of Australia has conceded it makes political donations and pays to attend fundraisers to gain access to members of parliament ...” (The Guardian, Jan ’18)
“We couldn’t possibly have anticipated the scale of what we discovered: a secretive network behind coal’s dirty power that has infiltrated Australia federal government to its core”. (Greenpeace, Jan . ‘20)
“Every year, Australian governments and their departments spend billions of dollars of your money to help more coal, gas and oil to be extracted and burned...” (Market Forces, Feb ’19)
“…71 fossil fuel companies, with a combined revenue of $89 billion in Australia in 2017/18, paid far less than their fair share! In most cases, the company tax paid is a big fat zero.” (Market Forces, Dec ’19)
“About one third of large companies have once again failed to pay a cent of tax, according to the Tax Office's latest corporate tax transparency report…” (ABC Jan ’20)
We are being fooled by slogans and mis-statements to keep us meek and ‘under the thumb’ of despicable politicians and the money men of this country.
“…how does a democratic nation like Australia get to a point where its leader would rather go on holiday and tweet about cricket, than address the unprecedented climate emergency facing its people?” (Greenpeace, Jan ’20)
Is the answer greed?
Is it selfishness?
Is it corruption?
IS IT ALL THREE?
And, meanwhile our country – and the planet - burns.
While the country burns, the Coalition is letting Australia's only renewable energy agency run out of money, and undermining our international obligations with dodgy accounting tricks.
Meanwhile, they continue to subsidise the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $29 billion dollars – effectively paying for the emergency they say they want to address.
Is it time to say goodbye, koalas?
A couple of weeks ago, I looked out of my kitchen window towards the neighbouring parkland adjoining the main road and saw what I thought was a small but cumbersome dog lolloping across the road.
On closer inspection, I realised it was a koala. Cars slowed, then stopped. A woman pulled over to one side and took photos.
The little koala made it safely across the busy road and soon clambered up a gum tree.
All good - and all over in five minutes.
In the six years we have lived near this small park on the Queensland Gold Coast we have seen seven or eight koalas there ‘in the wild’. Beautiful creatures.
But their habitat is diminishing as humans take over what used to be their (the koalas’) land and I doubt if we will see many more in ‘our neck of the woods’.
When we lived in Gippsland, Victoria, we could visit Raymond Island and see koalas in many tree-tops. They were not much of a tourist attraction, as such; they just lived there. (Are they still there?)
Way back in the 1960s, a trip to Phillip Island, just off the southern coast of Australia, gave you a good serve of koalas. A quiet stroll into the bush and you’d see koalas everywhere; some low enough on tree branches to allow you to touch them. Sadly, that is no longer.
Over the past 12 months I have been fortunate to have had my fill of koalas. I have seen them up close on three different occasions (not counting our local visitor).
BUT…BUT…The three places I have seen koalas included:
In these places I have visited, overseas tourists queue up to have photos taken with koalas. But is the time coming when Australia’s own citizens will also have to queue to catch a glimpse of a koala?
Especially now that THEY HAVE BEEN BURNT.
Killed by bushfires.
WHAT HAVE WE DONE?
From the news: “….Officials fear that 30 per cent of the koala colony in New South Wales had been destroyed as 10 million acres of land burnt to the ground in the state.
Nature Conservation Council ecologist Mark Graham told parliament: “[Koalas] really have no capacity to move fast enough to get away [from the flames].
“…“The fires have burnt so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies.”..” (Independent)
Then…after Kangaroo Island bushfires: there are “grave fears for unique wildlife after estimated 25,000 koalas killed”.
An estimated (over) 8,000 koalas have died in NSW.
Again, what have we done?
And, it’s not only koalas that have been lost. It’s millions of native animals and insects from bees and beetles, to beautiful native birds, to lizards and gliders to wallabies, wombats and kangaroos. And on it goes. So many burnt. So many gone.
“Nearly half a billion animals have been impacted by the fires in NSW alone, with millions potentially dead”, (according to ecologists at the University of Sydney).
The time has come!
If we don’t act seriously – and SOON – to try to stop Climate Change induced catastrophes, our children and our children’s children will only be able to see our beautiful native animals in museums and on You Tube videos.
There is no denying that Australia’s inability to acknowledge and attend to the catastrophic effects of our rapidly changing climate has, if not caused, then colossally added to, the severity of these calamitous fires.
AND…with “… media-backed corruption right now in regards to Climate Change… we may not move fast enough to save our planet.” (Unfortunately, I mislaid the original source of this crucial statement):
THE TIME HAS COME!
OR, do we accept it’s goodbye, koalas?
I no longer have the strength to complain about this country’s shocking neglect of Climate Change and the repercussions that are inevitable. I can no longer voice my dismay at ‘our’ inept government and its woeful Prime Minister.
My thoughts are only with the people affected by the fires that are consuming our country.
The scenes from Mallacoota are especially heartbreaking and terrifying. The news and pictures of East Gippsland are horrendous.
I lived in Gippsland for 42 years and I know many of the areas affected.
In tv news bulletins, I recognise roads and places I have been and am shocked to the core at the devastation.
I have camped by the lake at Mallacoota and have walked along its shores. The people who live and visit there are, on the whole, a gentle nature loving lot. And now their beloved place is a smouldering wreck.
People have huddled under blankets, waiting for the danger signal to say when they must wade into the water or climb aboard a boat.
The sky has gone from red to black-as-night and the children and pets are frightened. Adults too.
Meanwhile the PM hosts a NYE party and plans his forthcoming trips to China and India to sell Australian coal.
I have no words.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.