Old Mate Deputy PM Reckons He Knows More About Bushfires Than Scientists

Climate change? Never heard of it.

New South Wales and Queensland are in full blown bushfire emergency at the moment. The latest information we have from the east coast is that three people have lost their lives and five others are missing, upwards of 150 homes have been destroyed, and three fires out of more than 60 that are still burning are classified as emergency level. In Western Australia, they’ve just downgraded a fire that was threatening lives just north of Perth.

The bulk of the bushfires are around Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, but almost everywhere between Sydney and Brisbane is affected. In fact, for the first time since the new fire ranking system was introduced in 2009, Sydney and the surrounding regions will be put on a catastrophic fire alert. This has lead to New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian calling a State of Emergency in the last hour.

The word that is being used over and over again to describe these fires is “unprecedented”, and we’re only at the very beginning of the bushfire season. Summer doesn’t officially begin for another two weeks, why are we seeing emergency level bushfires this early on? 

The obvious answer if you’ve ever listened to a single scientist is that climate change is starting to have devastating impacts on our world. Only last week a group of 11 000 scientists declared a climate emergency and warned of “untold suffering” in the face of the climate crisis.

But if you’ve decided to ignore science then maybe you’ll agree with our Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack. 

By the way, Michael McCormack is the man who replaced Barnaby Joyce after he was caught rooting his media advisor. No stress if you don’t know who he is, not that many people do

Anyway, he’s come out this morning and declared that trying to link these bushfires to climate change is “woke capital-city greenies ravings” in a media conference, clearly doing great things for his non existent personal profile.

Whatever you reckon, mate

Linking these bushfires to climate change is the only sensible conclusion, not a political stance. Realising that climate change, the current drought, and emergency level fires beginning so early in the year are all related to each other isn’t something that determines where you sit on the political scale. 

Listening to scientists about natural disasters feels like something that should transcend politics. Someone should probably tell Michael McCormack, but something tells me he won’t listen.

Tony Abbott Really Wants You To Realise He Was, In Fact, A Great PM

How did we miss it at the time?

Back in May, Tony Abbott lost his seat of Warringah to Zali Steggal after holding it for 25 years. The country said goodbye to our patron saint of eating onions like a weirdo, but he wasn’t officially farewelled from the Liberal Party until last night. 

What a time to be alive

About 1000 people piled into a dinner to honour Abbott and his career, including people like John Howard, Alan Jones, Peter Dutton, and Gladys Berejiklian.

Abbott spoke last for the evening, telling the evening “I used to think that the Abbott government was a remarkably underappreciated one.”

“The great thing tonight is that finally I think it might be seen for what it really was — a good-faith effort to help our country to be the very best it could be.”

Really? The very best?

The best it could be, huh? Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

Remember when Abbott told Alan Jones (a dude who has used the n-word on air) all about how much he hated wind farms? The actual quote was “I do take your point about the potential health impact of these things. When I’ve been up close to these wind farms not only are they visually awful but they make a lot of noise.

Or the seemingly thousands of times he decided to use his position as Prime Minister to bang on about how much he was against same sex marriage. A few years later, during the marriage equality survey (ugh) he told everyone that if you hated political correctness to vote no. Even his own daughter called him out on that one and went on to be a part of an ad for the yes campaign.

Creepy winking: fine.
People who love each other getting married: not fine.

Or the time his government spent $4 million creating an anti-asylum seeker movie to show overseas, because he was hell bent on stopping the boats. But if a boat did manage to get through, they’d be sent to Nauru – a place Tony reckons is a “Very, Very Pleasant Island”.

There are so many more gaffes and straight up awful quotes that came out of the years that Tony Abbott was Prime Minister, and it genuinely boggles my mind that the way he’s decided to describe the time is “remarkably underappreciated”.

As for Scott Morrison? Well, Abbott reckons he saved the party “from being judged by history an embarrassing failure.” I’ll check in with you again in a few years about that one.

I'd Be Happier About Queensland Banning Plastic If They Weren't Building Adani

It sucks.

The war on plastics has ramped up over the last few years to the point where we’re now seeing bans on single use plastics become more and more common. Queensland has always copped a lot of jokes about being the a state that has to catch up to the rest of the country, but they’re very much on the forefront of this particular movement, and are looking to ban single use plastics state wide as early as next year. 

Queensland banned plastic shopping bags from stores in July 2018, but these new laws are looking to target plastic straws, plastic cutlery, and plastic plates. Later on they might even cover disposable coffee cups and those big, reusable plastic shopping bags. 

No more of this

The conversation about banning plastic straws has been particularly heated, with lots of people relying on plastic straws to eat, drink, and take medications. Before the Queensland government go ahead with the legislation, they’ve made a point of saying that they’re going to consult with a number of community groups, including people with disabilities. They’ll also work in exemptions to the law for people who need to use plastic straws. 

The original movement to ban the straws outright seemed to have forgotten that disabled people exist, so it’s good to see that that particular lesson has been learned. 

I haven’t been able to forget while reading these reports that Queensland is also the state that the Adani coal mine is in the process of being approved in. 

The mine is planning to take 12.5 billion litres of water from Queensland – a state in drought – but have somehow managed to avoid having to provide a full environmental impact statement. It means we don’t know the full extent of the damage the mine could create, but cutting a giant coal mine into the ground is never going to do good things. 

Banning single use plastics is a great move if the right considerations are taken, but it’s also not going to balance out a new coal mine by any stretch of the imagination. Individual action is important, but if the Queensland government wants to pretend that shifting all of the state’s environmental responsibility to the people will solve their problems, then they’re kidding themselves.

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