We have a few national sports here in Australia. Cricket, rolling Prime Ministers, and placing bets on when Barnaby Joyce will say or do something incredibly stupid. If you had your money on today, then congrats! You’re a winner.
The fires ripping through the east coast of the country have been devastating, and the footage coming out of the worst affected places around Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie in New South Wales are enough to send your heart into your stomach. People have lost everything, and for some that includes their lives.
Three people have died in the fires, one by Taree and two in Glen Innes. The only named victim so far is Vivian Chaplain, 69. She was taken to hospital after firefighters discovered her with severe burns. She passed away in hospital.
What most regular people are thinking about in these circumstances is how sorry we are for Vivian, the other victims, and their families, and hoping that no more people lose their lives to the blaze. What Barnaby Joyce thinks about is which party the people who died voted for.
He appeared on Sky News earlier this morning to defend his opinion that the Greens are somehow to blame for the fire situation because they opposed hazard reduction burns – which is rich seeing as it’s Barnaby’s government that has cut the amount of NSW national park rangers who do the actual hazard reduction by a third, but I digress.
During the interview, he decided that today was the best time to drop this gem:
“I acknowledge that the two people who died were most likely people who voted for the Green party, so I am not going to start attacking them. That’s the last thing I want to do.”
Hoo boy. And when people rightfully started calling him out for being an insensitive jerk, he decided to double down. Because of course he did. Later in the day, he said:
“The people who live there are in a commune basically. Wytaliba is an alternative community. They don’t vote for me, they vote for Greens, and I’ve got no problem with it. They agree there should have been more burn reduction, fuel reduction.”
Barnaby. Shut up.
The last couple of days have been a wild time for politicians blaming literally anything instead of climate change for the fires. Our Deputy PM said yesterday that climate change is “woke capital-city greenies ravings”, and another Liberal senator has accused the Bureau of Meteorology of changing their temperature records to fit a global warming agenda.
So basically these fires have confirmed what the rest of us have known for a while now: climate change is real and our politicians are a bit nuts.