I watched Morrison announcing the involvement of military infrastructure this morning on the ABC.

My first response was: isn’t this a little late? The fires have been raging since September. The fire authorities have been warning about catastrophe for a long time. And the scientists even longer ago warned of the danger of extreme fire events as elements in the pattern of climate crisis, which is no longer expected 20 or 50 or a 100 years into the future, but faces Australia here and now. Serious fires are burning in every State in the country.

The Government is funded by taxpayers, the men and women often struggling on 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet, while this loathsome and disloyal Regime continues to attack workers and their families, giving a free hand to business and corporations by destroying the union movement to exploit Australian workers in the name of neoliberal deregulation and ideology.

Morrison, his Ministers and the the Government backbenchers are not doing what Australians pay them to do – look after and protect the country and its people – while Dutton undermines our civil liberties and violates human rights.

It is extremist politics and not the welfare of Australians, which they ignore, that motivate the Dutton-Morrison Regime. One of those areas of negligence lies in the pig-headed refusal to acknowledge the evidence before their myopic eyes of climate crisis, its effect on hundreds of communities, and threatening Sydney . We reasonably expect that government heeds the almost universal scientific concern about emissions, the escalating evidence on the continent of global warming and its effects, and the imperative to plan and develop strategies for the conditions that it is already bringing.

A Government that puts the welfare of its people and the national interest first would not have failed to notice that Arctic forests are on fire, California has suffered wildfires into the beginnings of winter, Spain and Portugal have had a second season of intensive bushfires, the Amazon is ablaze, Madagascar, South-East Asia – that there is a global fire crisis and Australia is probably the most vulnerable of all to disaster from bushfires.

Do not the the Tasmanian fires that decimated old growth wilderness only last year, the Dunally fire a few years ago and the 1960s fires that killed over 60 people a generation ago on Hobart’s outskirts, or the fires that ravaged a Canberra suburb in Morrison’s own time as an MP, have any impact on this tin-eared failure of a leader?

These fires are unprecedented in their ferocity and scale despite examples from the distant and near past. The Black Friday fires of almost a century ago in Victoria and the fires along the Great Ocean Road to the west of Melbourne and Geelong that in 1983 dropped ash and burnt leaves into the backyard of my suburban home in Melbourne over a hundred kilometres from the fires as the crow flies, were ferocious. Have these shysters forgotten the disastrous Black Saturday fires in Victoria in 2009?

Good governance would have generated contingency planning for another summer of projected record heat. The fact that the fire season can now be marked down as commencing in September, would alone have prompted a competent and responsible government to develop urgent national strategies with State fire authorities to deal with looming potential disaster.

But not the Dutton-Morrison Regime. Their priority is serving the coal and gas mafia, and re-engineering the nation into an authoritarian place of repression, inequity, violated human rights, diminishing civil liberties, asset-stripped services, and arcane religious “protection”. It is a Regime that denies its responsibilities to deal with real measures needed at a national level to ameliorate the effects of climate change and to develop strategies to handle the extreme events that this summer has generated.

Instead, the burden of lazy government relies on unpaid volunteers, often men and women in their middle age, to fight around the clock to protect lives and properties while Morrison announces platitudes and reacts late to events on a scale that should have had the military and reservists on standby months ago. His priority was to clear out to Hawaii for a holiday.

The nation is in a state of prolonged crisis that extends beyond the challenges of this fire season. It cannot afford the dissociated incompetence of minimalist government that sidelines the welfare of the people for venal obsessions, serves a corrupt relationship with the most wealthy and especially coal and gas interests at the expense of the rest, and observes the ideological nonsense of challenging science.

The disloyal and subversive Dutton-Morrison Regime is failing its obligations to the nation. It is at the heart of a national crisis and they have again failed the test of democracy and service.

James McDonald
4 January 2020