Everyone knows that the main reason the
fire seasons are getting longer is because of climate change, even the deniers. The 2008 Garnaut Climate Change
Review, which examined the scientific evidence around the impacts of climate
change on Australia and its economy, predicted that without adequate action,
the nation would face a more frequent and intense fire season by 20201.
This is what we are seeing now. The Coalition government are in part to blame
because they have denied the reality of climate change for the last decade,
ever since Tony Abbott took over the leadership of the then Opposition from
Malcolm Turnbull. Remember, it was Tony Abbott who labelled climate science as ‘crap’. The government have also ignored more recent warnings from former fire
chiefs about the likelihood that this fire season would be a catastrophic one2.
As a consequence, the government is
looking around for someone to blame. It was initially the beetrooter, Barnaby
Joyce, who fingered the Greens for preventing hazard reduction. This turned out
to be a lie (quelle surprise!), as hazard reduction burns are actually part of
Greens policy. The idiot National Party leader Michael McCormack then blamed
child arsonists3. In desperation, Murdoch’s The Australian, in the
persons of David Ross and Imogen Reid have fanned the flames of this lie
(excuse pun), by stating that many alleged arsonists have been arrested since
the start of 2019, with 29 blazes deliberately lit in the Shoalhaven region of
southeast New South Wales (NSW) between July and September 2019, while the
Kempsey Local government area recorded 27 deliberately lit fires, presumably in
the same time interval. They then state that 183 people have been arrested for
lighting fires across Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania4.
This is the lie.
NSW Police have stated that 24 people have
been arrested for starting bushfires this season, while 53 people have had legal
action taken against them for breaching total fire bans, and 47 have had legal
action taken against them for throwing lit cigarettes or matches on vegetated
In Victoria the figure of 43 given is for
all of 2019, not just the current fire season. In fact, a Victoria police
spokeswoman stated: “There is currently no intelligence
to indicate that the fires in East Gippsland and the North East have been
caused by arson or any other suspicious behaviour”6.
was also stated by Ross and Reid that 101 individuals from Queensland who were
“picked up for setting fires in the bush”. However, a Queensland police
spokeswoman said the figure included a broader range of offences than arson,
including the breaching of total fire bans, and was not a total of arrests, but
a total of ‘police enforcement actions’. Queensland police said between 10
September and 8 January there had been 1,068 reported bushfires in the state,
of which 114 had been deliberately or maliciously lit through human involvement
(not necessarily arson) and have been subject to police enforcement action.
That is a rate of 10.7%, and is roughly consistent with the 13% proportion of
bushfires considered to be certainly deliberately lit, as determined by the
Australian Institute of Criminology.
These lies spread by Murdoch ‘ruperters’
at The Australian have been picked up by the halfwit progeny of the Halfwit-in-Chief,
Donald Trump, and all sorts of right wing fruitcakes in Australia and around
the world. It is no wonder many of the decent journalists, those with some
integrity (yes there were a few) are leaving the Murdoch media8. Despite
this, there will always be those with little or no integrity who will continue
the climate change denialism. We need to make them pay, because they are aiding
and abetting perhaps the worst crime against humanity ever committed.
- Ross, D. & Reid, I., 2020. Bushfires: Firebugs fuelling crisis as
national arson arrest toll hits 183. The
Australian, January 8