Burning questions

To keep things ticking over, some factless musings on the bushfire situation.

Time for a new thread. While I’m about it, two points about the bushfire crisis. To start with the obvious: it would be really interesting to see an opinion poll right now, but being what time of year it is, there are no polls to be had. Even if you remain skeptical-or-worse about the value of voting intention polling in the wake of last year’s debacle, some personal ratings on Scott Morrison would undoubtedly offer a helpful objective measure of how his image is bearing up after what has clearly been a tough couple of weeks. If you take your cues from social media, you may have concluded by now that Morrison’s career is as good as over. But if the last few years have taught us nothing else, it’s that that’s usually not a good idea. However, a News Corp pundit who generally doesn’t partake of the organisational kool-aid may have been on to something when he noted that this apprehension was “probably what tricked Morrison into thinking that all the outrage against him was confected and so he might as well go catch some rays”.

A second, less obvious point relates to an Eden-Monaro by-election that some readers of Canberra tea leaves assured us was on the cards, with one such ($) relating a view that Labor member Mike Kelly would be “gone by Christmas”. These reports asserted that the by-election would be used by state Nationals leader John Barilaro to enter federal politics with a view to deposing struggling party leader Michael McCormack. But if it’s the case that the government has suffered a bushfire-related hit to its standing, the thought of taking on a Labor-held seat at a by-election may have lost its appeal. The once-bellwether seat covers some of the worst affected areas, including the town of Cobargo, where Morrison met a hostile reception on Thursday from locals who — depending on your right-wing news source of choice — are either in no way representative of the town, or all too representative of it.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

3,738 comments on “Burning questions”

  1. Thenkew Mr Bowe. Now if only this thread can start and stay as peaceful as the last one ended it’ll be a great day in the morning.

  2. From previous thread:

    “The thing about the Morrison ad is that the LNP seems to make no distinction between what is an official government announcement and what is party political.”

    Which kinda makes me wonder…..who paid for it, the Liberal Party or the Govt??

    Yup, some polling would interesting but i think almost impossible to do at the moment. Lots of people with too much else to do and think about.

  3. On social media

    There is always a bit of partisan noise but this has become so big that it is starting to move beyond the usual political bubble to now being talked about by people that don’t usually make political comments.

    Has I wrote earlier many Liberals seem to be at a lost on how to counter the onslaught and the fact the PM felt the need to justify the ad shows he is feeling the political pressure. I did hear from one Liberal contact that was once a candidate so has completed the candidate training program and he just couldn’t believe they ran that ad.

    I think Morrison is safe for the simple reason there isn’t a clear alternative that doesn’t come with political baggage.

  4. @BelindaJones68
    ·
    5h
    The same PM who tried to shut-down Foodbank a few months ago is now retweeting them!

    You couldn’t write this shit.

  5. Thank you to bludgers who kept posting last night. I slept for a few hours and then was able to be in touch with what was happening through you all, more broadly than just the ABC updates and the firies’ webs. And very satisfying to read the criticisms of the PM.

    But I did feel guilty, drinking tea and breathing in smoke-free air in comfort, while there is such chaos not so very far away.

  6. @RonniSalt
    ·
    5h
    This is another one of your relentless lies.

    Otherwise the message would say: “Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra.”

    You did this under the Liberal party’s banner so you could escape FOI scrutiny & the necessary levels of normal government authorisation required.

    ***
    Scott Morrison
    @ScottMorrisonMP
    · 6h
    It is a legal requirement in Australia to include an authorisation on all video messages used on social media by Australian MPs. The video message simply communicates the Government’s policy decisions and the actions the Government is undertaking to the public.

  7. I hope you all caught up with this.

    Australia Defence Association
    @austdef
    · 9h
    1) Party-political advertising milking ADF support to civil agencies fighting bushfires is a clear breach of the (reciprocal) non-partisanship convention applying to both the ADF & Ministers/MPs.
    2) Also cliche-ridden.
    3) Its “defence force”, not “Defence Force”. #auspol #ausdef https://twitter.com/LiberalAus/status/1213346009947893764

  8. Meanwhile in the opposite (north west) corner of Oz, a large low has formed. At this stage forecast to land around the Hedland area as a low level cyclone during the week. That is normal, but it is the one behind it (on the 10 day guesstimates) that worries me a bit more. It is going to have more time to develop and the northern oceans are very warm from what I can gather.

    Best wishes to those Bludgers with either loved ones or themselves in the present distress.

  9. Mike Carlton
    @MikeCarlton01
    · 35m
    Breathtaking NASA image of carbon from our fires heading across the Pacific to South America. But not to worry: #ScottyfromMarketing has made an ad.

    Rob Gell ⚡️
    @robgell
    ·
    5m
    I once met Prof Sherwood Rowland, American Nobel laureate, father of acid rain research and then ozone depletion chemistry. He explained that climate change hadn’t had an ‘ozone hole moment’, something to galvanise global action. It has now.

  10. To all those that voted for this shit stain of a government, I hope you are enjoying reaping what you sowed. For everyone else I have no words to express my feelings. Be safe.

  11. A poll or two would be interesting but I wonder how it would go about representing the views of the bushfire victims/survivors, considering that polling them right now would be impossible, not to mention highly inappropriate. A poll now would probably lack any input from those who have been most adversely impacted. It would still be very interesting to see how the rest of the population sees things though.

  12. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Rob Harris reports that Morrison says he will pursue “restraint” and a “de-escalation” of tensions in the Middle East after admitting his government was blindsided by US President Donald Trump’s decision to take out a top Iranian military commander in a Baghdad air strike.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/pm-calls-for-restraint-of-us-iran-tensions-as-embassy-locked-down-20200104-p53orx.html
    Mark Humphries takes a good swipe at Morrison’s leadership style.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/scott-morrison-s-leadership-style-it-s-just-not-cricket-20200103-p53oly.html
    Katharine Murphy writes that Morrison’s promotional video was staggeringly objectionable and highlights his failure to lead.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/04/scott-morrisons-political-ad-is-a-bizarre-act-of-self-love-as-firefighters-battle-to-save-australia
    Lee Duffield says Prime Minister Scott Morrison came back to Australia from holidays literally under a dark cloud and questions remain about how he has been handling things.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/questions-for-scott-morrison-after-deserting-a-nation-in-need-of-leadership,13455
    Andrew Tate opines that out of control wedge politics finally burns the arsonist-in-chief. This is a good read.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2020/01/04/scott-morrison-bushfire-history/
    From May 2018 to January 2020, the Coalition government has had an evolving stance on the fire crisis chronicles Stephanie Convey.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/04/morrisons-government-on-the-bushfires-from-attacking-climate-lunatics-to-calling-in-the-troops
    The New Daily reports on Morrison being lashed for his ‘partisan’ ad exploiting ADF’s role in the bushfire fight.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2020/01/05/scott-morrison-adf-ad-bushfire/
    Nick Cohen says Australia’s pathetic PM reveals much about the right’s effort to deny reality.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/04/australias-pathetic-pm-reveals-much-about-the-rights-efforts-to-deny-reality
    According to Mike Foley bushfire expert Ross Bradstock says investment needs to jump to half a billion dollars a year in NSW alone just to keep pace with the increasing bushfire threat.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/fivefold-increase-in-funding-for-hazard-reduction-burns-needed-experts-warn-20200103-p53om0.html
    Former Sydney Swan player Brendan Jack laments the hesitation to act on climate change and bushfire preparedness.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/never-again-should-we-hesitate-the-climate-emergency-is-here-20200102-p53ofh.html
    Jacqui Maley wonders what a Prime Minister Tony Abbott would have done in this bushfire event.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/the-strangest-of-thought-experiments-what-would-prime-minister-tony-abbott-have-done-during-the-bushfires-crisis-20200103-p53oj5.html
    Waleed Aly describes the 2010s as the decade we turned inward and away from others.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/it-was-the-decade-we-turned-inward-and-away-from-others-20200102-p53o9w.html
    If you don’t like sticking your finger down your throat then try this!
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/03/trump-florida-evangelical-rally-king-jesus

    Cartoon Corner – more savaging of Morrison and his government.

    Matt Golding


    Matt Davidson

    Mark David


    Peter Broelman

    From the US






  13. Norwester

    “ Murdoch media. What can be done to stop the wilful disinformation?
    Serious question.
    Cos it is now fucking serious.”
    ——————-

    I have believed and said repeatedly, going back to the ‘70s when i joined the Party for a few years, and when the labour movement was much stronger that it should have funded a proper left wing media as a counter to Packer and Murdoch and then when in government move against monopolies in the media.

    It has never done that and now i am not sure what can be done. The labour movement is weaker and the Labor Party seems to lack any shared conviction. It never seems to have or pursue long term strategic goals.

  14. Kerry Glover
    @TheRealKerryG
    ·
    27m
    The fires started in early September claiming victims by October. Do only fires, lives and property count south of Sydney? A myth is being created that this crisis started in November, it did not. It started right at the start of spring – 4 MONTHS AGO in northern NSW & Qld.

  15. morning all

    There is a rain band coming through parts of Victoria. Fingers crossed it reaches fire affected areas. Every bit helps

  16. Murdoch media. What can be done to stop the wilful disinformation?

    Not much, but we don’t have to pay for it. It would be great if everyone who isn’t a hard right ideologue refused to buy or subscribe to any Newcorp product – a Liverpool-style boycott.

  17. From BK’s dawn patrol.

    Rob Harris reports that Morrison says he will pursue “restraint” and a “de-escalation” of tensions in the Middle East after admitting his government was blindsided by US President Donald Trump’s decision to take out a top Iranian military commander in a Baghdad air strike.

    Morrison seems to have been blindsided by the whole “How to be an effective PM” thingy, as well as Climate Change.

  18. Morning all and thanks for the round up BK. I hope any bludgers living near fires are personally ok and their homes too.

    On Morrison the advertising of government aid added insult to injury. It is all a political game to him, from the forced shaking of hands, to using the ADF as a political tool. Bad enough in an election campaign, but to do it while thousands of people are losing their homes and dozens their lives, is unforgivable. Australia elected a sociopath.

    Secondly, the ease with which Morrison allocated several hundred million $ to implement the new bushfire aid measures, without even meeting cabinet, shows his arbitrary approach to power. These measures should have been taken months ago. First we did not have enough money. Then it was a state issue. Then it would take too long to get aircraft modified. All it really took was a few days of bad publicity. The current actions, while welcome, prove that all previous excuses not to act were lies.

    So our PM appears to be a liar and a sociopath. He is not Australia’s Dubbya Bush. He is Australia’s Nixon.

  19. Good article from ex Swan Brandon Jack in BK’s Dawn Patrol. The sentiment expressed by him would I think be happening with a lot of people at the moment. Especially this……

    ….”But as I find myself having daily conversations about the fires with friends who have never considered the intensifying risk of climate change or its likely impact in Australia, I don’t think I am the only one realising I’ve been asleep. Far too many of us have left it too late, and far too many of us have accepted leaders who do the same.”………

  20. “So our PM appears to be a liar and a sociopath. He is not Australia’s Dubbya Bush. He is Australia’s Nixon.”

    Except that Nixon was reasonably competent.

  21. https://www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/Psychology-topics/Climate-change-psychology/Climate-change

    pg. 28

    Show that climate change is happening now, not just in the future
     To counter the cognitive bias tendency to discounts threats that are far away from us in time, climate change also needs to be presented as a present risk rather than just a future risk.
     Make climate change conversations about impacts of climate change for specific localities and communities that are already happening, like changed weather patterns, increased risk of drought, bushfires, increased spread of infectious diseases, failing crops, heatwaves, or rising prices of electricity, water and food (CRED, 2014).

    A WORD OF CAUTION IN LINKING EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
    Social scientists argue that making links between extreme weather events and climate change is a way of building awareness and conviction around climate change. Because the weather events are personal, emotional, can be seen, felt and lived through, they can help climate change feel more real and salient. Critically, though, personal experiences of extreme weather events per se do not change climate change beliefs and behaviour. Any increase in psychological adaptation and behavioural engagement (action) requires the crucial perception and attribution that climate change was a probable contributing cause of the weather event (Reser & Bradley, 2014; Brügger, Morton, & Dessai, 2015).
    Also, there is a risk that using extreme weather events as a proxy for climate change trivialises and normalises the problem when in fact climate change is much, much more than just extreme weather events. It is a wholly unprecedented, cataclysmic, continuous global disaster, and it exacerbates all other problems around the world.

    The crucial thing is that there has to be a link in peoples minds. If you believe that climate change is fundamentally a “green left extremist plot” the country could burn to the ground and there still would be no linkage made.

    That is the payoff from a 30+ year propaganda war against climate change being fought to protect the fossil fuel industries.

  22. Steve

    Nixon was highly intelligent, though he was disastrously incompetent at running the country. The US economy tanked under him as well as Watergate and his destroying the Paris peace talks on Vietnam.

    I have said before Scomo reminds me of Sir Joh from Qld.

  23. Morrison says everything’s under control and then comes in over the top and mucks it up himself.

    Bevan Shields
    @BevanShields
    ·
    9m
    Breaking: RFS chief Shane Fitzsimmons says Scott Morrison’s decision to deploy Army reservists will make the RFS’s job even harder.

    He says he was not told of the decision in advance and has complained to the PM’s office.

  24. For the benefit of Mr Bowe, as I said before Christmas, I spoke with Mike Kelly’s Chief of Staff at the Per Capita conference and I was told what his medical condition was, that it was of short term concern only and that he wasn’t going anywhere, especially not to let that creep Barilaro in. 🙂

  25. lizzie @ #28 Sunday, January 5th, 2020 – 7:53 am

    Morrison says everything’s under control and then comes in over the top and mucks it up himself.

    Bevan Shields
    @BevanShields
    ·
    9m
    Breaking: RFS chief Shane Fitzsimmons says Scott Morrison’s decision to deploy Army reservists will make the RFS’s job even harder.

    He says he was not told of the decision in advance and has complained to the PM’s office.

    Oh my god, can you imagine what organising a bunch of Army Reservists, with no particular training in fighting bushfires, in the teeth of massive fires, is going to be like! 😯

  26. Steve777 @ #21 Sunday, January 5th, 2020 – 4:35 am

    Murdoch media. What can be done to stop the wilful disinformation?

    Not much, but we don’t have to pay for it. It would be great if everyone who isn’t a hard right ideologue refused to buy or subscribe to any Newcorp product – a Liverpool-style boycott.

    Agreed we can’t do much *legally*. But if we don’t do something about them we are eff’d.

  27. bakunin
    Thanks for that link. I have long been concerned about the self-defeating vulnerabilities involved in all out catastrophism.

  28. Boerwar

    Pointing out that longer and stronger fire seasons is an expected consequence of climate change is not ‘catastrophism’ . No “we’re all DOOOOMED” required, that possibility is for all to see on their tv screens

  29. Mexicanbeemer @ #15 Sunday, January 5th, 2020 – 7:27 am

    The Daily Telegraph is running a dob in dole bludger article.

    Stuart Robert running interference for his Evo mate, Scott. I hope it blows up in their smug faces when someone dobs in a ‘Dole Bludger’ who also happens to be a Volunteer Firefighter that has been battling the bushfires.

  30. C@t,
    I’d Think they’d be used more in logistics roles E.G carting water, moving people, catering, communications etc. pretty much what the regs have been doing the last couple of months. Where troops could be more involved for front line roles would be engineers with heavy equipment for clearing access tracks and cutting fire breaks, that sort of thing. When I were a weekend warrior we did some basic training for fire fighting with the local brigades so if needed we could step in with a few experienced members without being complete newbies. Granted, this was back in the 80’s and I’ve got no idea if the situation is still the same now.

  31. So our PM appears to be a liar and a sociopath. He is not Australia’s Dubbya Bush. He is Australia’s Nixon.

    No, he’s our Trump. Trump obviously realises that, hence the warm embrace in the US.

  32. Further to Shane Fitzsimmons comments about the army reservists, there is also this detail in the SMh article:

    “Defense brigadier Mick Garraway said the focus would be on identifying the people with the skills – such as engineering and logistical expertise – to assist the state services in the recovery effort.

    “That will be done over the coming months,” he said.”

    Over coming months?! So even Morrison’s “actions” are designed primarily to be seen to do something, not to make a difference.

  33. Morrison is a bona fide idiot and perhaps as Socrates stated, a sociopath.

    This is the first bit of actual rain we’ve had in my part of world for ages. The fires that have been burning near me all week, may finally get some moisture to stop it in its tracks.

    My Express wish is for meaningful rain to find its way to the east

  34. Morrison, like Trump and like Johnson is a post-truth, post-shame politician.
    Basically, Morrison is prepared to lie without shame.
    What was true yesterday is untrue today.
    What was supported yesterday is decried today.
    What was decried yesterday is supported today.
    Morrison fakes whatever needs faking: empathy, sympathy, concern…
    Morrison spends hundreds of millions on media management.
    Morrison’s public persona is a 100% managed and controlled.
    Morrison’s fundamentals are zero accountability, zero commitment to the truth, 100% commitment to whatever fakes it takes.

    But, with these fires, with the all-pervasive social media and with the all-pervasive phone cameras, all of the above fell to pieces. The emperor has no clothes.

  35. See new Tweets
    Conversation
    Bevan Shields
    @BevanShields
    ·
    12m
    Gladys Berejiklian and Shane Fitzsimmons are about to have a press conference so let’s see what they have to say about this.
    Quote Tweet

    Bevan Shields
    @BevanShields
    · 31m
    Breaking: RFS chief Shane Fitzsimmons says Scott Morrison’s decision to deploy Army reservists will make the RFS’s job even harder.

    He says he was not told of the decision in advance and has complained to the PM’s office.

    https://smh.com.au/national/nsw/nsw-fires-live-updates-southern-highlands-hit-as-rfs-warns-of-property-loss-and-damage-to-south-coast-20200105-p53ovx.html
    Tofoa felix
    @Tofoafelix
    Replying to
    @BevanShields
    and
    @ItsBouquet
    The Commissioner is clearly right. An uncoordinated response is worse than no response at all.
    Funny too that a day or so ago Smirko was saying that the reason these things hadn’t been done before was that they needed to consult with the States and have a coordinated response…

  36. Over coming months?! So even Morrison’s “actions” are designed primarily to be seen to do something, not to make a difference.

    It was ever thus. Maybe Morrison has plans for them to, ‘Rake the Forests clean’, a la Trump. Morrison is also a devious cnut like that. Make a big splash announcement which seems fair enough but use that as cover to advance the more negative aspects of his ‘plan’, such as he kept referring to sotto voce amongst all the garbled spin last week, ie ‘Hazard Reduction’.

    Imagine that, you join the Army Reserve to do good and have a bit of fun with your mates on the weekends, but you end up being ordered by a religious zealot to destroy the natural environment. I’d just throw my rake down and leave.

  37. From the Daily Tellmecrap What a guy. Rupert not giving up on Scott Trump yet.

    Exclusive ScoMo interview Jan 5, 2019
    SCOMO: ‘GIVE US A HUG OR JUST FLIP ME THE BIRD’

  38. Is this describing something Morrison said today or earlier? I can only access the headline in the Canberra Times:

    JANUARY 5 2020 – 7:41AM
    Scott Morrison defends bushfire video

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended a video posted on social media detailing the government’s bushfire response after it was labelled

  39. Bevan Shields
    @BevanShields
    ·
    2m
    Gladys Berejiklian says a man died in the fire at Batlow last night after suffering a heart attack.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *