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Please read carefully as we refuse to learn from even recent history:

This Mannerism from 2009 delivered a very important and topical issue. Bushfires had ripped through Victoria in a disaster now known as Black Saturday. As the event unfolded, and people began rebuilding their lives, the obvious questions were raised: where were governments in the lead up to the devastation and what would they now be doing to help?

And now the bushfires

I often wonder if history is actually being taught in our schools? Our acquiescence to our political masters’ “master plans”, for each crisis that comes along, is a case in point. I know that political leaders say: “Never let a serious crisis go to waste. That is, it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.”

We see it with the unproven global warming crisis, and now with the so-called global financial crisis. Our political leaders have no concept of its cause but propose to plunge further generations into debt. Why? So they can pursue their political ambitions of being re-elected.

History has shown that bail-outs don’t work as effectively as well-reasoned restructuring, where the markets are permitted to do their work again. Instead, in Australia, we have a Prime Minister who tells us that by filling our ceilings with insulated pink batts it will fight back the global financial crisis. Now we have the serious Australian bushfire disaster that has captured the worldwide attention of TV viewers.

Dark green agendas

As an ex-farmer, I am familiar with the ferocity of the oil-laden leaves of our Australian bushland. Fire breaks and clearing the “fuel” of fallen leaves is important.

I’d like to throw down a challenge to our journalists and commentators. Spend a little time contemplating just who is responsible for the severity of the loss of lives and property. As each day passes, it becomes clear that the “dark green” agendas driving state and local government have robbed many unfortunate individuals of the god-given right to protect their own lives and property.

We read of Liam Sheahan, who acted wisely in clearing a firebreak around his property. He was fined $50,000, with an additional $50,000 in legal costs. He now has a criminal record but his home is the only one left standing in his community. Liam’s comment to the media was: “Commonsense is not so common these days.”

My query is when are our journalists and commentators going to take up his case and have his criminal record cleared? How about getting his legal costs refunded by his prosecutors, who history has shown to be of inferior intelligence to him, the victim?

When are our journalist and commentators going to call for the over-zealous prosecutors and framers of such penal legislation to be “named and shamed”? Let’s also name and shame those who found Liam guilty in what appeared to be a Kangaroo Court.

A long line of stories

If you think this is an isolated case then there are many more and anyone who has tried to legally protect their property via Local Government permits, will have their own stories.

Have a look at this further example of the Buxton publican Eric Notley, who, as he saw the fires approaching, leapt into a local government-owned bulldozer to clear away debris. He is now being investigated.

Further stories are here, as some of our notable commentators don’t mind promoting this rare ingredient of commonsense:

Bushfires: the lessons of history, by Peter Westmore, News Weekly

Strictly Dark Green & other articles, by Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun 

Environmentalists accused over hazard reduction, ABC interview with David Packham, Senior Researcher at Monash University

Victoria bushfires stoked by green vote, by David Packham, The Australian


  • Having grown up in rural Victoria with a father who was a policeman and for many years a CFA volunteer, I have some appreciation of what contributes to disastrous bush fires, as against “just” a bush fire. Shire councils in the Yarra Valley and Yarra Ranges areas have largely become dominated by Green ideologists who enact and enforce local government regulations that prevent fire prevention measures. I thought that the Sherbrooke fires several years ago had served as a lesson on the necessity of practical fire prevention measures but clearly that was not the case. It appears that the solutiion must lie in State Government regulations enforcing fire control measures on local government authorities.

  • As you know, our politicians rely on all those city “green office votes”! The same politicians enjoy the power of government – and their self interest prevents them from exposing those who are in the wrong.

    If wiser non government groups stand up – then those politicians use taxpayers money to engage self interest legal argument to defend their evil ways!
    And the media changes to other issues including petty matters until the next lot of deaths and destruction.

  • From a life in the field in 2 nations I have survived thanks to a respect for nature and the application of chicaney when confronted by beaurocrats. My book “Rocks in my Head “gives numerous examples. I summarise environmentalism as “do nothing conservationalism ‘ which has an outlook akin to the Luddites

    I came to W.A.last November to celebrate the induction of my friend E N Milligan into the ” Hall of Fame’ .As worthy of celebration was my view ,from the window of the Indian Pacific of your splendidly tended biota

  • When will we ever learn!! Perhaps never – we will just keep listening to the politicians who fill our newspapers with “warm and fuzzy” garbage that gets them on the front page.
    The lack of sensible logging in our forests merely builds up fodder to burn and yet we cannot learn from the basic survival techniques of the aboriginal people who for centuries burnt and prospered off the land!

    Perhaps we could try some bush medicine on the pollies to give them some real vision that is not polluted by egos and votes!!

  • I could not agree with you more about Liam. He should never have been penalised for clearing the land around his house and should now be recompensed.

    I also think that the street trees in towns and cities in Australia should be kept pruned as they used to be. Much work could be found for those who have lost their jobs if money was spent on this project.

    I was in the 1939 bushfires at Strathalbyn. My parents had a hotel there and my Mother said, “If the fires get through to Strath, pack a little bag and go sit in the creek at the back.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her there had been no water in the creek for weeks. My Dad was also busy in the bar and let it be known that anyone who was fighting the fires would be given free beer. Every drunk in the town turned up with a wet bag over his shoulder.
    The fires burnt out Echunga and Macclesfield but a wind change saved Strathalbyn.
    I wrote this after the Black Wednesday bushfires here when a work mate of mine, Murray Nicholls was the journalist describing the fires which had reached the foothills. He had to describe watching his house and all his possessions being burned to the ground.

    Monstrous flames
    leap through the tree tops
    exploding in orange terror –
    homes and history disappear
    in blazing waves of violence –
    Red eyed and weary,
    they fight in unbearable heat
    to save a neighbour’s home
    while their own dreams
    are swallowed in the holocaust –
    and through this hell on Earth,
    the human spirit rising from the embers,
    reaches out to the bereaved and homeless,
    making the blackened countryside
    a shrine to courage and compassion.

    Nan “Nanushka” Witcomb
    (From Vols 1X. X of The Thoughts of Nanushka copyright Nan Witcomb 1983 and also from Believe in the Dream copyright Nan Witcomb 1999)

  • Victorian Premier, John Brumby has promised a Royal Commission to investigate causes, responses and consequences of the catastrophic super fires of this week. He has assured the Nation that “everything will be on the table”.

    The victims and survivors of this disaster deserve nothing less than absolute honesty and rigour in the intent and methodology of such an investigation. Therein also may be some benefit to the wider community.

    Presumably answers will emerge to questions like the following:
    Why were so many homes surrounded by such dense vegetation?
    Why was such a volume of under storey fuel allowed to build up over many years?
    Did government regulation prevent clearing of vegetation within these communities? If so, on what grounds?
    Are policies espoused by government agencies in relation to vast areas of National Parks prejudicial to community safety?
    Are controlled burns more or less damaging to the ecosystem than Super Fires?

    By all means possible prevent and punish arson, but don’t lose sight of wood for the trees. Super fires occur every thirty years or so when conditions are horrendous – in prolonged stinking heat and gale force winds. They are particularly vicious when there has been a dense build up of under storey fuel. This combination of circumstance has proved horribly painful to human communities before – but in thirty years perhaps the lessons are easily forgotten. There are serious issues here other than arson which we must face without fear or favour.

  • When we are being attacked from all sides, it’s important to make a breakthrough on at least one front, and then regroup to attack the niggly issues.

    The biggest front is the economic one, which includes the proposed carbon tax (emissions trading by any other name is still a carbon tax). A simple and fair taxation system can provide the economic strength to handle Nature’s challenges, and relegation (not regulation) of government to provide a fair field with no favours, can allow human motivation to solve the problems which face us.

    The food supply should be cut off from the parasites who infest our governments and produce Nanny State directives (Daylight ’saving’, fluoride in the water supply, pool fencing – why not, then, fence the creeks, rivers and oceans, and the streams of traffic on the roads for good measure).

    Stability in legislation gives at least some certainty in this uncertain world. But when some twit says ‘Tonight ve vil demand you vill change your clocks to one hour forward, then in a few months, one hour back’ we are relegated to kids in the classroom status. I once had an office manager who wanted daylight saving. I told her to simply come in one hour early, and leave an hour early, and she was never so happy, she missed rush hour.

    Regarding our newly enforced (in Brisbane) medication, fluoride in our water supply, I could go on about that, but I have been told it is time to go home.

  • Recommend reading John Nicholson’s analysis:

    Comments on building in rural areas:

    People wish to build in rural areas around the north-east of Melbourne and other places around Australia – including areas defined as bush-blocks. These are nice places to live for 360 days of the year except for a few days of the year when risk is elevated.

    People experience major delays and high costs building in rural areas that have some bushfire risk. This has imposed costs on families in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In some cases, families have bought a block with a building envelope but have been unable to build for several years, causing significant financial hardship.

    Following Black Saturday, new planning requirements were introduced that require that significant amounts of vegetation are cleared around future buildings in areas of bushfire risk in order to gain planning approval.

    The problems people continue to encounter include: the planning rules aren’t clear; there is a conflict between bushfire planning intended to preserve of life (CFA planning officers) and native vegetation regulation intended to preserve vegetation (council planning); people can take a site-specific approach under regulation – and engage bushfire experts to take a risk-based approach to meet the requirements (the alternative pathway); but there is regulatory uncertainty; government agencies repeatedly request further information and in some cases refuse to engage with site-specific risk based assessments prepared by bushfire experts (because any risk is too much risk).

    One planning document that is written for council staff now states that on a bush block, people will generally be unable to build and applications refused.

    I.e. this advice is not provided to people – but to council staff; it conflicts with peoples’ property rights; there is no compensation payable; and people must invest in a block and go through a planning process that takes years to find out what rules apply; causing significant regulatory uncertainty and imposing large costs.

    There’s further information on these issues scattered in planning documents and media articles around Australia.

  • Hi Ron,

    Thank you for this very clear and timely article.

    I am living in California at the moment watching as the people run around like crazed ants wondering why they have been so hard-hit by bushfires (aka wildfires in the US) and blaming it all on climate change, and the oil and coal companies. Meanwhile they are similarly refusing to do the sensible thing and clear firebreaks around threatened communities and buildings because they are too much in love with their trees.

    I am at a loss to know how to address this craziness effectively.

    They are like a group of people in a small boat drifting slowly and inexorably towards a huge waterfall over which they will all soon tumble to their deaths in the maelstrom below. In the meantime they are desperately praying that the Lord will provide a miracle to save them from this impending disaster, while they steadfastly refuse to pick up the oars and row towards the shore.

  • Thanks for those insightful comments Ron, you should also refer your readers to “Hanrahan”, as it is my strong view that the next climate cycle will be the floods in Australia, and listen to the climate change squawkers find rational for that.

  • All true Ron. Nothing “record” about our temperatures or fires. We live in fake news, fake history, fake education or lack of it.

    Good on you, and merry Christmas.

  • Thanks Ron.

    Bushfires require fuel and an ignition event. The bush supplies the fuel, and the weather can both dry the fuel and billow the fire.

    Australia produces some 1.4% of global CO2 emissions. Let’s imagine that CO2 does contribute to global warming and that if Australia had been more aggressive in reducing emissions, that number could have been 1.2%. The difference is 0.2% of global CO2 emissions.

    As a cause of bushfires, that number would need to be discounted to reflect natural climate change, the fact that short-term weather is not climate, and the fact that neither climate nor weather determine the build-up of fuel. The appropriate size of those discounts is no doubt debateable. Cumulatively, they must be well over 50%.

    It is difficult to see how any lack of aggression in Australia’s reduction of CO2 emissions could have contributed 0.1% or more to the cause of the current calamitous fires.

  • Hi Ron,

    Thanks for that.

    I have some experience with bushfires – our family lost two houses in bushfires and I have fought fires in Queensland and Victoria (when I was younger).

    A large majority of the current fires are lit maliciously. What should we do to punish these criminals and what can we do to deter like-minded people from copying them?

    Wishing you an enjoyable Christmas period and a healthy and successful 2020.

  • Thanks Ron,
    If you don’t know history you repeat it!
    The politicians are either self-interested egotistical rights or green screwed lefties with an agenda!
    The civil libertarians have handcuffed the common man and lost common sense and urgency!
    We now have another god to blame for all bad shit! Climate Change and its fairy tale buddy, sea level rise!

    The Easter bunny, tooth fairy and father Christmas are more real and effective!
    We stand by whilst the government and its agencies allow Cockburn Cement to dredge our recreational assets and make fishing and beaches disappear!
    I had a meeting with the DoT in November with the Ocean Infrastructure engineers and oceanographers and the outcome was farcical!
    Corey, the boss said they just facilitate, Fangjun the engineer said she did not believe Dr Searle research and sampling that Cottesloe sand was 80% silica and feldspar!
    She trusted her university training and her beliefs!
    Demont, the oceanographer said that the department measures erosion, not accretion so if the sand from Cottesloe is at Coogee, it won’t be measured!
    Yes bloody Minister!
    We are controlled by idiots and fools!

    • Peter Schwann doesn’t know his backside from his elbow. The clown just needs to pipe down and snatch those sample bags. We don’t need a gobby fieldie spouting garbage.

  • This is very similar to Roger Underwood’s article. The cause is simple – hateful and ignorant Green policies adopted by governments whose minister know little or nothing about forestry and bushfires, which have destroyed our forest industries, therefore no log roads which also act as fire breaks and access roads for firefighters, fewer people around with experience of forests and bushfires, less machinery and other equipment to be used for fighting fires, fewer cleared areas, and less money from forestry to help pay for the proper maintenance of our forests. Trouble is, most of the nitwits now issuing the orders couldn’t tell the difference between a jarrah tree and a jar of vegemite.

    (My Mum and Dad lived next to the woodchip mill in Manjimup – the mill which was vilified by the Greenunists for “destroying” the forest, when it was started to actually use and make money from the rubbish wood which they had previously just burned or sold as firewood.)

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