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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 15 February 2009
Sunday political talkies: Bushfire pall of loss, pain, confused anger and guilt despite $42 billion stimulus
Topic: big media


Picture from Fairfax press of the farmland surrounding the badly hit towns of Kinglake West and Kinglake, which fire break did not protect from a firestorm that originated on farm, plantation, and state forest for logging.

Author's general introductory note

This is not a well packaged story. It's a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies in Big Politics and Big Media.

For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don't really give you the image content value.

Media backgrounders

*Andrew O'Keefe proves his worth with one comment about 'cool Greg Brady with his lava lamp'.

* Laurie Oaks homes in on Gary Nairn fairly politicized bushfire inquiry frozen out by the ALP states, not least NSW which had done most of the hard work since 1994 in policy adaptations.

* Steve Price Sydney Sunday Telegraph declines the greenie bashing blame game unlike a certain opinion writer colleague based in a sister paper in Melbourne. Price here, and we heartily concur:

A bit too early to point fingers | The Daily Telegraph By Steve Price. February 14, 2009

10 Meet the Press: 8- 8-30 am

Inner Melbourne MP Lindsay Tanner as Finance Minister on stimulus 2 rationale re lurch of nation into debt. Speculations about Shadow Treasurer. Looking fatigued and sad too.

Out take with MP for McMillan Russell Broadbent emotional speech on bushfire impact with Wilson Tuckey MP asleep/unmoving for 30 second grab.

Panel on the couch new set, Jennifer Hewitt and Milne news corp.

Milne quotes ABN Amro critique of not economy building. Tanner disagrees firmly.

JH raises pressure on maternity leave. Missed answer deliberate droning (?).

PB- going to call an election early by end of this year?

2nd out take Moir cartoons.

Second guest Dr Damon Muller, criminologist, lack of research. Needs to be in the Royal Commission. Cost of $1.6B per year from arson, that includes structural value.

When it comes to bushfire hard to value heritage loss, tackling will free up resources a lot.

Crime reduction to monitor known arsonists. Other states follow South Australia example. Bureaucratic infighting question.

Younger males of lower socio economic, quite likely from the same area for familiarity and escape from fire. This is rich best part of the interview and very valuable info.

Q, fair line of inquiry from JH re arson as scapegoating re other policy failures natural bushfires. Agrees only one part of the solution. Anger of public noted.

Out take shows journos pursuing the conversation.

Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.

Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am

Bushfire round up, upset pollies, Rudd hugs, Gillard, Broadbent as ex fire crew at Beaconsfield, upsetting just to write a report here. Ends on the point "mass murder".

Q&A Riles says voice of the people wavered, cracked, etc. Very difficult of the parliament regarding laws, but also voice of the nation.

Q re playing politics? Govt stumbled stimulus linked to this package. Reasonable to link to public housing and relief, but seen as threat to those undecided vote.

Notes Xenophon incredible success as independent in making a deal.


9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am

Julie Gillard as deputy PM. Looking fatigued and sad. Q re federal govt role. Recovery Authority being set up.

Criticism of state govt re factors, clearing vegetation around homes, hazard reduction of national parks, building and planning rules.

Says extreme yes, but extreme weather huge and unprecedented event. Not about laying blame, about bringing people together.

LO - host of inquiries. Same recommendations. Disagrees everyone will want to hear this RC and nationally will want to see action. [misconception in question that it?s all the same - but it's not]

LO re fires in 5 states including ACT [that last one is the real escalation] not acted upon, why not?

JG - can't speak for the past.

Topic moves on to the stimulus package.


Insiders 2: 9- 10am

Panel - KA Walsh, Sun Herald Sydney Fairfax, Atkins Qld Courier Mail news corp, Bolt Melb Sun Herald news corp,

Bolt hammers lack of hazard reduction, Barry Cassidy draws him back to hazard reduction around the towns impacted not just the forest [perhaps realizing it's not conservation reserves that carried the firestorm.

Minister Jenny Macklin interviewed about how to rebuild.

Film grab of PM Rudd praising MP Bailey for being out in the electorate, highly marginal seat.

Fran Bailey MP for McEwen covering most of the impacted area. Focused on the future. How to rebuild. Get communities involved in that. Refers Bolt on fuel reduction. "Enormous area" to address she says.

[Consider this comment by "Mark of Moorabin" on an Andrew Bolt Melbourne Sun Herald blog of 12 Feb 2009

Just in case it escaped anyone's attention, a repost from yesterday's article on the fires:

There is a 150 meter wide "fire break" (under the high tension power lines) about 2km north west of Kinglake.

Crown fires create sheets of flame hundreds of metres wide that speed up hill at furious speed and spot kilometres ahead.

In 2008, an area of approximately 8 square km was burnt as a fuel reduction measure. This area is approximately 1 km north west of Marysville.

So, did your firebreak and fuel reduction burn work?

What are you gonna do now, cut down all forests? Replace them with plantations that are even more flammable? Even houses in the middle of paddocks were burnt out. But you just keep denying everything that?s going on with the climate despite all the evidence that is clear to the rest of us as that ugly red nose on your face.

I am also distressed by these events but I cannot sit back and let people exploit the emotional sensitivity and desperation of the moment to push half-baked and ignorant agendas that will lull people into a false sense of security.

In Victoria, these conflagrations are, and always will be, inevitable.


[same reader with later comment which does look quite instructive]

How about some more facts instead of emotional outbursts?

Kinglake fire:

Fire started with powerline in cleared farmland.

Then hit pine plantations and jumped Hume Hwy.

Back into farmland.

Hits more plantations.

Back into farmland with pockets of forest.

(all privately owned so far)

Fire enters publicly owned forest that is managed for timber production (featuring lots of clear-fells and regrowth).

HitsKinglake National Park. Mainly `39 regrowth with some old growth.

(back into privately owned land)

Exits park and hits more plantations.

Enters more farmland with scattered trees and pockets of bush scattered with houses.

Hitting, en route, Clonbinane, Wandong, Humevale, Kinglake West, Strathewen, Kinglake and jumping a 150 metre powerline fire break.

So where does the fuel reduction help here?

It's a beat-up. Fuel reduction will not stop bushfires and, as I have shown with earlier comments on Marysville, is of limited value. Even with fuel reduction burns the bush will still monster up like last Saturday.

The myth and misinformation you are pedalling will only result in a false sense of security leading to more disasters of this kind. That?s more children, women and men who will eventually die if reactionaries gain any purchase over public policy. It?s populist drivel.

As for David "eco-terrorists waging jihad" Packham, Athol Hodgson and Peter Attiwell, they are fossilised '39 relics who need to move with the times and stop grandstanding. Once things have settled down, I expect that plenty of experts with both sensitivity to the moment and a more considered approach to the science will make their cases.

Now, how about looking at some of the facts instead of shrill and emotional, ill-informed rhetoric?


Notes the kindergartens and schools were out on Saturday but that would have been incomprehensible.

BC notes "pity" about class legal action story arising so early (why?) [over a electricity pole and 1 km snapped power line and whipping the ground in the high wind and sparking on the ground.]

Everyperson segment - Q re politicians performance, response of victims showed they were appreciated.

Senator Brown notes fear of question time by major parties quarreling at time of a national tragedy.

Discussion of linking bushfire with stimulus package. Panel and implied gallery see it as despicable.

Senator Xenophon looking better slept. Argues money brought forward [but in a deficit that's priority over money that doesn't exist.]. Got 900M not 4B still effective relying on experts.

Bolt says 35B deficit on measures won?t help us pay it back.

[This is very arguable, less congested city economically more efficient, less health costs from cooler homes with oldies dying in summer, other economic benefits to account for? Tanner contests the point.]

Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/

Posted by editor at 12:19 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 15 February 2009 3:46 PM EADT

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