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More photos.

From Tannon.

New life emerging.

Although the fire got to 50 metres above my cabin there is still a lot to burn as the rain forest trees are now dropping their leaves due to lack of water.

Dion surveying the fire’s path.


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Tannon’s photos.

Huge thanks to Tannon and Dion’s visit from Perth. You both let me rave on about the reality of living surrounded by fire, on and of since September, you cooked and prepared super meals with finger limes in cous cous salads and we danced and laughed.

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January 6, 2020 · 3:24 am

Scattering lomandra seed.

With the visit of Tannon and Dion, we ventured up into the fire scarred hectares above my cabin.

I will be posting Tannon’s superb collection of photos soon.

Tannon scattering lomandra see on the fire edge.

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Jingle jingle, spin, spin, ad man.

As the bushfire crisis became even more grave, the PM’s office released his promises of ships and troops to music. Yes, a jingle

Scott Morrison
The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, discusses the government’s response to the bushfire crisis at Parliament House. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

These days have shown us once again who we are: so patient, so obedient. We do what we’re told. The order goes out to empty the district and the district hits the road. Of course there are holdouts. Tempers flare. How many times have we heard that beep on the radio that hides a heartfelt “Fuck!”

We wait in the smoke for hours for a place on the boat, for a sandwich, to get past the next roadblock. Queues for Woolworths and Caltex are so orderly. We don’t need to be told, as the prime minister told us again today: “Stay patient.” We do.

Disappointment came early with the sight of David Elliott, the widely disliked New South Wales emergency services minister, back from his European holidays and back on the job. For a time at his premier’s press conference all that could be seen of him was an unhappy face over a gut hanging out of his trousers. Then he had his moment: “I came to step up not step down.”

Australian politics has to change for ever when your own citizens cannot sleep or breathe

Cynthia Banham Read more

When Gladys Berejiklian looks pained, you feel it in your guts. That she can’t sack this man tells us a lot about the state of NSW politics. Elliott is a boss of the far-right faction of the Liberal party, the men and women who stand for Christ, coal and the cops. Were she to touch Elliott, they could bring her down.

It was a morning of warnings. Fire chiefs repeated news of wind and fires and windows for escape about to close down. Big towns were urged to empty. Ovals up and down the coast filled with cars, people and pets.

This isn’t only a bush story. These fires are burning in the holidays. Resorts and beaches under attack have been full of city folk. Facing fire fronts for the first time and scrambling for their lives up the highway will give their views on climate change a particular edge.

Back home their relatives are on the phones. “Are they all right?” is the most asked question of the week. We swap the stories of our family and friends with fear, pride and relief. The footprint of these fires is, more or less, Australia.

As the south-east held its breath, Kangaroo Island blazed. Two more deaths were added to the toll. We were still waiting for the day to unfold as a transformed Scott Morrison faced the press in the courtyard of Parliament House.

Australian politics: subscribe by email

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At last he had something to say. For the first time in weeks, he looked like a prime minister taking charge and promising an “all-out response” to a catastrophe he’s now acknowledging is a very big deal indeed.

Why has it taken him so long? Tough journalists put that question to him again and again. He refused to say. He’s baffling. How much pain he might have saved himself by promising what he promised today a month ago. Would he have been mocked as he was in the ruins of Cobargo, mockery reported around the world? Probably not.

He’s still putting it down to weariness and raw emotions. That’s not what Cobargo people are saying. They thought the efforts of governments to protect them were appalling. They told him so.

Out of the blue, a forgotten figure was mentioned at the podium: the governor general of Australia, David Hurley. He’s been doing some necessary constitutional formalities, signing documents to send the military to the front.

But whatever happened to the convention that the GG represents the nation at times like these? Maybe Hurley is about. Haven’t seen him anywhere. The politicians are grabbing all the attention of the cameras.

Bad as conditions were early in the day, it seemed we had dodged the worst of the predictions. But by the time Morrison finished speaking in the early afternoon, high winds were blasting the south-east coast. It was on again.

Australian PM Scott Morrison agrees to permanently increase aerial firefighting funding

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Midnight returned to Mallacoota. Highways closed. Trains stopped. The fire jumped the Shoalhaven River. Records fell. A note to the elderly: the new Canberra record high temperature of 44C is a tad over 111 on the old scale. How often, if ever, did we experience that when we were kids?Advertisement

Warnings became suddenly more urgent and more sombre. At many points in the hinterland the news could not be worse: “It is now too late to leave. You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive.”

We are in for a terrible night.

As the situation became particularly grave, the prime minister’s office released his promises of ships and troops set to music. Yes, a jingle. This man is inexplicable. You can’t take the marketing out of Scotty …

Please help bees and beekeepers effected by drought and fire.

In bushfires and drought effected areas some bees maybe desperate for water and nutrients.

Please put water out for bees.

Please do not open feed honey or sugar to bees.

Outside feeding of sugar and honey can encourage bees to rob and can lead to disease. Feeding honey outside to bees and animals is illegal in Australia because it is a Biosecurity risk.

Please help bees and beekeepers effected by drought and fire.

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No wonder Australia still has an English/german Queen.

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Christmas passed as another day but with a difference from 70 days before when light rain fell.

Smokeless for the first time for weeks,   But our anxiety continues as we hear of the total destruction of coastal towns and the massive fire line galloping across the country.  And as the rain was spasmodic and light here, our rain forest is drying out and beginning to die.

‘We’re taught not to look at the sun. Every child on earth is given the same warning. But in Australia these days you can stare all you like.’ 

We know the sight by heart: corrugated iron on a low pile of ash with a chimney left standing. Another house gone. And the pattern of bushfires is part of our lives too. They burn until a cold wind blows up the coast when it buckets down dousing the flames.
But that’s not the pattern now. The downpour has been postponed officially until late January. Things are looking up: it was April. Either way the experts are saying the weeks ahead are looking dry, tinder dry.
As that news sank in this summer an unfamiliar emotion took hold in Australia: not fear so much as dread. These fires are not going out.
We know the language of fires. All our lives we’ve waited to hear a blaze is “under control”. Sweet words. But these days they come with a caveat: only for a few days until the wind shifts and the fire jumps the lines.
And the rain never comes.

We know this disaster is unprecedented – no amount of Scott Morrison spin can hide it
Lenore Taylor

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We’re used to seeing the bush growing back quickly, green shoots appearing within days on burnt trunks. Eucalypt forests have amazing regenerative powers. But these fires are tearing through ancient forests that have never burnt before. They are done for. And the burnt gums are waiting for rain.
We’re taught not to look at the sun. Every child on earth is given the same warning. But in Australia these days you can stare all you like. Take a good long look at that pink disc sinking in the murk. It can’t do you much harm. It’s been tamed by smoke.
The smoke is new too: cities suffocating. We’re used to a day or two in town when there’s a bit of smoke about and the light turns a horrible yellow. That’s every summer. But this is different. Deep in cities, miles from the fire front, the smoke is so thick you can’t see to the end of the street.
Yet we’ve never seen so much before. Everyone is a photographer now. And until the transmission towers burn and batteries flatten extraordinary images are making their way to the media. We’re seeing these horrors in all their detail.
On the beach at Mallacoota, families sat in the smoke under a sky of flame. It’s all on camera. The scene was repeated up and down the coast. At Malua Bay in New South Wales, children, their parents and grandparents were trapped for a day and night between fires and the sea. They’re safe now but it was a close call.

Already, these scenes are part of the national imagination. Among Australians of a certain age, they stir memories of a Hollywood potboiler about the end of the world filmed 60 years ago in Melbourne. On the Beach starred Ava Gardener, Gregory Peck and Fred Astaire. The remake stars us.

Darkness at noon: Australia’s bushfire day of terror
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One of the duties of a leader is to find the words in times like these. So many have died. So much has been destroyed. But how can Scott Morrison speak to the experience of the country if he can’t admit we are living through unique times? He says instead: “We have faced these disasters before.”
Watch and act, Prime Minister. Watch and act.
If Morrison could face the truth, he might speak not only to his country but the world. If Australia were taking effective action against climate change, this catastrophe would give us the right to demand better of the great rogue states on climate, China and the USA.
We’re doing our bit, he says as the country burns and the world looks on with a mix of pity and scorn.
For empathy, we turn to the plain speech of fire chiefs as they count the toll, giving long lists day after day of destruction, bravery, death and lucky escape in the face of fires these men and women have never seen before.
And on television every night, with looks of professional apology, weathermen and women standing in front of scarlet maps of Australia tell us over and over again the news that makes sense of all these woes: according to the best forecasts, we have at least weeks to wait for rain.
David Marr is a Guardian Australia journalist



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December 30 2019

Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images

  • The Financial Times has joined a number of international publications in condemning Australia’s political inaction on climate change, as bushfires rage around the country.
  • In an editorial, the FT criticised Australia’s “lamentable response” and “inaction” on climate change.
  • It comes amid a firestorm of criticism for Scott Morrison, as he defends his government’s climate policy following his much-criticised family holiday in Hawaii.

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