Source Financial Review
The political war of words over whether climate change was to blame for the bushfire crisis and whether now was the time to talk about it heated up on
Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce blamed Labor and the Greens for poor bushfire preparation, suggesting authorities were hampered by environmental
laws, while a Greens senator called the Nationals "arsonists" for backing the coal industry.
Aaron Crowe, with his three-year-old daughter Pepper, lost his house on Friday and says now is the time to talk about climate change. Pallavi Singhal
Mr Joyce acknowledged damage caused by climate change and dry conditions from drought, but said Greens MP Adam Bandt was wrong to suggest an end to coal production would minimise the fire season, which has so far taken three lives.
"There's no policy domestically in Australia that is going to have any effect on the climate whatsoever. There are a range of things that effect the climate
and on a global scale you can be part of it but there are other issues as well," Mr Joyce said.
"I acknowledge that the two people who died were most likely people who voted for the Green party, so I'm not going to start attacking them.
"To make the spurious link that a policy change would have stopped the fires is so insulting and just completely beyond the pale."
In Parliament, Greens senator Jordan Steele-John was admonished for accusing the Coalition of being derelict in its duty for backing coal. "You are no
better than a bunch of arsonists, borderline arsonists," he said. "You should be ashamed."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for calm late Tuesday saying the "last thing that people in an urgent crisis need at the moment is hearing politicians
shout at each other.
"There have been a lot of provocative comments made over the last few days from all sides of the debate and I find it very unhelpful," Mr Morrison told
reporters in Canberra.
"There is a time and a place to debate controversial issues and important issues, right now it's important to focus on the needs of Australians who need
But some bushfire victims disagreed. Aaron Crowe, 38, declared now was precisely the right time to talk about climate change, moments after tipping the
burnt remains of his family home onto the footpath outside NSW Parliament,
Mr Crowe lost his two-bedroom home – which he shared with his wife and three-year-old daughter – on Friday after a fire tore through the tiny community
of Warrawillah on the state's mid-north coast.
Standing among hundreds of protesters on Sydney's Macquarie Street, Mr Crowe held up an old compost bin from his home – which he had built himself – and
tipped the charred remnants onto the footpath.
"In this bucket is my house," Mr Crowe told the crowd, gathered to protest a bill relating to mining approvals and greenhouse gas emissions.
Benjamin Huie, 57, also joined the protest after evacuating his family home in Great Mackerel Beach, which borders Ku- Ring-Gai Chase National Park in
Sydney's northern fringe.
Mr Huie said there has never been a better time to talk about climate change.
"We do understand that these bushfires aren't caused by climate change, but they are encouraged by climate change, the changing climate creates better
conditions for these things to exist and when you have a day like today, on top of everything – it is out of hand," he said.
A traditionally conservative voter, Mr Huie said those gathered at the protest were closer to his political outlook than his party.
"A conservative would want to be sure, would want to be safe, and would want to take action before it happens so you're not just lying back and going,
'oh, here it all comes'," he said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has hit back at questions linking fires raging around the state to climate change, insisting now was not the time to discuss
the issue – a sentiment Mr Crowe dismissed.
"When's the time to talk about climate change then, if I'm standing in the wreckage of my own house," he said while speaking to reporters.
"We had ample time to prepare and they're talking about hopes and dreams, thoughts and prayers, miracles and heroes – it's not realistic."