No, Scott Morrison, my husband does NOT want to be fighting fires this summer!

Update: This post has now had more than 150,000 views. Thank you to everyone that’s sharing it. I’m sorry if I don’t respond to all your messages. I’m sure you understand.

HERE’S THE ORIGINAL BLOG POST:

This photo was taken ten hours ago. The man in the middle of the photo in the red braces is my husband, Graham King. He’s fighting fires today as a volunteer. His shift won’t be over for a few more hours.

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When I saw this photo, posted by our friend David Glover on our local community page, I briefly had the thought that if anything happens to Graham today, this will be the last photo I have of him, so I saved it. Graham’s a fairly private person and probably won’t be happy that I’m writing about him, but today the Prime Minister was quoted as saying the volunteers “want to be there” and it made me really angry.

Does he honestly think that this is how we want to spend our summer? With Graham away every other day fighting fires, and sleeping or resting on the days in between? We have no idea how many days or weeks this will last. As the Prime Minister uses public money to jet off and have dinner with the Murdochs does he appreciate what it’s like to watch my husband walk in the door again and again with soot all over him and a flimsy disposable face mask between his precious lungs and the toxic smoke? Or how angry I am that the fire fighting budget was allegedly cut last winter by his colleague and fellow Liberal, Gladys Berejiklian in her capacity as our state’s premier? (Please see images below before asking me to fact check). How about some helmets for volunteers with proper filters instead of your ritzy dinner? Does he appreciate that a P2 facemask is the best they can offer my husband, and that on his last shift he came home with a the lower rated P1? The P1 is the kind of thing you put on to move mulch or open a bag of potting mix. Even the P2 is supposed to be well fitted to work properly and nobody seems sure that it’s appropriate for smoke in any case.

Does the Prime Minister understand that my husband has just one set of yellow protection gear, known as PPE, so after he wears it for a shift he has two choices; he can wash it and hope it’s dry in time for his next shift or he can wear it smelly and dirty. Does the PM know that in order to get any new item my husband needs to hand in a damaged one or get a special clearance from his captain for a second set. It’s not like he’s going to wear his PPE to do the gardening, but giving everyone two sets of gear is apparently too expensive.

I wonder if the Prime Minister has ever fought a fire? If not, why not? Can he imagine what Graham’s night was like a few days ago when everyone was urgently called out at around 4.00pm. It was around 1.00am after a night of back burning that Graham and his captain and crew leader, Rob, were finally told to go home. Can the Prime Minister even comprehend what it was like for them to see a tree fall across the path of their truck just as they got the message to stand down? Or the sinking feeling they must have had when they realised they had walked backwards and forwards under that tree all night? I’m guessing it hasn’t even crossed the Prime Minister’s mind. Nor has the effort required after a long shift to cut the tree up so that they could get out. They needed two chainsaws because the first one became blunt while Graham was cutting. They are supposed to resharpen the chainsaws as soon as they return to the station but Graham left it until the next morning and did it then, on his “day off”.  It’s possible the Prime Minister doesn’t appreciate that volunteers also do all the routine maintenance of their gear.

Otherwise I’m sure he would never have made such a stupid comment.

No, Mr Morrison, my husband does NOT want to be fighting fires. He would rather be writing or playing music, or building things for the garden, or teaching permaculture or any one of his many hobbies. I would rather have him here. We could both do without the stress and anxiety but we both understand the importance of what he, and his fellow RFS colleagues are doing. They are saving people’s lives and homes. This means that if our own home is at risk of fire I’ll have no choice but to leave early. I can’t stay and defend on my own. Graham carries this knowledge with him while he’s saving other people’s homes; ours might burn while he’s doing that.

Graham is over 60, officially retired and has had asthma all his life. I look at him in this photo and see him with other volunteers, breathing in the smoke and waiting to be sent to whichever part of the mega-fire will be their particular front for today. They are all sick of hearing “unprecedented” even though that’s a really accurate way to describe what is happening. The last report I checked tells me there are 85 fires burning across the state of NSW and 42 of them were uncontrolled. This is actually a bit misleading.

We’ve all got the RFS “Fires Near Me” app so we can keep track of what’s happening. The fires variously shift from being listed as “being controlled” to “uncontrolled” throughout the day so there’s no firm count. There are also a number of fires that have now joined up, meaning that the total number of fires looks like it’s decreasing where in fact they are just becoming an impossibly huge fire front. The black outline of the burnt bush creeps slowly across the screen, day by day. We don’t have decent rain predicted until mid-January and it’s the 10th of December. The smoke is chokingly thick today and people in Sydney are posting photos of it. My husband is up on the mountain breathing it. When he takes a break he pings me a quick kiss so I know he’s still alive.

It’s difficult for people that have never been first responders to understand their stress. People like Graham are passionate about helping others, and protecting our beautiful natural environment. Someone on a friend’s Facebook asked how volunteers could end up with PTSD. “They’re volunteers. They can just not go.” Stupid comment. Volunteers are the kind of people that keep pushing themselves beyond the point where their bodies tell them to stop. They do it because they are deeply committed to making a difference. I wonder if the Prime Minister understands this when there are calls for better welfare support, better access to professional psychologists and better training to avoid PTSD in the first place. Or is he busy balancing the economic costs? I don’t suppose he has ever felt the pressure of a community that depends upon him to keep them safe. No pressure. Just say no if you don’t feel like going.

I wonder if the Prime Minister has considered what would happen if the volunteers just decided not to go. Or what will happen when they are all exhausted, worn down, emotionally frayed and unable to go back. Of course they will have already gone back several times after they reach this point because there is nobody else to go.

Graham is particularly angry at reports in the Murdoch press that blame “The Greens” for the fires. I don’t think the Prime Minister having dinner with the Murdochs and their papers’ continued campaign to avoid the truth are coincidental. How are people so gullible that they believe this stuff? The Greens are the only party ever to come up with a comprehensive policy on climate change. Decades of government neglect caused these fires. The science has been available and verifiable. We knew this was coming. It was preventable. And the only party to actually come up with a plan to prevent it is also the only party to NEVER have held power, so how they have magically had such a significant influence is beyond me.

The fire line is full of ‘greenies’. It’s these people that become volunteers. Our community depends upon ‘greenies’ to protect the bush, to rescue the thousands of injured animals and to return after the fires to help restore the natural world. They will lose sleep, spend their own money and ask for nothing in return. It would help if they weren’t also being held responsible for the predictable consequences of climate change.

I love this photo. It’s typical Graham to be straight faced and thinking of his duties as crew leader and deputy captain while his crew have a bit of a laugh before the serious work begins. These people are his good friends, as well as his colleagues. We all live in the same community. Like him, they are giving up their own time and possibly some paid work to fight fires. They don’t want to be there either. They would rather be anywhere else. But there are fires and they are needed, so they are there.

That’s what I want the Prime Minister to understand. These people volunteer because they have to. Someone needs to protect our community and it certainly isn’t going to be Scott Morrison. People join the RFS out of necessity. If there was a paid fire fighting reserve force they wouldn’t need to.

In the midst of all the calls for better equipment, better support and more funding for our RFS I have a different dream. I dream of a day when they are redundant. When a real leader with the vision to respond to climate change steps up and implements the urgent strategies we need to draw down carbon, reduce and eliminate fossil fuel use and repair and restore the natural world. I don’t know anymore if a complete turnaround is possible. It was……… a decade ago. They didn’t act. History will remember them for that.

So no, Scott Morrison, my husband does not want to be fighting fires this summer. But he will fight fires, along with the estimated 2,700 other volunteers. They are not there by choice. They are there because it is necessary. Your inaction on climate change and the inaction of every leader before you for at least the last 20 years has made it necessary. They are there because they care about our community, our bushland and our planet.

If only we could say the same of you.

BEST COMMENT EVER: THIS COMMENT FROM STEVEN IS IN THE THREAD BUT IT DESERVES SPECIAL ATTENTION SO I’VE REPOSTED IT HERE:
“No one is making us fight fires this summer. No. we can stay at home and watch our friends and neighbours lose their homes and livelihoods. We can stay at home knowing that the brigade won’t have a crew leader or maybe a driver, and the tanker will have to stay in the shed. We can stay at home knowing that other poor bastards are out there for weeks on end on a few hours sleep a day. We can stay at home knowing that if the blacking out isn’t done, the wind change next week will just start the whole thing off again. We can stay at home and leave it to the seventy year olds who keep quiet when they have a funny turn because they don’t want the tanker pulled off the line and don’t want to let everyone down.Yes, we could stay at home, but our sense of duty to the community stops us. Would I rather be at home? Absolutely.
I’m the Captain of a RFS brigade that has been flat out since August and what we have been doing is not sustainable. It has already gone beyond that point in the north of the state. To say that we are out there because we want to be is insulting and belittling, but unsurprising. When I look around me on the fireground I see people just like me, driven by a sense of altruism but hurting emotionally, physically and financially.
I see people from the poorest and most disadvantaged groups in our communities risking their lives to save homes of a standard that they could never afford, filled with all the expensive toys and gadgets, and wonder where are the volunteers from these homes?
And then I hear those who are supposed to lead our communities say that we don’t deserve the best equipment and that we don’t need financial support, and I feel like walking away. But I don’t, because I know that if I did, then just like Nero, our leaders would let us burn.”

 

(Post script: I’m getting lots of requests from people for permission to share this. Please feel free to do so. If the version you are seeing isn’t sharable you can share if from my Permacoach Facebook page. Thanks for reading.)

FACT CHECK: Thanks to my mate, Ross Beckley, for these images in response to my request for proof that the budget was cut. Please don’t confuse this claim with the ALP’s recent incorrect claim that the budget was GOING to be cut by $40 million. That’s a different ball game:

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138 thoughts on “No, Scott Morrison, my husband does NOT want to be fighting fires this summer!

    1. Sending love from America. I’m so concerned for all of you and really hope that things turn for the better soon. The RFS volunteers are heros, all of them.

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    2. I am a supporter for a worlds system wof fire workers including people who do want do help, and a law who press the company,s where she work to pay along while she are fire fighting a crisis, a worlds firedepartment who can setup such that she are where she are needed everyywhere in the world.

      I like australia, I am born in the wrong place, emigrating is difficult, maybe I need to find me a wife there, I am still free electronic designer. (as hobbie).

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  1. I have spent the better part of my down time after work protecting a property, filling gutters with water, chopping dead foliage down, on edge watching tired RFS men and women drive up and down our dead end bush surrounding street.. exhausted and over worked, but wave and smile as they pass.. I have just finished an online debate regarding funding, volunteering etc and how the government made it all possible for private businesses and corporations to deny their workers leave or pay to volunteer and or work in shit conditions with no penalty rates, fairness, rights or equality..

    My response to the person stating it gladys fault, which I agree it is, but being a public servant at state level I also know that part of state governed funding areas, federal has a big say on how it is spent. Morrison needs to step up, yes i am a lefty with a hint of green, however I can not believe anyone who is right of the centre could be as cold as the government we have right now both federal and state.. my response to the post..

    So being a STATE PUBLIC SERVANT.. I get to see the other side of the coin and always given the breakdowns at budget time and have the access to all Australian federal and state sites, right down to governed policies yada yada.. so Old glado is someone that has no idea of anyone sitting underneath her tier of living requirements, however, the fed government collect 80% of state taxes but are only responsible for 54% where as states only get 16% but are responsible for over 40%.. then it is dependent on what the fed government give in SSP Grant’s which they can then tell the state how to allocate and spend..

    The Australian Constitution gives the Australian Government the power to raise money through taxation. These taxes include:

    The Goods and Services Tax (GST)
    Other taxes, such as company tax
    Custom charges (taxes on goods entering or leaving the country)
    Income tax is not listed as a power of the Australian Government in the Australian Constitution. Until World War II, income tax was raised by the states but this power was taken over by the Australian Government. Income tax is now a major way the federal government raises money.

    The state and territory governments raise money from:

    Duties, charges and taxes, such as stamp duty on the purchase of a house
    Grants from the federal government
    Section 96 of the Australian Constitution allows the federal government to grant money to the states. It also allows the federal government to tell the states how this money is to be spent.

    Local governments raise money from:

    Rates, and duties and charges, such fees for pet registration
    Grants from state and federal governments
    You can find out more information on this topic by investigating the roles and responsiblitities of the three levels government and the federal budget. If you are really keen, the Budget papers outline in detail where federal revenue comes from and how the government plans to spend it.

    These men and women are exhausted, they are under staffed, low on resources and depend on the volunteers as they literally can not function without them, however volunteers are not granted with the same hazmat equipment and clothing nor get paid or are forced with leave no pay or rec leave to help save and protect the lives of civilians and homes.. as well as our environment.. so scumo has all the power here but his comments of they do it because the want to is just disgusting and total lack of respect for their financial status, lives and families. My friends came to the farm on the weekend to help clear the fuel around the house.. one of the things I really noted with what was said was “omg, it hits home when you are here and all these are flying around, you know there are fires but it gives you a completely different look when you are in amongst it.
    …..

    The current situation surrounding these fires and those working hard to try and save homes and lives, is an absolute horrific situation, and I believe it is not a matter of “if these fires merge” it is more a case of when they merge.. our state, our country is in real trouble, and the sad thing is, although there are genuine people devastated as to what is happening, there are still so many that really have no idea of the impact, devastation and the conditions are as they are so protected by a city and have only to deal with the devastating pollution of the smoke.. as you said, in amongst it, we fear it, fight to save our homes, or watch on whilst men and women fight to save our homes and all while we breath it, and then left to see it.. the devastating effects of the path it leaves behind and the exhaustion that is felt from fighting the front of aggression and fury of a major disaster.

    I thank your husband and all of those working to save our bush lands, our homes, our lives and from the bottom of my heart I will be for ever grateful for his and many others efforts and hope he remains safe and is issued with the required and necessary hazmat gear all those fighting fires deserve and need.

    Thank you for writing such an amazing blog with information and experiences that need to be heard.

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    1. We should not forget the contribution of our fire services and volunteers. We should and do expect better support from governments in a country like Australia. My next comment is why is local government referred to as a third tier of government. Referendums have rejected this. Under the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution 1900-1901 local government is referred to as a department of the state, hence we have lawfully only two tiers of government and until the people via a referendum approve local government as a third tier of government, so it remains

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  2. Thank you Meg for a magnificent piece of writing – may it be distributed far and wide and get enormous publicity. It holds so much information that the general ignoramus’ need to know about what it’s actually like as a volunteer fire fighter.

    The words of Scomo make me physically sick. How could any specimen of humanity utter such offensive words – “volunteer fire fighters want to be there”? Unbelievable. Of course Scomo knows what’s going on, but saving his own political career, and espousing his religious beliefs, is more important than representing the electorate. Leading the country. Declaring a national emergency. Setting an example for other countries on climate action….

    How does he lie straight in bed at night? I would be mortified at my own very existence, with the stupid heartless things said, and the lack of meaningful action.

    The only way to defeat the LNP is to get the whole nation so ANGRY with them, that we vote sensibly next election.

    Then there might be restoration of, and massive increases to fire fighting budgets, acknowledgment that climate change needs a drastic response, etc, etc.

    Shame on you Scomo. You horrify me.
    #notmyprimeminister

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Meg and Graham, thank you for your unselfish service. I’m an American; we face the same arrogant contempt from many of our politicians and “leaders.” The same disdain from many ordinary people who won’t face facts as you’ve written. The fires in Australia are dangerous and heartbreaking but environmental deterioration is a global disaster. I’m old. My grandchildren, as all children, deserve a better future.

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  4. Thank you so very much for writing this post. I, with millions of Australians, fully back what you have said. The public support for your husband and the other firefighters is huge, but we need the government to get off their collective backsides and behave like they should be. I’m glad this is being shared. This is an important story that needs to be read by every Australian and beyond our shores. My best wishes to Graham and yourself, Meg. x

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  5. it is now 7 weeks that where I live, we have been breathing smoke, beside the stench of burn meat, which I think it would have been the burning koala meat. It is not fun not to be able to breath fresh air, can you imagine the fire fighter what they feel like, I am sure they are not doing it for fun but to save houses, lives, animal habitat, our forest, and so on. All the best to you fire fighters, I hope you will be home this year for Christmas, so that means that we are going to breath fresh air…..

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  6. Thank you for writing this post and sharing the realities with us. I live in Sydney and had no idea that the RFS was so poorly funded and equipped. I do wish there was some way to change that state, as I fear all Australians will need the selfless actions of these volunteers even more. My donation to the RFS will, I suspect, do very little in practical terms, but it’s the only help I can offer. You all have my deepest thanks.
    I will also repost this on my own blog in an attempt to spread the word.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Pics by Kaz and commented:
    I am re-blogging this sobering post from the wife of one of the Rural Fire Service volunteers who are fighting the bushfires sweeping across eastern Australia. I had no idea that the RFS was so poorly funded and equipped. I do wish there was some way to change that state, as I fear all Australians will need the selfless actions of these volunteers even more. My donation to the RFS will, I suspect, do very little in practical terms, but it’s the only help I can offer these people other than to spread the word.

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  8. To Graham & Steven – thanks for getting out there and doing a job that needs to be done. Volunteering can be tough at the best of times and I imagine it’s a near nightmare at the moment. This is what makes Australia a great place to live – people chipping in and contributing and helping when and how they can.

    To Meg – brilliant piece. You speak loud and clear and for many of us. This is what also makes Australia a great place to live – being able to say what you think and feel and sharing it with the rest of us.

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  9. I read your comments and my God it was like I was writting it. My husband is in the SES and has just joined a RFS as a crossover, he like your husband is over sixty, and is an asthmatic. I dread the phone ŕinging in the flooding rains which will be next, and now he has joined the firies how do we cope with our men out doing goodness knows what, and then come home to drop into a dead sleep then to be their peer support person to help them understand when you yourself don’t understand the horror they have seen. Morrison your comments do not just strike at the volenteers but at we the wives and family left behind to keep it all together so they don’t worry about us in their fight with hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Barbara,
      Thank you for sharing this. . It’s been a bit overwhelming to read all the messages from people that found my writing was expressing something that we have all been wanting to say. This is a crisis and we need a Prime Minister that behaves like a leader. My very best wishes to you and your family.
      Meg

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Great article (and loved the comment you included about people feeling obliged (or is it obligated) to be there, not ‘wanting’ to be there – I can’t understand how the PM could repeatedly claim people want to be taking time out of work, away from their families, or simply not doing things they’d rather so that they can spend gruelling hours protecting their neighbours (or sometimes a stranger’s) house.

    That said, the budget stuff is a little bit misleading (I’m not saying your wrong, but it is more complicated than the numbers appear). Firstly you’ll notice, for example, that SES funding went up while fire services was down (there’s still a disparity, but it’s a little bit less). Secondly some of those departments were moved and merged – and some of them apparently including emergency service funding (not necessarily front line). Lastly, budgets are hideously complex. Funding is usually split into Operational (OpEx) and Capital (CapEx) expenditure. OpEx is the money that you need for day to day business (vehicle maintenance, fuel, etc). CapEx is the money you need for buying assets. If we needed to build a new Fire Station (or do a refresh of fire stations) that would be a ‘one off’ expense. So when we look at totals, it makes it look like in that year there was an increase in funding. Equally, a year later when you DON’T get that CapEx, it appears like there’s been a cut.
    I’m not suggesting the RFS, SES, MFS, MFA, CFS, CFA or any other emergency service isn’t under-funded….but notion of “cuts” are too often simply a political spin that doesn’t really take into account (no pun intended) what’s actually going on. What’s happening in any budget is more complicated than “these numbers are smaller than those numbers”

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  11. Such a powerful post. I am not an Australian but I have friends and family over there and hear about these dreadful fires. I had no idea that it was volunteers who were out fighting them and the conditions under which they work. Sometimes I wonder if the whole world has gone mad. I hope you and your family and the rest of your community stay safe. I cannot imagine how stressful this all must be. And I thank Kaz for reblogging this so that I got to read it.

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  12. Everyone in this country that volunteers to perform work that should be paid is aiding and abetting the destruction of all labour rights.
    Morrison is so dismissive because in his world you do nothing without payment of some kind, even if it is a brown paper bag of cash under the table.
    I can honestly tell you he thinks any kind of volunteering is stupidity.
    The old Australia is long dead.
    Walk off the job. The lot of you. Let it all burn. You are working for free. Maybe the insurance companies might thank you…. You place a zero value on your labour. You are working and should be paid!
    All volunteers must understand that the nature of volunteering has now changed. Those in power do not respect your sacrifice, they are laughing at you.

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  13. Hi Meg,
    I will now write a more considered response and explain to your readers in a concise manner my thoughts on the substantial changes that have occurred to Australian society and why I think volunteering should now stop.

    The moment a volunteer suffers any physical or financial loss from volunteering they are no longer volunteers. They are unpaid workers.

    We live in a neoliberal world now where everything and indeed everybody has a value attached. The work being performed right now by the RFS is work of such a substantive nature it should be paid employment and it should be included in the budget as one of the flow on costs related to anthropogenic climate change.

    A job can be defined in the following manner:
    Does it require training?
    Does it require the use of specialist equipment or protective equipment?
    Is it work being performed alongside others being paid?
    Are the supervisors or managers being paid?
    Does it require a roster or timekeeping system to ensure compliance?
    I could go on but if the work you are performing involves just some of these criteria you are essentially engaged in proper employment but without any kind of payment.
    The reason the prime minister is absent on this issue is because he and his team would have been advised by his department to stay well away from the issue of volunteering.
    The work being currently engaged in is not volunteering by any reasonable legal definition. It is simply people working for free. All the responsibility with none of the rewards.

    Ask the prime minister to donate a single weeks pay to the RFS in lieu of his personal attendance and see how far you get.

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  14. Hear a group of Melbourne latte drinkers expounding their belief that volunteers only join the CFA for a chance to drive around pretending to be heroes. The coffee shop owner walked over and picked up their coffees, poured them down the sink and told them to never come back with the comment, “Those volunteers saved my mother’s house during last seasons fires.”

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  15. HI Meg! I sat transfixed reading your account of what it’s like to be the wife of a member of the RFS. Your very eloquent comments left little to the imagination as to how tired and how dispiriting it must be for the men and women at the firefront to have to turn out day after choking day regardless of how they feel – to have their selfless work held in such low regard by not only their worthless PM but also their puppet of a Premier, Gladys Berejicklian. Both of whom need kicking out along with their cohorts presently in office. Australia would not survive without its volunteers doing jobs that successive governments have regarded as being “uneconomical” to fund adequately. I, like many who read his fatuous statement, was gobsmacked at our unworthy PM’s comment that RFS volunteers ‘wanted to be there’ – what a prat he is! What an overpaid, unworthy toady he is! I am 84 and I live in Canberra and although, to date, we have escaped this summer so far, the memory of 2003 lingers. My son and his family almost lost their home in that burn. He and my husband fought the blaze with garden hoses as it burnt through the back fence while my daughter-in-law and I sat with all their belongings and their pets out of the fire area wondering if we’d see them again. So Meg, while I don’t have a husband valiantly doing his bit I have some idea of what you are going through and just how frustrated you feel at the actions of this silly man we call our PM. May your God keep you and your husband and his RFS colleagues safe.

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    1. Dear Patricia, thank you so much for your lovely message. I do hope people have longer memories at the next election. To many succumbed to the cynical scare campaign for the last one. Best wishes, Meg

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  16. I agree with everything you have said whole heartily. I too have a Husband Who is first Fire Officer for our Bargade as well as some of our Children & Grandchildren are members too. They could get a call out at any time of the day or night. What Scott Morrison said is heartless. We have our own small business and For quite a few years that my Husband has been in we have lost money for him having to leave the job he’s doing to go fight a fire that some moron has lite up for fun. If he doesn’t work we don’t get paid. They too only have one uniform my Husbands ,the silver bands on is peeling off and when I wash it the bottom of the washing has the silver stuff on it. Their boots don’t last long. So why can’t they get paid for their hard work and more uniforms and boots and equipment. This government wastes too much money on their trips ,dinners , and on useless other areas

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    1. We had some TV guys here yesterday and one of them asked if people ever deliberately damage their stuff to get a replacement. We both know that the volunteers will just keep wearing stuff to avoid the additional cost of new equipment. Please tell him it’s time to get new PPE! There’s no way the fire retardant is still okay in that kit.
      Best wishes to you and your family.
      Meg

      Liked by 1 person

  17. As a volunteer firefighter suffering from PTSD as a result from the warrona\yarloop fire’s I can personally tell you that when it comes down to getting any support from government – local or state is a more harrowing experience than the initial incedend I have been at it for more than a year now without any success
    So to all my fellow firefighters out there keep up the good work and I think it is time we start to put pressure on the authoritys to stop taking volunteers for granted and make our voices heard

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    1. Hi Jan,
      I’m so sorry to hear that you have PTSD and that you have had no support for it. The only reason I’m not on the fire line next to Graham is that I have PTSD as a consequence of 20 years of policing (particularly the stint in child protection). When I developed breast cancer six years ago I was introduced to ACT (acceptance commitment therapy) and it has made a HUGE difference to my PTSD. I wrote a book about it. The tile is cancer specific but the techniques are universal. You can get it as an ebook really cheaply because I don’t make any money from it. You might like to take a look. I highly recommend it as a way to manage PTSD:

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  18. Well, Ms McGowan, whilst I appreciate your concern for your husband, I suggest you direct your bile solely at your State Premier rather than smearing Scott Morrison with the same brush.. I am a volunteer firefighter in Queensland. I have two sets of PPE and a full face respirator. I don’t want to spend my summer fighting fires either but when I am called, I go.

    Your politics are pretty clear from your post but blaming Climate Change for the current emergency is just nonsense. There is nothing unprecedented about it – we get droughts, we get fires. The key is, and always has been, fuel reduction and that is what we are not doing properly.

    Finally, I note comments above that suggest that rural firefighters should be paid. If that happened I believe our Brigade would suddenly have no members!

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    1. Bill, I’m pleased to know that you have two sets of PPE and a full face respirator. Is it wrong for me to want the same for my husband?

      And yes, like you, he will continue to go when he’s called and on his ‘days off’ he’s the brigade’s call out officer.

      You are simply wrong about climate change not being a factor. Please check the science. You are part of less than 15% of the population now and the rest of us recognise that climate change is, indeed a major factor in what’s happening. There’s a heat wave due on Thursday that’s going to see temperatures head over 50 in some parts of the country, setting a new record.

      I’m reliably informed that in NSW all fuel reduction targets were met. This didn’t prevent the fires. What’s your theory on that? Could it be that the recent research from Curtin University into hazard reduction is correct? They found that the old methods are no longer effective and might actually be making matters worse because of (you guessed it) CLIMATE CHANGE. We also saw rainforest burning for the first time ever this year. Once again, climate change is considered the cause.

      My politics are not aligned to any party and I’m not a believer in party politics as you’ll see by some of my other posts. I’m a permaculturist, so my interest is in who can best demonstrate alignment with the core ethics of caring for the planet, caring for people and sharing fairly. If a Liberal leader emerges with those values I will happily support them. Same goes for the ALP.

      I didn’t advocate for paying all fire fighters. I don’t know what the answer is. I think relying upon volunteers is no longer viable as our country gets drier and hotter in coming years. I would like to see decisive action on climate change so that we can contribute to fixing the underlying problem but I don’t see this happening. I also can’t see the volunteer service surviving an entire summer of fires. Our volunteers are mostly doing one day on and one day off with no end in sight. It’s just not sustainable as many of them are forced to return to work for financial reasons or find they can’t return for health reasons. Read the other comments in this thread from volunteers and their families.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Bill…I’m speechless in regards to your attack on Meg. Morrison deserves to be put on notice for his inaction. Good for you that you have the 2 sets of PPE and respirator…but you’re not the norm it seems. Go educate yourself and maybe someone might take you seriously, because right now you are looking like an uneducated, mean little man.

      Like

    3. Bill said: “I refuse to interact with somebody not prepared to be civil”.

      Mate, take a look at your commentary, aimed at Meg, and not the problem at hand. If you call that civil, you need to have a long deep look at your values.

      You called her concerns “bile” and tried (unsuccessfully) to align her post to a certain political party.

      As for fuel reduction, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons, was interviewed 30 minutes ago on the ABC. He was asked about these claims people (like you) are making about the issue of fires being all about the lack of fuel reduction – his response was that because the fuel is so dry, they have had less time available to conduct these burns. As he pointed out, these fires are huge and trying to do these burns would bring with them a lot of potential issues, and possibly not able to be controlled.

      So calm down and stop the attacks on people who care about this country and want to bring the issues to the public eye.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Kim,
        Just wanted to take a moment to thank you. Things have obviously gotten ugly over here. I have been spending most of my time trying to manage the place while Graham heads out again to fight fires. I have also been responding to the hundreds of messages from fire fighters and their families, offering their support, sharing their stories and thanking me for saying what I said. I’ve only had a few people get nasty. I really appreciate you coming to my defence. It’s been a huge week. I’m tired. I definitely needed help. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re quite welcome, Meg. I really dislike it when people are rude to others, and I stand up quite often. Hopefully ok mate has calmed down for now. I have no doubt you’re tired, so I hope you and Graham can have some rest together soon. I’ve been checking out your permaculture IG and FB. Very interesting. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Firstly, thank you Graham and like fireies people. Enormous gratitude to you all. Politicians. We get who we vote for, vote Liberal, whose mantra is ” reward encourage those who employ, create wealth” those earners love lower taxes, most dont think where money comes from for teachers, fire fighters etc..Liberal focus is reduce community cost to Government. ( tax payers). Next elections, let us all think about Graham, going to fight fires for us , ill equipped due to PLANNED LESS Government spending Oh and not wanting to offend Liberal supporters, donors $, by solving climate change. I live near the bush, have a garden, a pool.enjoyment threatened by rising tempartures, less water for expanding Sydney. Think…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. No Scott Morrisson, no one ‘wants’ to fight fires. They do it because they care for humanity, human lives and disaster these fires can cause to families and communities.

    Shame on you for your remark and you have no idea what it is to live in this fear, and to put your life at risk for others. You are too busy hanging out with your fraudulent media moghuls Murdochs, drinking and partying to understand what these fires are doing and how your decision to deduct $35 million in funding is making a horrible calamity even worse.

    You should be ashamed for your remarks and not only apologize but do not deserve to hold the office you sit in. You are a disgrace!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I just saw you on the Project, Meg. I’m fired up about Morrison’s lack of action, Thank you for bringing your thoughts to us. All the best to you and Graham and the other firefighters.

    Like

    1. It was a disappointment to me. They finally had the opportunity to show some real leadership and they went for a very soft option. This is the problem with party politics. Everyone is doing what’s politically safe rather than what is necessary or right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed, they went for a soft option, but it was better than nothing. When it comes to politics, and life itself generally, I try to remember the old saying “the best is the enemy of the good”. If one only accepts the best option possible and nothing less, nothing changes because the “best” will never get delivered.

        Politics improves in steps and the “soft option” is better than “doing nothing” which is what happened. Not saying this to support the ALP as they’ve shown themselves to be rather gutless since then on the issue. Just pointing out that there was an option on the table to *improve* the situation but it got shot down because people wanted more and in the end we got nothing.

        To be honest, I kind of miss Bob Brown’s shepherding of the Greens. He seemed to grasp the idea that some improvement is better than being a protest party. 😦

        Like

  22. Hi Meg, I came here to your blog from another and just wanted to say I can’t imagine what you are going through. While I’m not familiar with the politics of Australia I think one of the universal traits lacking in our leaders, no matter where they reside, is empathy. Words have power and especially the words of those who are in power and I think sometimes in an effort to try to ‘identify’ with the majority leaders and even those not in leadership will say things without carefully weighing their words. Even though I reside in a different country I believe we share more in common than not and those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others are the most selfless among us and deserve our BEST. While I’m more than halfway around the globe from you, please know that your writing touched me deeply and I hope everything works out for everyone touched by these horrific fires.

    Like

  23. Thank you for this great post! I really enjoyed reading it! I have recently published an article on my blog regarding my thoughts on Scott Morrison and his leadership during Australia’s bushfire crisis. If you have time, it would be great if you could check out my post as I would be really interested to hear your thoughts! Thanks 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi and thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m snowed under at the moment with caring for Graham after his heart surgery but I wish you all the very best with your writing. I started doing it many years ago and still love it.

      Liked by 1 person

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