Fiery Christmas

Keith Packenham

From the ABC:

The number of properties lost in the Christmas Day bushfire along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road has risen to 116.

At Wye River, 98 homes were destroyed, while 18 were lost at Separation Creek. Fire officials said the majority of the properties lost were holiday homes.

The Insurance Council of Australia estimates the losses to be worth $38 million and it is expected that number will increase as claims are made.

The Great Ocean Road area has been declared a catastrophe allowing the insurance industry to “escalate its response” to the fire crisis.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews who flew over the fire zone, said the property losses were “significant”.

“It’s kind of confirmed for us just how hot, just how volatile, just how intense this fire was, burning right to the water’s edge,” he said after a community meeting at Apollo Bay.

Read more.

The one thing I am thankful for (and I am sure all would share my relief) is that nobody died.

However, it ain’t over yet: the terrain and vegetation in the Otways are particularly difficult, and we are in for a long, hot summer.

South Australia and Western Australia have already shown its potential for length, heat, and cruelty.

Stay safe, everyone. Remember, houses can be replaced.

Lives can’t.

ABC News

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389 thoughts on “Fiery Christmas

  1. The Ancient Order of Gits has announced Mr Christensen has had his membership cancelled for bringing gits into disrepute.

  2. Fiona,

    What a shame 1 April 2016 doesn’t fall on a Saturday.

    And I think the “Ides of March” falls on a Monday. Still, one could still say; “Beware the Ides of March”, Truffles! πŸ˜‰

  3. For some reason I think early in either April or May is more the go for an election next year. (Easter and ANZAC Day occupying the last couple of weekends of April) I’m tempted to think that early April is more likely because the budget is due in early May, so if the Coalition loose the ALP will have to scramble to cobble a budget together quickly, and if they win they move forward with whatever devious plans the IPA have in store for this increasingly abused country of ours.

  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Despite all the supportive musings from his friends Briggs may not be coming back in to the ministerial fold for quite some time – if at all.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/jamie-briggs-inappropriate-bar-incident-was-serious-malcolm-turnbull-20151230-glx0bv.html
    Looks like Bill Cosby’s past has caught up with him. His “perp walk” is all over the TV this morning.
    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/bill-cosby-charged-with-sexual-assault-20151230-glx31o.html
    More trouble for Apple.
    http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/apple-faces-5-million-class-action-over-iphone-fault-claims-20151230-glx2l4.html
    Amid claims that her office Kelly O’Dwyer loses her Chief of Staff.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/kelly-odwyer-losing-her-chief-of-staff-julian-sheezel-just-two-months-after-appointing-him-20151230-glwpoh.html
    Michael Pasco – the surplus was a good idea at the time. But the constant haranguing of the Coalition will not be forgotten.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/budget-surplus-it-was-a-good-idea-at-the-time-20151230-glwp4b.html
    Elizabeth Farrelly in defence of the hangover. A pretty good read.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/in-defence-of-the-hangover-a-moral-twist-from-chemistry-20151230-glwqaz.html
    How governments use national security to blunt media coverage of important issues.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/limits-to-media-freedom-hamper-the-fight-against-terrorism-20151228-glw2or.html
    These Letters to the Editor in the SMH don’t read too well for the Turnbull government.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-letters/letters-jamie-briggs-finally-gets-his-comeuppance-20151230-glwr4v.html
    I HATE fringe “medicine!
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/chiropractors-promoting-antivaccination-views-despite-crackdown-20151223-gltwpl.html
    The ACTU’s Dave Oliver said if there was an “enormous iceberg” of misconduct then a 21-month Royal Commission that grilled 505 witnesses should have been able to find it. He’s got a point.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/turnbull-flags-sweeping-reform-following-union-royal-commission-as-unions-urge-caution-20151230-glwthv.html

  5. Section 2 . . .

    Peter FitzSimons tells us about his (successful) year off booze and sugar.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/peter-fitzsimons-how-i-gave-up-the-grog-20151202-gldn92.html
    This flight assistant tells the boorish Russell Crowe to wake up to himself.
    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/heather-poole-targets-russell-crowe-over-hoverboard-airline-complaint-20151230-glwr6f.html
    I hope the ACCC comes down hard on this mob! Maybe the tax man should develop an interest too.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/health-minister-slams-panadol-osteo-maker-for-50-per-cent-price-rise-plans-20151229-glwlmm.html
    The (somewhat predictable) first reactions to the TURC report.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/royal-commission-refers-kathy-jackson-cesar-melhem-to-prosecutors-20151230-glwplm.html
    Windbag Tony Wright has some fun at Briggs’ expense.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/some-enchanted-evening-turns-to-a-hangover-for-jamie-briggs-and-a-heaveho-from-malcolm-turnbull-20151229-glwliy.html
    The Australian has more detail on how the Briggs issue unfolded. It looks like his CoS might have some questions to answer too. (copy and paste the following string into a Google search to get to the article).
    national-affairs/foreign-affairs/upset-staffer-phoned-colleagues-after-jamie-briggs-kiss/news-story/2e4f01734d540b888ddf9dfa4ae22612
    Ross Jones – Turnbull look sneaky as Turnbull takes out the rubbish.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/brough-and-briggs-booted-as-sneaky-turnbull-takes-out-the-summer-trash,8530
    Bob Ellis takes a look at Turnbull’s troubles with the ministry.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/now-the-bad-news-brough-luck-malcolm,8532
    And it would appear that Australian workplace laws can apply to events taking place while overseas on business.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/boozing-up-overseas-workplace-laws-still-apply-20151230-glwrb6.html
    Turnbull (wisely) rules out a cabinet return for Abbott.
    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/dec/30/turnbull-rules-out-return-of-abbott-to-cabinet-after-ministers-departure

  6. Section 3 . . . with Cartoon Corner

    The dispute between WIN and Nine could result in WIN going to “black screen” tonight.
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/win-in-lastditch-talks-with-nine-to-prevent-regional-tv-cutoff-20151230-glwsl8.html
    ANALYSIS: He might be untouchable in the popularity stakes, but the PM gave voters an unwelcome glimpse of his leadership style this week.
    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2015/12/30/turnbulls-tactics-disappointing-echo-past/
    The five traits of an ethical leader.
    https://theconversation.com/five-traits-of-an-ethical-leader-51181
    Put this alongside the rampant tax minimisation by big companies and there is a pattern emerging. This favouritism simply stinks.
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/private-schools-benefit-from-more-than-2-billion-in-government-funding-20151230-glwups.html
    Alan Moir sees out 2015.
    http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/federal-politics/cartoons/alan-moir-20150921-gjrcxr.html?selectedImage=1
    Nice work from Matt Golding.

    Pat Campbell goes to town on Turnbull putting out the rubbish.

    Mark Knight with Heydon’s New Year’s Eve fireworks spectacular.
    http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/image/v1/4e2c1c25e721d3f43044343baf994844?width=1024&api_key=zw4msefggf9wdvqswdfuqnr5

  7. Hello all. I’m back from my break. I’ve been keeping an eye on the events of the past week, but I got most of it from the TV, which wasn’t all that helpful. My main thoughts, now that I’ve had a chance to contrast the MSM spin with the social media take, are:

    1. TURC. Some outlets are talking brave over it, but there’s no escaping the conclusion that it’s been a colossal waste of time and money. What we’ve been delivered is a couple of minor scalps and a pile of conjecture. The conjecture might possibly be spun into a fairytale big enough to swing votes etc, but not under the current leader. What it provides is food for attack dogs – barely believable accusations on a par with the kind of things Ashby was levelling at Slipper (“ooh, we all know unions are bad don’t we, so the mere fact that we’re investigating them must mean they’re doing illegal things, even if we can’t figure out what those illegal things are, trust us, we know…”). Abbott-style feral politics could work with that, but not Turnbull. He desperately wants to be seen as ‘reasonable’.

    Basically, this thing was designed for Abbott to exploit. It’s not going to work for Turnbull. He’s a squib, a flake, and if he tries to go for the jugular he’ll overreach, then try to protect his reputation, and wreck the whole attack. He has no feel for attack politics. Already his talk of reforming the union movement is a misstep. You can’t do that without good evidence to proceed, and TURC supplies none of that. It just supplies fodder for rabid reactionaries to do their mouth-foaming act over ‘commies’ and ‘corruption’.

    TURC was mortally wounded when Turnbull became leader. It was probably dying long before that, around the time Abbott started looking moribund. It’ll die a natural death now.

    2. Briggs and Brough. I don’t care a fig for either of them, so I don’t see much point in reflecting on their positions or their futures. They’re scum, and scum is apparently entirely acceptable to the current Liberal Party. So they may well still have a future as far as that goes. I did see some talk that their demotions were timed to take some of the heat away from the Gonski stuff. I don’t believe that. i just can’t see any other time it could have been done. If they’d been dropped while Parliament was still sitting, all hell would have broken loose, and the ALP may well have been able to hijack the narrative. Here it grabs some headlines, but will probably be dropped by the New Year. It’s bad news for the Turnbull government, no doubt about that, but it just causes less damage if announced in the off-season.

    3. Turnbull. All I’ll say about him is that it’s hard to conceive of a leader with less backbone. it looks as if he’s trying to divorce his image from that of his own party completely. “I’ll let my ministers handle all the dirty work, if you want me I’ll be catching trains or meeting robots or looking solemn at a bushfire site.” That can’t last. It’s a terrible strategy.

  8. Brough plotted to bring down a government and in doing that destroyed Peter Slipper, who will never recover. You could argue that as well as breaching parts of the Crimes Act he also committed an act of sedition, as defined in Schedule 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act No 2. Brough should be in gaol, but despite all that St Malcolm made him a front bencher, fully aware the AFP were already investigating Brough.

    Briggs did a bit of groping and kissing in a bar, while drunk, and for that had to resign from the ministry. Either his crime – not all revealed to us – was far worse than a breach of the Crimes Act, or maybe sedition, or something is seriously wrong with Turnbull’s mind. Lack of judgement again, or maybe even worse.

    Turnbull never wanted Briggs in his ministry. I think this was just a handy excuse to rid himself of an Abbott supporter.

    No matter what ‘it was a very serious offence’ spin Turnbull puts on this he looks like a spiteful plotter, not a prime minister. He’s supposed to be a lawyer, he boasts about his legal achievement. How could it be he has no understanding of the relative seriousness of whatever misdeeds his ministers might commit?

  9. I think ejames might be right, though. We’ve got a lot of heavy lifting to do in 2016 if we’re going to make 2017 everything we hoped for. πŸ™‚

  10. Aguirre, spot on Re:TURC, the pics of Brandis, Cash and Turncoat show the two ministers all ‘fluffed up’ with outrage and vitriol but Mal just doesn’t cut it. Abbott and his supporters will be outraged at the way The PM will play this and it won’t be by Abbott’s script. Could be a negative for him.

  11. scorpio6to2

    About descriptions of Kathy Jackson, a great many possibilities come to mind to us all when doing that. In the current Perpetual Present no one in the MSM seems inclined to revisit Mr Pyne’s version. But of course that’s the point of having a Perpetual Present, isn’t it. Mr Pyne’s version never existed.

    The ABC coverage I saw last night (just the regular old Channel 2 stuff) tripped my hair trigger loathing of the current media. Straight into creating an ambience for the liebrals to exploit. Pink Battsish, if you see what I mean.

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