2,016 thoughts on “It’s Spring!

  1. Gladys is lying through her teeth this morning.

    NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has responded to claims from the fire brigade union that its budget has been slashed.

    She said claims $13m was cut from the urban firefighting budget was false, AAP reports.

    Fire Brigade Employees’ Union state secretary Leighton Drury said Fire and Rescue NSW had its budget cut by $12.9m.

    The Rural Fire Service usually handles NSW bushfire-fighting efforts, but Drury said the cuts were harming the overall community response to fires.

    Berejiklian told ABC Radio that this was. not true. “Whenever I’m updated at RFS, the fireys, all the agencies, are working together more closely than I’ve ever seen,” she said.

    A spokesman for the emergency services minister, David Elliott, said the $13m had been part of fire and rescue’s capital expenditure budget, and was not part of recurrent FRNSW funding.

    This morning, a snap rally was held outside NSW parliament tomorrow calling for increased emergency funding to fire services, and to take action on the climate crisis


    The NSW budget papers show the cuts to the RFS and Fire and Rescue.

    Fire and Rescue – 35.4% cut from capital expenditure, from $80.4 million slashed to $51.9 million.

    Rural Fire Services – 75.2% cut – from $63.6 million down to $16.4 million (!!!!!!)

    When you look at the recurrent expenses part of the figures they also show cuts.
    Fire and Rescue down from $787.2 million to $774.3 million.
    RFS down from $551.0 million to $524.3 million.

    No matter which column you look at funding has been cut. There is no way weasel words about “capital expenditure” and “recurrent expenses” intended to bamboozle the public with economist-speak can justify these cuts.

    Click to access 6._Stronger_Communities_cluster-BP3-Budget_201920.pdf

    But Gladys was able to find $40 million to demolish Allianz Stadium (almost the same amount slashed from recurrent spending for both the RFS and Fire and Rescue) plus a budgeted $689 million to rebuild it.

    How many air tankers could we have bought or chartered with that money? How many closed suburban fire stations could have stayed open? How many trucks could have been bought? How many more firefighters could have been employed?

  2. How low can Barnyard Rootrat go ? VERY. What a turd.

    …..And that the crazy thing there, and I acknowledge that the two people who died were most likely people who voted for the Green Party, so I am not going to start attacking them. That’s the last thing I want to do.”

    What I wanted to concentrate on is the policies that we can mitigate these tragedies happening again in the future.

  3. I don’t know which of the people killed in the fires Barnaby was talking about, but if he is referring to the two people found dead last week in the Glen Innes area at Wytaliba then they were most likely National Party voters, his own supporters.

    So far, as far as I know, there have been four, maybe five deaths. The two I mentioned – one older man found in his burnt-out car, and a 69 year old woman who was a victim of the same fire. She was found with severe burns after trying to defend her home and taken to hospital where she died. A man in his sixties rolled his car near Nambucca while driving through thick smoke. An older woman died at Johns River, she was burnt to death in her own home. The fifth I don’t know about.

  4. Twitter is saying that govt issued RFS credit cards to buy fuel are not working so volunteers are paying for fuel themselves

    • I saw that on Facebook at the weekend. The man who made that claim pointed out it had happened several times to his brigade – Warringah, I think – earlier in the year. The NSW government had not been paying the fuel accounts so the government-issued credit cards were not working. The crew had to pay for fuel out of their own pockets. He was very emphatic about this and I believe his claims were absolutely genuine.

      He did stress that so far this has not happened during the current fires.

      Maybe it is happening though. With the NSW government being so find of cutting funding it’s highly likely. ,

    • Update – I’ve seen today’s tweet and have doubts about the claims made. I know that person lives here in Port Macquarie.

      There has been no mention here of any of the many fire trucks in town having their fuel cards refused. Nothing at all, from anyone.

      I think someone has taken a story from the weekend, a genuine one, and has decided to do some embroidery.

  5. The Barnyard Rootrat’s pickled brain would have been working like this. The mayor of the town where two residents were killed by the fires wrote a very powerful piece published in The Guardian yesterday, sure she is a 20+ veteran of the bush fire brigade but THE main thing is it turns out she is an EVIL Green. So for her to be elected mayor Barnyard would conclude the whole town must be overrun with Greens.

  6. Hi Pubsters. I so rarely post here, that I thought I should give an update.

    Some of you might’ve noticed I still post at Twitter. That is partly to do with my lymphoma and chemo treatment (and ageing). I lost a bit of the staying power for the longer posts I usually did. I’ve made a pretty good recovery, especially since I added fitness to my recovery. It’s pretty light stuff, water aerobics 5 days a week and 15 minutes daily on this foot vibrator I have at home. That alone has done wonders, restoring my foot sureness to way ahead of where I was even before the illness. And improving my blood circulation has also been a big thing. So, doing fairly well health-wise but still haven’t returned to blogging. Partly, that is the trap of Twitter. It is also a despair at how our democracy is going. I still lurk here, borrowing a lot from BK and Leroy for Tweets. And getting a boost from the thoughtful contributions of Leone, Billie, KK and all others.

    Sim and I continue to to live in harmony in our retirement. It has been a very joyous marriage for both of us. It is extraordinary that we live fairly impecuniously but without any hardship or discontent. We provide some evidence that you don’t need wealth to be happy. She has had a bit of luck recently, having joined our union with little more than a car, me with a tiny super pension plus some funds from the sale of my Warrnambool property (which was not a lot after paying off the mortgage. It changed for Sim with the sale of a block of land she had. It was really a white elephant bought back in the 80s. It had still slowly grown in value. After all the legal and agency fees, she got $57,000. In our circumstances it was a windfall. In her usual way of splashing out, she’s sent some to her children and grandchildren. She’s begun planning for us to travel.

    To me, she gave $5000, with some conditions. She’s always had great faith in my writing ability and has been concerned that I’ve never got around to publishing. So what she wanted me to do with it was to join a writing school with the aim of getting published. She also knew how much more comfortable I was with Macs and wanted me to get a new Macbook. I’d been working on the more affordable Acer until now. This has been OK for most of this time, but has begun playing up recently. So I shopped around with some links she’d given me, and managed to find a suitable course and get a Macbook Air, which I’m writing this post on. It is incredibly smoother and more stable than the Acer. The course I found was here at the Writers Studio online


    It starts off tomorrow with an introductory 4 week Unlocking Creativity course. Then in March there is a ten-month course taking you through completing a novel or play.

    To be honest I didn’t think at my age I’d be able to do this. My ambitions mainly ran to memoirs such as my Case Study stories, many of which featured here, and to reflections in the manner of Alec Facey. But who knows? I’m open to the ideas, and will benefit from getting into the discipline of forcing yourself to write.

    So it’s a daunting but exciting challenge, and I’m grateful to the amazing Sim for having this belief in me.

    I will still try and keep in touch in case any others are curious.

    I don’t really do excitement that much, but I’m getting excited at my next new venture.

    Cheers people!

    • I’m with TLBD, ,you sound young , keen and full of beans………ignore what the mirror may try and tell you 🙂 Keep us posted on your travels through the world of writing.

    • So much excellent news!

      I have seen you on Twitter so I knew you were hanging in there.

      About that loss of staying power – I have to say there really is such a thing as “chemo brain”. I experienced it, so have others I know who have been through it. I put it down to the body channelling all power to surviving and getting better, leaving little energy for any brain functions apart from life support.

      I’m so glad to see you back to sparking on all cylinders and so excited.

      Well done!

    • Great to hear from you!
      Regards to Sim.
      The creative writing course sounds interesting
      A friend completed a writers workshop and her emails are always a delight to read, fast paced with just enough evocative detail. Looking forward to reading more from you!

    • Hi GD, good to see you posting here and that you’re doing well (all things considered). Best of luck with the writing. Glad you’re getting some value out of my links!

  7. Apparently just arriving on invitees’ in-trays/boxes. Joel and his new bestie have a great sense of timing
    Dear Colleagues,

    As Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Friends of Resources we are pleased to invite you to the Bright Sparks Christmas drinks hosted by the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA).

    The event will be on Wednesday, 4th December at 6:30pm.

    Please see attached the formal invitation and direct any RSVPs to [redacted by me]


    Hon Joel Fitzgibbon Mr Craig Kelly

    Shadow Minister for Resources Member for Hughes

    Member for Hunter

  8. Joel just looking after his employers. Before we know it he will be off to graduate at the Marn Fersun School of Sell Outs

  9. OK, this fuel card furphy has really kicked off now.

    Let’s go though it.

    On the weekend someone posted a Facebook comment saying they were a member of the Warringah (I think) brigade and had had fuel cards refused several times earlier in the year. They were very clear it was not something that had happened now, during the current fires. They claimed brigade members had paid for their fuel out of their own pockets.

    Whoever made that claim was challenged and put up a believeable explanation in defence. I would not be surprised if the NSW government had been at fault, having had many past dealings with their inefficiency.

    I’ve now heard that there is no limit on NSW government fuel cards so they are unlikely to be refused on the grounds there are insufficient funds. How long this has been the case is not clear.I have not verified this claim.

    Today’s tweet was made by a woman who lives here in Port Macquarie and who is known to me.

    There have been absolutely no reports of any government fuel cards being refused here, none at all. Not in the local media, not word of mouth, nothing.

    I think someone is trying to (1) get attention and (2) make mischief.

    • Now it turns out two people have tweeted the same thing, hard to know who has copied who. One (not the local) claims she heard it on 2GB. There’s no way to prove that, and there are no media reports to back it up.

      Alan Jones and Steve Price would have gone ballistic if this had been said on their programs. By now there would be headlines in the Daily Smelly. There is nothing.

  10. Someone should tell Gladys, she does not believe there have been any cuts of any kind.

    The Public Service Association is blaming the NSW government for a 35% decline in the number of fire-trained rangers at the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

    In 2011, when the Liberal government came to power, there were 289 rangers, of which there were 28 senior rangers, according to the provided figures. Now there are just 193 rangers and no senior rangers, representing a 35% cut to fire-trained staff.

    The PSA acting general secretary, Troy Wright, attributes the job losses to millions of dollars in cuts and forced restructures:

    If the origins of these catastrophic fires across the state are in national parks then it is the National Party and part of the Berejiklian government that are responsible for the lack of preparedness. It is the complete absence of proper funding, not some mercurial green movement as the Nationals allege.

    Overall, there has been a 35 percent cut to fire-trained positions in National Parks. The loss of expertise is irreplaceable – area managers with 30 years’ experience have left roles and not been replaced.

    As a horror fire season arrives rather than recruiting more rangers to help prevent fires the head of NPWS announced a go slow on recruitment.

    Parks are being managed by NPWS which is operating on a skeleton staff. That will always be a risky proposition, but on days like today it can be lethal


    Also – more detail from the Daily Telegraph’s rolling coverage –
    Number of fire-trained National Parks and Wildlife Service rangers slashed

  11. At the large animal evacuation centre at Wauchope, Carol Booth is helping calm distressed horses by playing her harp.

    The horse in the stall in front of her is her partner’s horse, Oscar, who is blind in both eyes.

    He’s been moved from Lorne [near Wauchope, not the Lorne in Victoria] and Carol says the music helps calm him.

  12. I’d love to ‘visit’ a few pollies houses in Sydney with this plane ! Out of concern for their safety of course 😆
    Fire retardant is dropped on homes in Turramurra in Sydney on Tuesday afternoon.

  13. We are just back home in Central Victoria after a flying visit to the North coast. Yamba /Maclean on Thursday for a funeral, then down the Pacific Highway during the blow up day last Friday, including driving through very close flames at Telegraph Point. We were going to Port Macquarie, Wauchope and Telegraph point for my brother in Law’s wedding on Saturday. Brother in Law was evacuated and fire burnt right to his block which was nice and clean for the wedding, so it was easily stopped by the firies. Sister In law and her Husbands family all live in Pappinbarra North West of Wauchope. Seven brothers houses and his father and mothers house escaped but all of them lost everything else, all their farm sheds and machinery gone, but seven houses in the valley burnt to the ground. We had a very crowded refugee camp at my mother in laws place in Wauchope.
    On Saturday the wedding went ahead, on a condition from the firies that we stay put until 9:00 at night, There was little left to burn at his place so no danger once we were there. A highlight of the wedding was water bombing aircraft doing drops two hundred meters from the wedding breakfast. Fire was still burning very close to the Rollands Plains road on our way out.
    Sunday we decided we had better move before all access was blocked. Big detours around fires at Taree, but gee it was nice to reach Newcastle and have clear air.
    It was quite a strange feeling looking at the very dark clouds of smoke and not actually being part of the fire fight. I have been a volunteer for 40 years and we are usually driving towards that sort of thing. The smoke is the darkest I have ever seen, very high fuel load on the forest floors from stressed trees and years if not centuries of forest litter build up. Very very different conditions to what we have here in Victoria.

    • You chose one of the worst possible places to be for that wedding – Pappinbarra. Things have been very bad there, still are. .

      I’m glad you all got out safely.

  14. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Morrison has demanded an end to the bickering over bushfires and climate change after a dramatic escalation in the political attacks when Greens senator Jordon Steele-John accused the two major parties of being “no better than a bunch of arsonists”. (He’s right about Steele-John but he carries much of the blame for people’s frustration over government attitude and lack of action on climae change.)
    David Crowe and others look at where the insensitive remarks came from – mainly Nats and Greens.
    Mark Holden gives McCormack a good serve.
    Climate scientists have rubbished Barnaby Joyce’s claim that changes to magnetic fields were linked to NSW’s out-of-control bushfires. What a bloody idiot!
    This 19 year old student who lost a home in the bushfires writes, “Prayers aren’t enough Prime Minister”.
    In its editorial the SMH says it is all for keeping the flame of reform alive but state and federal treasurers should stop talking about the urgent need for economic transformation and start pushing some concrete proposals.
    Jennifer Wilson writes that both Gladys Berejiklian and Scott Morrison have avoided any discussion of climate change as a contributing factor in the catastrophic bushfires currently burning in NSW and Queensland.
    Scott Morrison will need to be highly politically sensitive to this mood – rather than just focusing on the Greens “politicisation” of an emergency when people are risking their lives and losing their lives and homes says Jennifer Hewett.
    and Phil Coorey laments that apart from the United States, it is hard to think of any other educated country where this argument would be raging, let alone one as dumb and nasty as this one. He says the rest of the world long ago accepted climate change was a reality and grapples with how to combat it.
    Janet Stanley explains why even if the Morrison government tackled climate change with gusto tomorrow, the reality is that the problem has already taken hold. And as former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins this week warned, “we are not adequately prepared” for the monster fires that will result.
    The government is in authoritarian mode and now is not the time for complacency writes Peter Lewis.
    In one of Australia’s largest peacetime military mobilisations, the army is expected to be deployed – including an unprecedented compulsory call-up of reserve soldiers – to assist in the firefighting and clean-up from widespread fires, some of which have burned for weeks over more than 1m hectares (2.5m acres).
    Confidential ministerial briefings prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs reveal increasing concern about Australia’s place in the region amid the rise of China writes Eryk Bagshaw.
    Shane Wright tells us that retailers are preparing for a bleak Christmas, expecting Australians to take a Scrooge-like approach to the most important shopping time of the year even as signs emerge the overall economy is stabilising. Retail is not a good place to be at the moment.
    More than 2,000 people in the United States have developed serious lung damage in a poisoning outbreak associated with the use of vaping devices this year. At least 39 people have died from the condition. The condition now has a name – EVALI.
    Two-thirds of junior doctors working in NSW hospitals are so exhausted they’re worried they’ll make a medical mistake that could potentially harm their patients, or come to harm themselves reveals Kate Aubusson. What a shocking workplace!
    The Guardian reveals that a camper trailer company in the marginal seat of Gilmore was awarded a $750,000 federal government grant at a time that it may have been trading while insolvent.
    At next week’s meeting of energy ministers Victoria will fight to overhaul energy market rules in a bid to prevent summer blackouts amid concerns that ageing power plants are increasingly unreliable during heatwaves.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz warns that Record sharemarkets are becoming ever more distanced from the weak fundamentals of economic growth and corporate earnings.
    Rich Australians lobbied the tax office to exempt some of their companies from increased scrutiny, according to submissions from their accountants seen by the Guardian.
    Former Pentecostal Christian Corrina Elaine discusses the Evangelical faith’s “programming” and how his religious bias is likely to influence Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision-making.
    Mary Ward goes into the insidious insertion of Afterpay into this country.
    The number of lobbyists with unfettered access to the halls of Parliament House to see politicians, staffers and journalists under the sponsored passholder scheme has nearly doubled in the last seven years, Guardian Australia has learned.
    Angus Taylor will face a further grilling when parliament returns over the origins of a doctored document he says informed a letter blasting the City of Sydney over its travel spending. Plenty of interesting stuff was exposed in yesterday’s Estimates hearing.
    Paul Karp reports that Annika Smethurst’s lawyers have been urged to clarify their case on whether material copied from her phone was confidential to support her bid to force police to delete the information taken during the raid on her home.
    New rules are being written by policymakers who say they want to stop dairy farmers being ripped off by the companies buying their milk but many dairy farmers think the federal government’s rules will actually make the problem worse. Samantha Dick explains why.
    Qantas will drop its Sydney to Beijing service from March, blaming a lift in the capacity of Chinese carriers and soft demand from premium passengers.
    Supermarket chain Coles must act to protect workers from “modern slavery” practices in its huge fresh food supply chain, according to a resolution being put to shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting today.
    Anthony Forsyth tells us why the alleged ‘complex’ system isn’t to blame for corporate wage theft.
    Victims of child sex abuse still face significant legal barriers suing churches. Laura Griffin tells us why.
    And it’s a big day for George Pell today.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe lines up Barnaby.

    An excellent effort from Peter Broelman.

    David Pope hits the mark here!

    Good stuff from Cathy Wilcox.

    And John Shakespeare.

    And Fiona Katauskas.

    Three more contributions from Mark David.

    From Matt Golding.

    And from the contrarian Mark Zanetti . . .

    Johannes Leak is settling into his new permanent job at The Australian quite well.

    From the US

  15. Last year an area north of Port Macquarie was surrounded by bushfire for about 10 days. As it was the only fire in the state there were lots of resources and the fire was controlled
    This year the same area is threatened by fires to the west and the fire fighting resources are spread thinly.

    This is probably the new normal for many residents of bushy areas that were formerly fairly wet

  16. If you thought Barnaby was insane just wait until you get a look at this ornament to the Senate and his insane conspiracy theory. Why do seemingly sane people elect these loons?

    Liberal senator doubles down on accusing BoM of changing records to fit climate agenda
    A Liberal senator has again accused the weather bureau of deliberately changing temperature records to fit a global warming agenda.

    Queensland gave us this idiot AND Malcolm Roberts at the last election. Is someone putting stupid pills in the water up there?

    • The article says that Senator Rennick refers to an article by Jennifer Marohasy (PhD in Biology, UQ).

      Was that the person associated with the convoys of protestors who went to Canberra during Labor’s term? The person who was associated with the IPA, who is a climate change skeptic?

      I wonder if the senator did any further reading about the science of climate change, or was her article so compelling that he felt no need to research the matter further.

      Perhaps the people who voted for him have a characteristic in common with him – a willingness to accept what they are told without question if it coincides with what they want to believe.

      People who voted for him may have done so because someone running for the Senate must therefore be someone who knows what they’re talking about.

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