Miranda Devine

Aug 25, 2011

Pure Poison IconMiranda Devine raises an interesting subject, but comes to a different conclusion to what I would have thought obvious.

Bushfires are already raging in northern Australia, and the fire season has come early to parts of Queensland ravaged by flood after a winter of lush grass growth from all that water. …

Now comes an extraordinarily sophisticated surveillance device that can detect the whiff of smoke from as far away as 60km, and allow fire crews to extinguish a blaze before it runs out of control. …

Despite the fact the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund has enough money to allocate $80 million to walking tracks and bike paths, FireWatch can’t find anyone willing to stump up the $75,000 needed for further independent trials. …

The Gillard government is about to lock us into a carbon tax at a cost estimated as high as $130 billion to cut five per cent of Australia’s emissions by 2020. Here is an opportunity to cut 15 per cent of emissions for a comparatively paltry price, without the soaring electricity costs, and yet no one is interested.

Has Australia gone mad?

Let’s put aside the arguments about greenhouse has emissions for just a second and ask, who’s running the fire services in New South Wales and Victoria that Miranda is unhappy with? Is it Julia Gillard?The short answer is, of course, no. In Victoria the Minister for Bushfire Response is Peter Ryan, leader of the Nationals, while in New South Wales the Liberal’s Michael Gallacher is the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, which includes the Rural Fire Service. But do either of these politicians get a mention in Miranda’s article? That’d be a “No” too. The two men responsible for bushfire services in our most populous states don’t get a mention. It couldn’t be because they’re members of Liberal National Coalition governments could it?

Even if the Gillard government funded more trials into the FireWatch devices, even if they funded rolling them out, it would still be up to state governments to integrate the devices with their existing fire services. This is going to be the biggest hurdle if, as Miranda pointed out, they believe that;

“We don’t need technology.”

Perhaps it would be more helpful if Miranda directed her questions, and her readers, to the people who run the fire services, rather than just using this issue as another chance to complain about pricing carbon emissions? But it seems that the chance to engage in some partisanship was too good to pass up.

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