Mountain electioneering (Fire the lot)
It's the week of the state election and everyone - even the Opposition Leader - is viewing the Government's reelection as a fait accompli. In our electorate of the Blue Mountains, the Greens member, Pippa McInnes, has decided to break ranks and give the Independant, Robert Stock, her preferences instead of the Labor candidate.
There's a very good reason for that though as the admirable Bob Debus, Minister for all manner of things, is retiring and in his place will be the high profile Fire Commissioner, Phil Koppfirebug. No self-respecting lover of vegetative lifeforms could give this man a leg up as his orders invited recent controversy in the form of a full page in the local paper, questioning the Rural Fire Service's handling of this Summer's firefighting efforts.
There's divided opinion on the RFS methodology, with some members of the community insisting that it was better that they burn some bushland and protect houses but my opinion (and that of not a few National Parks and Wildlife people) is that this wholesale roasting of native marsupials and destruction of their habitat was badly handled. We feel that backburning was used in preference to a direct attempt to put the fire out and that the backburning was conducted under the worst conditions; that would all but guarantee that the fires would get out of control. No human lives were lost and there was minimal property damage. But that does not let them off the hook.
Coming from a farm, I can give you a much more considered opinion than the dil who was mouthing off on the train about 'unappreciative residents': we would be expressly forbidden from lighting fires in such conditions so whither the Fire Brigade?
I have a further gripe with Kopfirebug: one of the Blue Mountains bushland groups ran a survey of the candidates to obtain their views on various proposals - sandmining near a river, uranium mining, use of nuclear power for electricity generation and so forth. The local Liberal gave his responses honestly. As did the far right nutter (I will get names when I'm back home). And came off looking badly if you're environmentally concerned. But Kopfirebug refused to answer the questions, stating that he would provide his own response by letter and post it on his site. Neither had been furnished by the time they went to press. This, I'm sorry to say, is fucking arrogant and I want no part of it. I'll be voting Greens (would have anyway) and then Independant.
The other candidate, who I identified as a right wing nutter from her responses, was Ann-Elise Cole of the Christian Democratic Party. What a surprise! Yes, Fred Nile's party lags behind badly in issues of environmental sustainability.
Filling out the six are Bob Wilcox of the Outdoor Recreation Party (I'm very suspicious of their regard for wildlife and nature reserves) and Robert Dwight of Australians Against Further Immigration.