The Howard Government launched an attack on the Greens and the States whilst the bush fires that had burned deep into Canberra were still burning and people's emotions of agony and loss from the devastation were still raw, The greenies and their national parks were to blame for these bushfires, said Wilson Tuckey, Federal Regional Services, Territories and Local Government Minister. He was quickly joined by other members of the Federal Government. Thus Ian MacDonald, the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, said that national parks should only be created if there were resources to manage them. Not to be outdone, Warren Entsch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, said that while states acquired these national parks, they gave little consideration to their ongoing management.
This was a broad ranging attack directed at the loathing for greens and wilderness that was then picked up by others. The attack was directed at hazard burning, or the lack of it, in National Parks. It was said that, if proper hazard reduction programs carried out, then there would be no fires. And the green lobby had dirty hands because they stymied backburning programs. So cattle should be introduced into National Parks to keep the scrub and grass down, and the forest industry should be allowed into National Parks to remove trees. Tuckey does not care about the environmental damage that this would cause. This junk politics assumes that all bushfires come from National Parks, there are more fires now because there are more National Parks, and the National Parks aren't committed to hazard reduction.
It is junk politics. Bushfires occur across the landscape not just in National Parks----for instance, some of the Canberra fires were in a pine forest There is little evidence that there are lots of bush fires now because the areas enclosed by national parks and reserve has increased--- these ministers have conveniently forgotten about the exceptional circumstances cause by the drought. And National Parks do engage in hazard reduction.
What is clear is that we have to change the way we live at the bush/urban interface if we want to protect our lives and properties. We need to become more responsible for removing the fuel load on the property and heeding fire bans. We also need to learn how to manage fire in the environment---- a research centre into fire was only funded in 2002. We need to learn to think in terms of ecosystem health----national parks with greater biodiversity and an abundance of herbivorous marsupials---and not just firebreaks.
So whats behind the junk politics? Loathing of the greens who are the Enemy. At a moment of historical trauma---Canberra burning---the ministers could not resist being attack dogs. They saw their opportunity, had a go, and did over the Labor States just for good measure. Why this response to trauma?
The attack dogs get a kick out of cutting others. Cutting others is the way they retain their hold on reality. They like setting off political bush fires and are "turned on" by watching the political fire spread through the political reactions. When they see the strong, violent reaction to the wounds they inflict, they feel alive and firmly rooted in reality.
Burning others is a pathological attempt at regaining some kind of normality during a historical trauma.
Tuckey is not knicknamed Iron Bar for nothing.