Analysis

The dire lack of government leadership over the New Year bushfire crisis contrasted strongly with the incredible community solidarity and self-organising that took place on the ground. If there is a silver lining to the bush fire catastrophe, it is this community power, which prevented more death and destruction.

While some do not want to discuss the cause of Australia’s horrendous bushfires — runaway climate change — even fewer want to talk about how catastrophic fires are disproportionately affecting women and how it should be tackled. Mary Merkenich looks at the way women cope in emergencies and how the system treats them.

The United States military strike on January 3 that assassinated Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Quds Brigade commander Qasem Soleimani and deputy commander of the Iraqi government-affiliated Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Iran’s retaliation against two US military bases in Iraq on January 8 brought the World to the brink of war.

Anti-war networks and progressive parties have urged the federal Coalition not to support the Donald Trump administration’s latest attack on Iran, that began with the illegal assassination in Iraq of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and deputy commander of the Iraqi government-affiliated Popular Mobilisation Forces Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on January 3.

There are two positive things to come out of the horrific bushfire crisis ripping through our country: recognition of the connection between global warming and more frequent and intense bush fires; and the inspiring courage and generosity of volunteers and emergency service personnel to protect their communities, despite being hugely under-resourced.

As the catastrophic fires raged over several states from late December into early January, Green Left’s Pip Hinman asked Shaun McDonald, a professional firefighter currently based in Tasmania about his views. McDonald has been a firefighter for 13 years, fighting fires in three states and territories, including recently being deployed to NSW.

The horror of the devastating and apocalyptic fires in NSW and Victoria not only dampened the New Year party mood, it has fanned anger over the government's obvious failure to respond to the climate emergency.

On December 9, Labor leader Anthony Albanese reaffirmed his party’s support for ongoing coal exports which make this country the Saudi Arabia of coal exports. Absurdly, Labor's supposed “climate action” wing, the Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN), backed Albanese and attacked the Greens for questioning Labor's climate credentials.

The Alternative Liberal Party under “climate champion” Anthony Albanese supports Australia maintaining its status as the “Saudi Arabia of coal”. No surprise there, unfortunately.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres delivered another bleak warning about the climate emergency on December 2. He told the 197 country leaders assembled that global average levels of carbon dioxide have now gone over what used to be considered an “unthinkable global tipping point”.

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