Showing posts with label climate emergency. Show all posts
Showing posts with label climate emergency. Show all posts

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Inc. commences a civil enforcement proceeding in NSW Land and Environment Court to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions


Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Incorprated is a group of bushfire survivors, firefighters, local councillors who have joined together to demand the Government take immediate action on climate change.

The group says of itself: "We have come together because we have lost our homes and our communities to bushfires and we want action. We are sick of waiting and we won’t put up with half-measures anymore. The Government can no longer ignore the way their climate change denial is hurting our communities and putting lives at risk. They must take Australia beyond coal projects like Adani and move to 100% renewable energy for all."

On 20 April 2020 Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Inc. brought a civil enforcement proceeding in the Land and Environment Court to compel the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The proceedings seek to force the EPA to establish a climate policy, based on its statutory role which includes a requirement to prepare policies to protect the environment. The group will be arguing that the EPA as lead environment regulator in NSW failed to establish such policies in relation to climate change.

The outcome of this case is of particular interest to communities in the NSW Northern Rivers region given the mega wildfires of the 2019-2020 bushfire season and the environmental devastation/property loss/social dsiruption in their wake.

On 27 April 2020 The Daily Examiner reported:

Any notion that climate change is an issue that can be dealt with effectively in some distant future has been shown to be untenable given events of the past few years. 


Extreme weather events, severe droughts and longer and more catastrophic bushfire seasons have shown more people there is a connection between these events and the growing carbon emissions in the Earth’s atmosphere. 

Australians concerned about climate change are becoming increasingly frustrated with the ostrich-like attitudes of many politicians and government agencies. 

One group that is taking legal action in an attempt to force a NSW government agency to do more on climate change is Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, which is taking the Environmental ­Protection Agency to court ­because of its failure to better protect communities. 

Group president Jo Dodds said all members had experienced a bushfire first-hand. They believed climate change was a major contributing factor to the cause and growing intensity of bushfires in Australia. 

She said the issue wasn’t being taken seriously enough and “there’s a sense that the bushfires are over and we can get back to normal life after COVID-19 – but the fires are going to come harder and more frequently”. 

The Environmental Defenders Office is representing the group. EDO chief executive David Morris said the EPA had “a statutory mandate to protect the environment … but the EPA don’t have a current policy to regulate greenhouse gas emissions”. 

“Those two things can’t coexist,” he said. “We’re simply asking the court to tell the EPA go and create environmental quality objectives with respect to greenhouse gas emissions, regulate the pollution and use their existing powers to do so.” 

According to the EDO, the EPA is in a unique position. As an agency “with teeth”, it has the power to issue licences to control pollution, as well as put caps and prices on substances that are harmful to the environment. 

The case is listed in the NSW Land and Environment Court in Sydney on May 8. 

Leonie Blain, Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition

Monday, 16 March 2020

Sixteen weeks after the 2019 Border Ranges bushfires in north-east New South Wales this is how the rainforests looked



Some 160,000 hectares of NSW's rainforests burnt in 2019, the effects were devastating, this video shows the effects on World Heritage listed rainforests of the western Border Ranges.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Losses in the 2019-20 NSW bushfires may exceed 70 per cent of the state's entire koala population


ABC News, 7 March 2020: 

Koala losses from recent NSW bushfires 'One of the most significant biodiversity impacts in our history' 

Authorities may have underestimated the extent of the impact of the bushfires on koalas on the North Coast, a New South Wales ecologist has said. 

Stephen Phillips, managing director and principal research scientist at Biolink ecological consultants, has been revisiting six previously-surveyed koala habitats between Forster and Ballina. 

The company was hired by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to undertake the first on-the-ground surveys in the area since the recent bushfires and is more than halfway through. 

"As part of the broader modelling that we're doing with fire, we're assuming a 70 per cent loss or — 70 per cent mortality rate," Dr Phillips said. "And current information suggests that, based on our field survey work, that the real answer is probably north of that somewhere. 

"So the losses are probably far bigger than what we've been modelling in." They are more than halfway through resurveying the sixth site and Dr Phillips said the story now seems "pretty consistent".

South of Port Macquarie this week they found little evidence of survivors. 

"Part of what we're doing here, we're looking beneath one of the most preferred koala food trees, which is called Tallowwood, and in raking around the bottom of this tree I've picked up a koala scat [faecal pellet]," Dr Phillips said. 

They are, however, still working through the 18 sites at Lake Innes, south of Port Macquarie. 

"One of the good things about this site is that the canopy scorch is mild, so that gives us some hope that there may be some survivors," Dr Phillips said. 

"I guess part of what we're doing now is trying to work out how much of this study area has been impacted and how many survivors there may be, but all evidence indicates its probably not going to be many." 

Area of special significance 

The site in Lake Innes was previously the subject of a successful translocation study

"So finding out what's happened to the population that we established and finding out it's future, whether it's going to survive, whether it's going to become part of a broader recovery program, is also what this is about," Dr Phillips said..... 

Read the full article here.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre to close because the Morrison Government refuses to consider funding it further


In 2015 the Abbott Coalition Government changed guidelines for government-industry-community cooperative research centres.

This change was implemented by the federal Department of Industry and Science.

At the time the 2015/2016 Federal budget planned to cut $26.8 million of CRC funding (over four years).

In spite of the original budget cut less than two years into its existence, the 
Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC) went on to do sterling work in cooperation with federal and state governments, industry, non-government organisations and international bodies.

This was Australian Prime Minister on 7 February 2020 according to the 
BNHCRC website: 


CRC Chair Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, CRC Research Director Dr John Bates and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison invited the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC to Parliament House to discuss current and future contributions of research to the bushfire response and recovery. 

CRC Chair Dr Katherine Woodthorpe and Acting CEO and Research Director Dr John Bates met with Prime Minister Morrison and the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews on 5 February to talk about building a bushfire-resilient Australia. 

After the meeting Prime Minister Morrison posted the above picture on his Facebook page, saying: 

“Today Minister Karen Andrews and I also met with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC to discuss their important work to assist with the bushfire response and improve preparedness for future fire seasons. We talked about making a more bushfire-resilient Australia and how it can support the proposed Royal Commission.” 

The CRC was invited to discuss how it could support the Royal Commission using its research knowledge and expertise, and through the Inquiries and Reviews database that catalogues over 300 inquiries and reviews of emergencies and disasters caused by natural hazards across all jurisdictions in Australia between 1886 and 2017. The database captures the findings of previous royal commissions and other bushfire inquiries.

What Scott Morrison was well aware of, and most ordinary voters hadn't realised, was that the 2015 change to those guidelines meant that the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre would cease to receive federal government funding as of 30 June 2021 and inevitably will have to close its doors.

On the heels of a devastating 2019-2020 bushfires season, marked by mega wildfires burning across millions of hectares, this Senate Estimates hearing (below) is how the Australian public became widely aware that one of the supports enabling emergency services to fight such fires was being withdrawn.
On 2 January 2020 The Australian reported that the Insurance Council of Australia had urged the federal government to commit to keep funding this key bushfire research organisation.

This call seems to have had no effect on Scott Morrison and his government - it appears that he is still intent on burning Australia back to nothing but bare barren earth.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

The Future Eaters have re-commenced logging in forests affected by the 2019-20 mega bushfires


Styx River State Forest, in the New England Tablelands region of New South Wales, covers 16,000 hectares. 

The Brisbane Times reported on 26 February 2020:

Conservation efforts in NSW to stop more species becoming extinct in the wake of this season's unparalleled bushfires require more than half a billion dollars over the coming four years. 

Emergency intervention to save as many as 30 endangered species alone needs $15 million this year and $35 million in both the 2021-22 and 2022-23 fiscal years, according to a spreadsheet circulating among state government agencies and obtained by the Sun-Herald. 

A burnt area of the Styx River State Forest in northern NSW.Logging has resumed in the area despite most of the region being burnt.
The leaked requests come as Forestry Corporation resumed logging in unburnt refuges in the Styx River State Forest despite risks to species including nationally endangered Hastings River mice.....

While officials wrangle over conservation funding, industrial-scale logging has resumed in fire-hit regions such as the Styx River, inland from Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast. 

Chris Gambian, chief executive of the Nature Conservation Council, said the logging would have "immensely negative ecological impacts" given so little of the Styx River forest was unburnt. An endangered Hastings River mouse, from a photograph taken in January 2018. 

“The fires mean that whatever we thought before about wildlife and species has to be scrapped and reassessed," Mr Gambian said, adding he had asked the Environment Protection Authority to issue a statewide stop-work order for logging in native forests state until the effects of the fires are known. 

“Logging remnant forests after such a disaster is like sending a demolition crew in to conduct a cyclone recovery operation," he said. "It is hard to imagine a more harmful intervention." 

Mr Gambian noted the government's own analysis indicated at least 32 threatened animal species alone had lost at least 30 per cent of their habitat due to fires, and were now "teetering on the brink".....

A Forestry Corporation spokeswoman said the majority of production crews on the north coast had moved from native forests to hardwood timber plantations after the fires. 

"A small number of selective harvesting operations that commenced prior to the fires have continued under the strict regulations governing native forestry in NSW," she said, adding that crews in the Styx River State Forest were "finalising work in this location" and will move some harvesting operations into fire-affected forests "in the near future".....

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

It appears that almost singlehandedly Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison may have sunk his own government.


"Around 77.8 per cent of the population reported indirect exposure, by having a friend or family member that had property damage; friend/family that had property threatened; had their travel/holiday plans affected; were exposed to the physical effects of smoke; or felt anxious or worried. This equates to around 15.4 million adults." ["Exposure and the impact on attitudes of the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires" 2020]

In January 2020 the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods and the Social Research Centre collected data from more than three thousand Australian adults from the probability sample ‘Life in Australia’ about their exposure to the bushfires that occurred across the spring and summer of late 2019 and into early 2020. 

Researchers also asked about a range of attitudes towards the environment, institutions, and political issues. 

Data from the January 2020 ANU poll was able to be linked to previous polls at the individual level.

This is the result........

Biddle, N, Edwards, B, Herz, D & Makkai, T, (2020) "Exposure and the impact on attitudes of the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires":

Abstract 

The bushfires that occurred over the 2019/20 Australian spring and summer were unprecedented in scale and wide in their geographic impact. 

Between 20 January and 3 February 2020, the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods and the Social Research Centre collected data from more than three thousand Australian adults about their exposure to the bushfires, as well as a range of other attitudes and beliefs. 

We estimate that the vast majority of Australians (78.6 per cent) were impacted in one way or another either directly, through their family/friends, or through the physical effects of smoke. 

Furthermore, we estimate that around 2.9 million adult Australians had their property damaged, their property threatened, or had to be evacuated. 

This is the first estimate of self-reported impacts on that scale from a nationally representative, probability-based survey. 

Our survey findings also show that subjective wellbeing amongst the Australian population has declined since the start of spring 2019, people are less satisfied with the direction of the country, and have less confidence in the Federal Government. 

People are more likely, however, to think that the environment and climate change are issues and a potential threat to them, with a significant decline in the proportion of people who support new coal mines. 

By linking individuals through time, we are also able to show that some of these changes are attributable to exposure to the bushfires.

DOCUMENT Exposure_and_impact_on_attitudes_of_the_2019-20_Australian_Bushfires_publication.pdf (PDF685.59 KB):


General satisfaction with life before and after the bushfire season 

In the October 2019 ANUpoll 65.2 per centsaid they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the way the country is heading. By January 2020 this had declined to 59.5 per cent of adult Australians. 

Over the same period, there was a small (but significant) average decline in life satisfaction from 7.05 (on a scale from 0 to 10) to 6.9. 

Levels of confidence in institutions 

Confidence in the federal government declined by 10.9 percentage points from October 2019 to 27.3 per cent by January 2020. 

Confidence in other institutions was quite stable over the period, and higher than for the Federal Government. In January 2020: 

• 48.8 per cent of the population had confidence in the public service (52.1 per cent in October 2019); 

• 73.8 per cent had confidence in the police (75.8 per cent in October 2019); 

• 40.4 per cent had confidence in the State/Territory Government where they lived (not asked in 2019); and 

• 93.0 per cent reported confidence in organisations responsible for firefighting in regional or rural areas (not asked in 2019). 

Voting patterns between October 2019 and January 2020 

The per cent of people who said they would vote for the Coalition if an election was held that day declined from 40.4 per cent in October 2019 to 34.8 per cent in January 2020. 

The largest relative increase (8.8 per cent to 10.5 per cent) was for those who would vote for a party other than the Coalition, Labor, or the Greens. 

Views on party leaders between June 2019 and January 2020 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s average rating declined from 5.25 to 3.92 out of 10. 

Leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese’s average rating increased from 4.87 to 5.04. 

Changes in attitudes towards the environment 

49.7 per cent of people reported aspects of the environment as the most important issue or second most important issue facing Australia in January 2020 compared to 41.5 per cent in October 2019. 

Reporting fires, natural disasters or extreme weather as the most or second most important issue were close to non-existent in October 2019. This increased to 10.2 percent by January 2020. 

Concern about most specific issues increased from 2008 to January 2020, with the greatest increase for: 

• loss of native vegetation or animal species or biodiversity (a 13 percentage point increase); 

• drought and drying (a 9 percentage point increase). 

Support for new coal mines have declined since the May 2019 election. In June 2019 45.3 per cent said yes to the question ‘In your opinion, should the Government allow the opening of news coal mines?’. This had declined to 37.0 per cent in January 2020.

Capital cities versus the rest 

There is majority support by residents in both capital and those living outside of capital cities that global warming is very serious, and that global warming will be a threat to them. These views are more strongly held by capital city residents. 

Only 35.6 per cent of capital and 40.1 per cent of non-capital city residents support new coal mines and there is no statistically significant difference in views between the two. 

Did exposure to the bushfires affect changes in satisfaction, confidence or voting intentions? 

Direct or indirect exposure to bushfires did not statistically affect changes in life satisfaction between October and January. 

Indirect exposure to the bushfires affected levels of confidence in government and satisfaction with the direction of the country. Those exposed reported greater declines in both confidence and satisfaction. 

Although there was no significant direct affect from the bushfires on reporting a change in voting intention, exposure to the bushfires was associated with a significant decline in the likeability of Prime Minister Scott Morrison......

It appears that almost singlehandedly Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott John Morrison - aka #ScottyFromMarketing - may have sunk his own government.

Friday, 21 February 2020

A NSW Government independent expert inquiry into the 2019-20 bushfire season providing input to NSW ahead of the next bushfire season is underway - how to make a submission


NSW Government, 3-10 February 2020: 

Dave Owens APM, former Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, and Professor Mary O’Kane AC, Independent Planning Commission Chair and former NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, are leading the six-month inquiry, which is reviewing the causes of, preparation for and response to the 2019-20 bushfires. 

Submissions for the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry are now open. 

Your response and feedback will help to inform the Inquiry's report...  

Use the online form below to make a submission. You can also provide your feedback by:
The deadline for submissions is 27 March 2020, but this can be extended for those directly impacted by the fires.
Terms of Reference 

The Inquiry is to consider, and report to the Premier on, the following matters. 

1. The causes of, and factors contributing to, the frequency, intensity, timing and location of, bushfires in NSW in the 2019-20 bushfire season, including consideration of any role of weather, drought, climate change, fuel loads and human activity. 

2. The preparation and planning by agencies, government, other entities and the community for bushfires in NSW, including current laws, practices and strategies, and building standards and their application and effect. 

3. Responses to bushfires, particularly measures to control the spread of the fires and to protect life, property and the environment, including: 
  • immediate management, including the issuing ofpublicwarnings 
  • resourcing, coordination and deployment 
  • equipment and communication systems. 

4. Any other matters that the inquiry deems appropriate in relation to bushfires. 

And to make recommendations arising from the Inquiry as considered appropriate, including on: 

5. Preparation and planning for future bushfire threats and risks. 

6. Land use planning and management and building standards, including appropriate clearing and other hazard reduction, zoning, and any appropriate use of indigenous practices. 

7. Appropriate action to adapt to future bushfire risks to communities and ecosystems. 

8. Emergency responses to bushfires, including overall human and capital resourcing. 

9. Coordination and collaboration by the NSW Government with the Australian Government, other state and territory governments and local governments. 

10. Safety of first responders. 

11. Public communication and advice systems and strategies.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Has Australia lost another species to climate change?


The Guardian, 15 February 2020:

Drought, bushfires and rainstorms turn Australian rivers black

Luke Pearce had arrived at Mannus Creek for a three-day mission to rescue the Murray-Darling Basin’s last population of Macquarie perch.

For 10 years Pearce had visited this spot on the edge of the Snowy Mountains that, just weeks earlier, was ravaged by fire. There had been rain and the creek was flowing fast.

But as Pearce and his colleagues stood on the bank – nets at the ready – the water turned “to a river of black porridge”.

We got there at about midday with two teams. But we were too late,” he says.

Pearce is a fisheries manager in the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries. A week earlier, he had caught nine of the endangered perch and taken them to the tanks at Narrandera Fisheries Centre.

But Pearce says nine was not enough to be confident they could breed enough in captivity to replenish the river. About 100 specimens would be be ideal, but Pearce says the fish are in such low numbers that he was hoping for 20. Hence the rescue mission on 20 January.

It was a front of black water coming down,” Pearce says. “The water was pretty bad to start with, but it went from green to inky black.

It was a moment of complete despair and, really, a feeling of a missed opportunity. Maybe if we’d got there four or five hours earlier we may have been able to get one or two more.”

An electronic probe in the water monitoring the oxygen levels dropped to show zero within hours, Pearce says.

Watching those oxygen levels drop like that I had grave fears we could have lost all the fish in that system. It was devastating having worked there for such a long time to then potentially lose all this.”

The river was too black to see any fish, but crayfish, shrimp and mayfly larvae were crawling out.

What happened at Mannus Creek is one example of what scientists have described as a “triple whammy” hitting rivers on Australia’s east coast and inland.

Drought and a long-term drying has delivered a cascade of mass fish kills since late 2018, with low river flows, low oxygen and algal blooms. Authorities and politicians warned repeatedly in 2019 that ongoing drying would see more mass fish kills.

Then Australia’s bushfire crisis struck across catchments. Now heavy rain has washed sludge and ash into rivers, robbing the remaining fish of oxygen.

Hundreds of thousands of fish have died in multiple events – some caused by lack of water, and some caused by downpours running over burned catchments.

At one time, Macquarie perch was one of the most abundant native fish in the Murray-Darling system – prized by anglers and also commercial fishers.

But a NSW government assessment of the fish in 2008 wrote the building of dams and weirs had compromised spawning areas and blocked the fish’s movement. Overfishing, pollution and predation by introduced species like redfin perch had also caused numbers to plummet.

When Luke Pearce returned to Mannus Creek after the fires he was confronted with a scene of carnage. Photograph: Luke Pearce


Read the full article here.

Shorter Morrison Government on Climate Change: Get used to it!


https://youtu.be/6BmbvTvFQ3g

Friday, 14 February 2020

NSW Northern Rivers learning the hard way that state-owned Forestry Corporation of NSW is a bad neighbour


ABC News, 11 February 2020: 

When the Busby's Flat Road fire ripped through Wendy Pannach's Rappville farm in northern New South Wales last October she assumed that neighbours would share in the cost of replacing boundary fencing. 

Two neighbours — a private landholder and a company — did agree to work together, but the state-owned Forestry Corporation of NSW has refused to contribute anything despite her desperate pleas. 

Ms Pannach initially thought that it may cost her up to $100,000 to repair and replace all the fire damaged and destroyed internal and boundary fencing. 

But now, with support from charity BlazeAid, it is expected to be far less, and the shared cost of the 1.3-kilometre boundary fencing with Forestry Corp would be minimal. 

"I am working to design the fencing to maximize how much BlazeAid can do in terms of supplying labour," she said. 

"Originally it was looking at $20,000, probably Forest Corp's share would probably now be about $5,000. It's not a lot of money. 

"But if there was no other support, and with the added cost of all of the other boundary and internal fences I have to replace it, it makes a difference." 

Ms Pannach is hoping that a Commonwealth natural disaster recovery grant of up to $75,000 will help cover costs as she is ineligible for NSW disaster relief. 

But she is concerned that farmers affected by future disasters may not receive access to similar funding....

MP admits NSW Govt not 'very good neighbour' 

The state Member for Clarence, Nationals' MP Chris Gulaptis, who met Ms Pannach at a food industry group meeting in Grafton, agreed that his Government needs to do a better job at managing its forestry estate. 

"It's a legitimate concern that she has, and other landowners have, who share boundaries with government land, whether it be national parks or state forests," Mr Gulaptis said. 

"The Government isn't very good neighbour, to put it quite bluntly, and it needs to be a better neighbour. I think that Forest Corp needs to look at managing its estate a lot better than what it does.".....

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison doesn't have to suffer the effects of prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke. How good is that?



Kirribilli House, Sydney, situated on Kirribilli Point with an uninterrupted view eastwards across Sydney Harbour is an official residence of the Prime Minister of Australia.

Prime Minister & MP for Cook Scott Morrison moved into this large, harbour-side residence in September 2018.

I believe there is air conditioning in rooms on the bedroom floor, but not in the well-ventilated rooms on the ground floor.

By June 2019 it appears that Scotty From Marketing had his rent-free residence set up just the way he liked it, courtesy of the taxpayer dollar.

The Daily Telegraph, 9 February 2020:

Taxpayers also coughed up more than $3000 during the 2018-19 summer for four Dyson fans but can be reassured they came with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, ensuring the Morrisons weren’t bothered by harmful bushfire smoke particles.

Apparently such an air filter which retails at $799 per unit will automatically purify a whole room.

  • Automatically detects and reports air quality levels in real time on PM2.5, PM10, VOC and NO2
  • Activated carbon filters remove gases. Sealed HEPA filters capture 99.95% of ultrafine particles such as allergens and pollutants
  • ...delivers over 290 litres per second of smooth, yet powerful airflow – circulating purified air throughout the whole room
  • Automatically senses, captures and projects – then reports to your Dyson Link app
  • Adjustable oscillation angle from 45° to 350°, to help project purified air around the whole room
  • Purifies all year round. Cools you in summer
  • Purifies without the draught
  • Night-time mode Monitors and purifies using its quiet settings, with a dimmed display
  • Remote control
Seems Morrison had his primary residence well kitted out for the predicted 2019 severe fire season months before the bushfires actually struck.

The fire season commenced for me on 17 August 2019 but didn’t start to really kick off in a big way until around four weeks later, when I was living under this thick bushfire smoke below for weeks on end….

The Daily Examiner


Unlike Scott Morrison, I live in a small rented unit with no air conditioning and on an income so low that I can only dream of owning even one Dyson air purifier.

So when the hot, thick smoke from the bushfires seeped through the edges of my home’s window and door frames, when I could not clear this smoke as opening any window or door just let in more smoke, when my eyes began to sting, my throat hurt, my head ache, my already compromised respiratory system struggled and the pain in my tight chest became so bad that I thought I might be having a heart attack – I had no way of pressing a remote control button to relieve my distress with a Dyson.

Bushfire smoke blew over me to varying degrees for four months, reducing any remaining sense of wellbeing and restricting my ability to move outside the confines of my home, while Prime Minister Morrison called for patience and calm and his deputy prime minister told the media; "Yes, the smoke is a problem but smoke, as it always does, will blow away."

The smoke did eventually go away, but my ability to breathe easily most of the time has not returned in its absence and I fear it never will.

But that’s OK – after all Scott Morrison can play backyard cricket on Kirribilli House lawns, sip wine of an evening on the verandahs or stroll outside to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks – safe in the knowledge that he can return to the air conditioning and the four air purifiers I helped pay for.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Morrison's cabinet reshuffle promotes Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan


Fifty-six year old Kevin John Hogan (left) first became the Nationals MP for Page on the NSW North Coast at the 2013 federal election.

He became the Nationals Whip in February and Deputy Speaker in the House of Representatives in March 2018.

In the eight months before the May 2019 federal election, worried he might lose his seat, Hogan briefly pretended to sit on the cross-benches while remaining a member of the parliamentary National Party, Nationals Whip and Deputy Speaker.

Not once it that period did he cast a vote that was not in support of the Coalition's proposed legislation and policy positions - including refusal to genuinely act on climate change mitigation.

Having retained the seat of Page, this week's hurried cabinet reshuffle sees him now adding the title of Assistant Minister to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack to his quiverfull of positions.

* Image from the South Coast Register.