In July last year a newborn baby, umbilical cord attached, was found dead in a rubbish bin in regional Victoria. The traumatised local community and a stunned nation felt sadness for the child and concern for the unknown mother. There is an unspoken understanding in the media that such tragic events should not be the catalyst for political or ideological point scoring, but that didn’t stop Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt from callously using this child’s death as an excuse to lay the boot into environmentalists because the body was inside a green shopping bag.

Planet saved, baby dead: Utterly tragic, but in some ways a grim metaphor. […] In the hysteria to “save” Earth from a warming that’s actually halted, we ignore a true and growing threat to children.

Two weeks ago Victoria suffered through its worst heatwave on record, with the mercury hitting at least 42 degrees each day for three straight days. The state’s infrastructure groaned under the pressure and residents had to cope with public transport meltdown and electricity failures. Over thirty people died due to the heat and Bolt happily used those deaths to beat another of his ideological drums.

Killed in a green frenzy: More than 30 Victorians died in last week’s heat in one of the great scandals of green politics. […] Those who died last week were in less danger from global warming than from the deadly incompetence of green governments trying to “stop” it.

And two days ago over one hundred people died and nearly a thousand homes were lost in Australia’s worst ever bushfire tragedy. Andrew Bolt saw red as Greens leader Bob Brown linked the fire to global warming, accusing him of using the tragedy to score political points.

Preaching over the dead: At least 36 Victorians die in bushfires, and Bob Brown sees on (sic) opportunity to preach politics…

And as if that wasn’t hypocritical enough, without drawing breath Bolt went on to try and score some counter-points of his own by linking to a graph and an article that he believes disprove the theory of global warming. Then only two hours later, Bolt used the devastation of the Victorian fires and the preceding heatwave, along with the Queensland floods, to attack the government’s proposed stimulus package.

The stimulus package for these times: Here is some free advice to Kevin Rudd that will be good for him and good for the country. […] Prime Minister, announce that you’ve had a change of mind, forced on you by this terrible tragedy in Victoria, and the flood devastation in Queensland. You will now spend $1 billion of your package on rebuilding in Queensland. You will spend $2 billion more on restoring the devasted (sic) towns on Victoria.

There will be $1 billion on fire research and protection. Another $1 billion on air-conditioners for the pensioners whose lives were at risk in the heat wave. There will be $2 billion for a new dam in Victoria to not just secure water supplies for a growing population, or even climate change, but from a fire in existing catchment areas that could endanger water quality. You will invest another $2 billion on schemes to bring water from the flood-prone north to the south, if feasible. Another another (sic) $5 billion for helping state power networks operate in high temperatures.

Clearly Andrew’s political points are more important that others’ political points, and no death is too tragic to prove them.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW