Nimbin The Australian Michael Balderstone
(Image: The Australian)

Amidst bushfires that both climate scientists and firefighters explicitly say were exacerbated by global heating, The Australian last week chose a different tack with the front page story “Hippies of Nimbin admit bush got too wild” featuring HEMP Party president Michael Balderstone.

Originating earlier this decade as a dead-cat strategy against climate science, the argument that opposition from “greenies” to hazard-reduction has something to do with the current crisis was brought up last week by Barnaby Joyce. Balderstone’s apparent support for the anti-Greens line has been cited in a subsequent editorial condemning the Greens, and a Miranda Devine op-ed outright blaming the party for the fires. (The Greens, it needs to be stressed, neither oppose hazard reduction nor have any power over it.)