Everyone Is Dragging Scott Morrison For Offering “Thoughts And Prayers” To Bushfire Victims
"Bugger the thoughts and prayers, Scott. They don't work."
On November 9 twitter user @AussieAce_ tweeted, asking when Prime Minister Scott Morrison would be sending thoughts and prayers to the victims of the recent bushfires. It might have remained as a snarky and somewhat cynical commentary on the inaction of politicians in the face of a previous crises, if ScoMo had not ACTUALLY sent this tweet only four hours later.
Predictably, people were not impressed.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been so directly and horribly impacted by these fires. https://t.co/XvgsLv4eht
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) November 9, 2019
— Annoyed Peasant (@AussieAce_) November 8, 2019
I doubt impacted community members are impressed with your folksy platitudes. History will record that you waved a lump of coal around in Parliament, undermined our hard won freedoms and propped up “political donors” in the #fossil fuel industry during a #ClimateEmergency #auspol
— Andrew Laird (@ReclaimAnglesea) November 9, 2019
This is so reminiscent of the thoughts and prayers so routinely issued in the US after mass shootings where they continue to address the cause. Address climate change. Now.
— Cat A Strofic (@Count_to_17) November 9, 2019
Greens MP Adam Bandt also responded, igniting a war with liberal politicians who spent the day dodging questions linking climate change to the unprecedented bushfires. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack even went so far as to call people with these concerns “raving inner-city lunatics” in an ABC Radio interview.
I’m deeply saddened by the loss of life. Hearts go out to all affected & to brave firefighters.
But words & concern are not enough.
The PM does not have the climate emergency under control.
Unless we lead a global effort to quit coal & cut pollution, more lives will be lost.
— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) November 9, 2019
In days long past, ‘thoughts and prayers’ were offered as a sincere expression of sympathy and a request for some kind of holy intervention on that person’s behalf. But as many Twitter users astutely observed, more recently it has been transformed into a token statement that seems to get wheeled out during times of tragedy in lieu of any meaningful action.
As of this morning there were 64 fires burning across New South Wales with a further 51 in Queensland, and conditions are only set to worsen.
A state of emergency has been declared for both states, with more than 150 homes already destroyed and three people losing their lives.
Of course, in times like this prayer can be comforting for some — but it’s ultimately meaningless unless offered in conjunction with actual policy changes.
Stop with the thoughts an prayers bullshit — you’ve had at least 6 years to:
– build up our emergency services
– prepare Australia for Drought
THAT’S NEARLY A DECADE OF INACTION #StickYourThoughtsANDprayersUpYourArse
— Alan Jones’ Underpants (@ElmerRudd) November 9, 2019
That’s what the Emergency Leaders For Climate Action has been asking for since April, when they released a joint statement signed by 23 former senior fire and emergency service leaders. The letter warned of the increased danger facing emergency staff due to climate change and requested a meeting with Mr Morrison to discuss the issue.
One of the signatories was retired Commissioner for Fire & Rescue NSW Greg Mullins, who sent a follow up letter in September warning that Australia was “entering uncharted territory with worsening extreme weather”.
“My fellow emergency services leaders and I are deeply concerned that we are not adequately prepared, and that our brave emergency services personnel and communities are in increasingly grave danger,” he wrote.
In Sept, former Chief of Fire & Rescue NSW, Greg Mullins told #thedrum of vain attempts to meet with PM & ministers on #bushfires. His letters ignored. His pleas that we act now on climate, his concern we're unprepared for this "uncharted territory" of extreme weather – ignored. https://t.co/kEJklA2cQH
— Dr Julia Baird (@bairdjulia) November 10, 2019
The Emergency Leaders for Climate Action also called for a parliamentary inquiry into whether emergency services are adequately equipped, and for state governments to cease cutting the budgets of forestry, national parks, urban and rural fire services.
It’s measures like this that are a lot more effective than thoughts and prayers, and as the most powerful person in Australian politics, Scott Morrison has them at his disposal.
Bugger the thoughts and prayers, Scott. They don’t work.
— Miranda Mohajerin (@mirandamohajrn) November 9, 2019