Victorian bushfires — a question of justice [by Andrew Phillips]

By Andrew Phillips, 9th February 2009

Like most Australians I watched the footage of the Victorian bushfires with a sense of despair. The endless stories coming from the victims, all individual in the circumstances and detail, but unfortunately coming to the same heart wrenching conclusion.

Over a short period, the fires have torn across Victoria destroying farmland, annihilating regional towns, leaving thousands homeless and a death toll at this point in time of 105. The final toll is yet to be determined and will not be known until Emergency Services have had time to assess the damage and investigate the ruins of buildings and burnt cars — a task no sane person would relish.

On a bright note, the tragedy we are witnessing has once again brought to the fore that traditional and quintessential Aussie trait of mateship and self sacrifice for the good of our compatriots. The volunteers in the CFA must be commended for their tireless efforts in fighting the fires around the state. These efforts have resulted in personal injuries, many volunteers have lost properties of their own in their efforts to save the properties of their neighbours. In the community of Kinglake, CFA volunteers fought to keep the fire at bay while the women and children of the community sheltered in a communal building — without a doubt, the true meaning of the word heroes.

Likewise, many others in the surrounding communities have banded together to assist their neighbours in whatever way possible, through provision of supplies, shelter and food. Altruism one has always found amongst the Australian people, particularly in regional areas.

However, once the fires have been brought under control and the final horrendous financial, emotional and personal costs are made known and the building begins once again, the issue of justice must be address.

Authorities have already indicated they believe the fires were deliberately lit. During the hottest period in recorded history, with strong winds some low life has gone out and set fire to productive lands for nothing more than a cheap personal thrill, the prospect of seeing the fruits of his labour splashed across national television.

Countless farms burned, stock dead or suffering from the effects of the flames, towns razed to the ground, thousands of people left homeless and who knows how many victims will be discovered in buildings and vehicles in the aftermath?

Rarely would I ever agree with words uttered by PM K.Rudd, but recent footage showed the man struggling for words to describe his view of the perpetrator of this crime. “What can you say? It’s murder, mass murder”.

Mass murder. Yes indeed Rudd. A premeditated act resulting in the deaths of well over 100 fellow Australians. Not dissimilar to Bali really — more than likely, this barbarian is one of our own and committed this heinous act for personal gratification, not in the guise of pursuing some religious war against the hated kaffir…..

Those responsible for killing so many Australians in Bali were executed for their crime with the approval of Kevin Rudd. From Rudd’s own mouth he has declared the situation in Victoria to be an act of mass murder. Justice demands that once these perpetrators are found, they be given life in prison. Personally, I believe the laws should be overhauled and people such as this should be given a speedy dispatch as befits their crime.

Members of the Protectionist Party extend their heartfelt sympathies to those suffering in Victoria. We cannot hope to understand the feelings of loss experienced by those who have lost businesses, family farms, homes and even more importantly, family members, however our thoughts are with you.

For those members wishing to donate to the victims of the fire, please call:1800 811 700 or alternatively you can visit the website of the Red Cross: www.redcross.org.au

I would strongly urge any members who are able, to donate generously.