Stop The Floods – Of Political Bullshit

We all agree the recent spate of flooding up and down Australia’s eastern seaboard of epic – and some say biblical – proportions has been a terrible disaster. The final damage bill will probably be never accurately known, but will undoubtedly also be of epic or biblical proportions. It will certainly be massive.

There has however been a lot of political opportunism going on, at a time when it really shouldn’t be about politics.

Greens leader Bob Brown was attributed as saying “coal miners caused the floods” – and although this quote has been shown to not be entirely accurate, he certainly did say in a press release:

“”It is unfair that the cost is put on all taxpayers, not the culprits””

“”Burning coal is a major cause of global warming. This industry, which is 75% owned outside Australia, should help pay the cost of the predicted more severe and more frequent floods, droughts and bushfires in coming decades. As well, 700,000 seaside properties in Australia face rising sea levels.””

So while he didn’t exactly say “coal miners caused the floods”, he clearly labels them a “culprit”. Although the comments are most likely more destructive than they are useful, he’s not the only politician using the floods as a political platform.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott stated in a recent radio or television interview – (I missed it myself and if anyone has a link, I would be grateful) – in a thinly-veiled attack on the current budget deficit, that a cleanup of this magnitude required a “strong budget surplus”.


Homes and lives have been destroyed – (and in some cases still in the process of being destroyed) – and he wants to make it about his budgetary surplus crusade.

Gutless. Utterly gutless.

Later, he has called for the scrapping of the National Broadband Network project, using the funds for the flood rebuild. Of course, blocking the funding for the NBN – a 10 year project – does not make that funding available to use for the rebuilding effort.

The NBN is to be funded from government debt and external investment, with its business plan demonstrating that the network itself will self-fund the repayment of that debt over the life of the project.

Scrapping the NBN will not release any significant amount of funding that could be used for flood relief. Yes the money has to come from somewhere, but Abbott seems primarily concerned about the precious budget surplus. What about the huge number of jobs the construction of the NBN will bring to Australia? Do we just forget those? Do we ignore the value to the economy they would provide?

The latest news is that the government are considering introducing a once-off taxation levy for all Australians to help fund the effort. You know, to lessen the effect on the budget?

So what does Tony say about that?

“”I’m opposed to unnecessary new taxes and that’s what this is””

So he’s worried about the budget, yet considers this effort to minimise the effect on the budget an “unnecessary new tax”. The article goes on to state that “the Coalition says Labor should stick to its surplus promise and appears set to oppose any extra levy to fund a multi-billion-dollar rebuilding package”.

You can’t worry about the state of the budget, but oppose something designed to minimise damage that would be caused to it by this unfortunate situation. People without jobs, who are struggling to make ends meet, who are without homes, and who have just lost loved ones don’t give a rats arse about budget surpluses or deficits.

Get a grip Tony. On reality.

Stop the flood of political bullshit – and lets get on with helping these people get on with their lives. Donate to the Premier’s Flood Relief Fund.

UPDATE: Thanks to @Drag0nista for finding the original quote regarding “strong budget surplus” from Abbott, documented here, and at the Liberal Party website in this article.