Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Operation Bush Fire

We are mobilising. Amidst the sadness, the horror, the frustration, the disbelief, Australians are doing what they really do well - mobilising. Rallying, thinking, organising, examining, crying, comforting, helping, nitpicking, watching ...but it is all doing and it is all moving us forward. We are a small nation on a vast continent. We cannot afford to get lost in this. I feel much better now I have made my donation to the Red Cross Appeal. I could not bear to think these people do not even have a toothbrush or a bar of soap and that was my driving thought.The lady on the other end of the phone was friendly, efficient, methodical and very warm in her reaction. She made me feel like I had done something good. She made it very personal and she told me that interstate people had been very generous and helpful.I would have donated my money no matter who was at the other end and how they sounded, but the fact I got such a kind response has only encouraged me. In a few minutes she taught me how we need to be right now...and we have been like that. I have found both Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull to have been good leaders in this situation and John Brumby has been just incredible. As the head of Victoria John Brumby is well aware of the responsibility he carries and he has come into his own. He has been a steadying, rational influence who has been able to secure the help for his state that it needs. His demeanour has been both steady and influential but in a very understated way. He is a good carer. Kevin Rudd has been remarkable. He has been quite clearly as disturbed and upset by this as we have. He has felt this as an Australian, but he has been out there trying to provide the right help, support and comfort. He has been trying to mobilise whatever resources he can as Prime Minister, but he has not come out with any trite and well worn speeches. He has just felt it and said it as we have. We can be proud of our parliament's  condolence speech . This is how politicians should be and it's a damn shame such a disaster has to occur for us to see we actually have a pretty good lot of politicians sitting in our parliament. But we have been following Malcolm Turnbull's catch cry...and we needed a rallying point. He said : " Whatever it takes." We have hung our hats on these words and rolled up our sleeves and got to work. We are hatching fund raising plans. We have trucks of goods leaving SA tomorrow destined for the bush fire areas. We have been donating , rallying support and just getting in there and doing whatever it takes to keep us mobile and active. We have the thinkers providing us with plenty to cogitate as we do all this because our stay and defend or up and leave policy did not work. These fires have been unusual. Our standing orders fell apart. We have had the police examining every bit of evidence so that we catch the arsonists and we have already decided it is too dangerous to have them living with us. Too dangerous. Too expensive. Too devastating. We have the army rolling out some impressive equipment and we have had the media doing a brilliant job of keeping us informed and on our toes. We cannot stand still. We have to build up a critical mass of activity so we roll this onto positive ground and we are doing it. We don't really say much. We just get on and do whatever it takes.

No comments: