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The clock's just passed midday and we're not quite three weeks into spring. Here I am watching the temperature climb dangerously. It's already so hot outside, lizards are sneaking in under the front door, seeking refuge inside the house. The border collie normally demands his lunchtime walk around this time. Not today. He's pegged out under the desk.
The Hazards Near Me app is ablaze with yellow triangles, denoting fires all the way along the coast up to the Queensland border. Mercifully, none have yet turned orange or red but that won't stop me from checking throughout the day. It's an unsettling feeling of deja vu, a mild hyper-vigilance forged four years ago. And it's made worse by news just in.
Forget about the worsening fire outlook in Queensland and the NSW North Coast. It's been revealed Scott Morrison is preparing to publish a book about how his Pentecostal faith sustained him through the most difficult days of his "miraculous" prime ministership.
I was reminded of that recent history cleaning out a wardrobe on the weekend. A white T-shirt fell to the floor. It up it bore the smirking face of the former PM, in a Hawaiian shirt, his head haloed by a lei, with the words "Merry Crisis" emblazoned over the top.
The T-shirt had been sent to me a colleague whose own part of the world had been ravaged by flames. It summed up the fury felt by so many of us who lived through the Black Summer fires. Where I lived, the fire raged out of control for more than 70 days.
Morrison was the prime minister who refused to meet with fire chiefs who wanted to warn about the danger of the coming fire season.
The prime minister who caught the eye of The New York Times when downplaying concerns about whole cities being blanketed in smoke. That was early December 2019.
The prime minister who skulked off secretly in the middle of the crisis for a family holiday.
The man who tried to force handshakes on traumatised fire victims as part of a photo opp. The bloke who didn't hold a hose, mate.
He's writing a book telling us it was all part of God's plan and he's already received advance royalties for it.
I have to step away for a minute to allow the blood pressure to subside ...
Forget the waste of paper for a tome destined for the $2 remainder bin alongside Dad's Favourite Fishing Jokes. The real tragedy in this book, which promises to chronicle "God's faithfulness throughout, win or lose, public criticism or public success" is that it's bound to say more about Morrison's faith in himself than in God.
I saw that iron faith up close in 2019 when Morrison was on the hustings ahead of the 2019 "miracle". He had in tow Warren Mundine, who he'd parachuted - disastrously it turned out - into the seat of Gilmore. Morrison simply wouldn't accept the anger he'd caused with his captain's pick. So convinced he'd made the right call, he wouldn't listen. He effectively handed the the once safe Liberal seat to Labor.
The poor chap now has to supplement his meagre backbencher's pay - $225,742, not counting the raft of allowances - by writing a book about how he navigated the crises he faced with the help of God. He's now holding a spiritual hose, if you like.
In the time it's taken to write this, as the temperature climbs to 37 degrees, more yellow triangles have appeared on the hazards app, one just 20km away. I can't help thinking that Morrison could now pick up a real hose, perhaps do as Tony Abbott does, and join the Rural Fire Service.
And as for his book, due out next year, it's one ministry which ought to be kept secret.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Would you accept any spiritual advice from Scott Morrison? If you live in the eastern states, how are you, your family and your pets coping in this heatwave? Have you drawn up a bushfire survival plan? Are the authorities ready for the fire season? Email us: email@example.com
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
- Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen has slammed the Coalition's proposal to refit retiring coal-fired power stations with nuclear technology after his department put the cost of the plan at $387 billion. The Coalition wants nuclear technology to play a role in the nation's energy transition and, according to reports, is planning to incorporate nuclear power in its 2025 election policy.
- Greens leader Adam Bandt insists his party is actively campaigning for a "yes" Voice vote despite concern the progressive party is running a concurrent door-knocking campaign on housing during the final month before the referendum vote. Despite the party's formal position in favour of the Voice to Parliament, there is concern within the "yes" camp that parts of the Greens, particularly the state branches, have pulled back or are absent from the Voice campaign.
- Motorists are forking out well over $2 a litre for fuel in parts of the country because of spiking oil prices and a weakening Australian dollar. In some parts of the nation, petrol prices have overtaken the highs of last year after the conflict in Ukraine sent prices soaring.
THEY SAID IT: "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you." - Saint Augustine
YOU SAID IT: The rules Welcome to Country and Acknowledgment of Country have no place in public worship services and that the Uluru Statement of the Heart is theologically repellent.
Barbara writes: "I agree with you that the WtC, performed well, is moving. I particularly like knowing on whose land we're gathered. I have found that the AoC is frequently just a meaningless sentence at the start of a meeting. This was particularly irritating during the pandemic where so many meetings were online. I've been in (public service) meetings where the convenor 'acknowledged the custodians of the land on which we meet' when participants were viewing from numerous different tribal areas."
"I am not an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and not related by marriage," writes Marlene. "But to say I was gobsmacked by the comments of the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church is an understatement! More like being hit in the head by a wrecking ball! How dare they attempt to dismiss the incredible damage done to our First Nations peoples by all churches, by the white invasion! If this is some attempt to publicise their organisation and hitch a ride on the coattails of the 'no' faction, they've done a brilliant job in the most incredibly negative way possible. Furthermore, how dare they presume to impose their God on people who knew, loved and protected this country until the white invaders arrived with their guns, diseases and cultural sins. Who has ever seen the god of the white invaders? Unless it's in the ongoing disasters wrought by the whites and their God! But I see the Aboriginal god in the sun, stars, moon, sky, trees, rivers, land, flora and fauna everywhere I look! Although the white invaders are slowly destroying it all!"
Ivan, on Biripi country, writes: "Effectively, the Presbyterian General Assembly of Australia can only make binding decisions through a process of referral to Presbyteries (regional councils). That having been said, the observation about a 'trifecta of nonsense' is a sad commentary on people who have been promoted beyond their level of competence."
"I was stunned to read these Monty Pythonesque dictums from the Presbyterian church," writes Alison. "Who do they think they are? God almighty? The condescension is appalling. Where are the ears to listen, the imagination to envisage, the heart to feel compassion? What a narrow-minded, pompous 'God' they've invented. I've never had a problem with acknowledging country. We have made and are making so many mistakes in managing it and I can't believe it's taken so long to start learning from the original inhabitants. Compared to their tenure, posturing from our couple of hundred years is downright arrogance."
Craig writes: "One of the church's truly great lay leaders would be turning in his grave. Charles Duguid set up the Ernabella Mission in 1937 and did many wonderful things, including supporting Aboriginal advancement, culture and language. His wife Phyllis was equally inspiring. Over time, WtC and AoC will gather nuance and simplicity. Indigenous peoples have always melded traditional religion with Christianity. We should return the compliment."
"The Uniting Church starts every service with an acknowledgement of Aboriginal people as custodians of the land in which Australians live," writes Arthur.
Lai writes: "Today's offering has a fair bit of wokieness in it. The welcome to country nonsense that you reckon is a good thing is just that, nonsense. It is an invention by a television presenter and his mate from 1976. It has gotten to a point where you cannot open a bloody envelope without some fifth generation urbanites charging $5000.00 to go through this concocted pantomime. It should be banned."
"I hear your comments about Welcome to, and Acknowledgement of, Country," writes Sue. "So true. They are another reminder that we are the newcomers to this land which had a highly adapted civilisation here before the Europeans. If the news from or about Christian churches and their associated organisations, say in this century, was to be analysed, how much of that news would be positive and relevant, and how much not? I would say the 'nays' have it."
Anne writes: "I think welcomes to country, capitalised or not, are obscene. Having taken the country by force from Aboriginals, we now expect them to welcome us to it? Truly an illogical weird attitude. It amuses me that fees are charged for doing so. Who reduced land to a monetary concept only? Not Aboriginals. A friend said once her attitude was if welcomes to country make you feel better keep doing them. Just don't kid yourself they make the slightest bit of difference to the mortality rate, or anything else for that matter. However, clumsy attempts to at least acknowledge that someone was here earlier pale into insignificance beside the truly disgusting views of the Presbyterian document. This is a new low. Where on earth do we go from here? Echidna, is there any room in your burrow?"
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