As catastrophic bushfires continue to rage across south-eastern Australia, as property continues to burn, human and animal lives continue to be lost, and the Prime Minister is under constant partisan attack for simply trying to do his job in a crisis, one of the lessons being learned in the flames is that nature doesn’t give a rat’s about state borders, federal-state responsibilities and who does what at times like these.
It doesn’t need yet another royal commission to tell even the most bone-headed Green that effectively combating future natural disasters on the scale we’re now witnessing, be they fire, flood, cyclone or any other natural cause, needs a strong, powerful leader in ultimate charge who can cut through the crap, crush political, jurisdictional and professional jealousies, and have overriding control of federal, state and private resources for the common good of saving lives and property.
A disaster supremo empowered by federal and state governments, and ultimately accountable to them, able to put even prime ministers and premiers in their place in times of dire emergency.
Such a person would have the stature and force of personality needed to bash the most senior heads together when necessary, squash industrial-strength egos and bend them to the common will of Team Australia.
Such a person would need to understand how policy and political decisions are made at the highest level and, therefore, know how to cut through red tape and petty politics to maximise the efforts of front-line responders and give immediate comfort and support to those communities and families who have lost everything.
And they would need a first-hand understanding of what’s involved in what Scott Morrison called “holding a hose”, and has experienced the dangers and risks facing those willing to lay down their lives to help their fellow Australians in dire peril without thought for their own safety.
There is one person, just one person, who has the character, skills and experience to fill such a role, someone whose unique combination of frontline experience and dealing with disasters at the very highest level makes them absolutely qualified to be Australia’s natural disaster supremo.
A person who, ridiculed for his selfless community service by people who would never place their lives in jeopardy for others as he has, and while still in his prime has been cast aside by so-called friends as well as his opponents. An under-appreciated but perfectly-qualified person who would answer the call with distinction in such a role.
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