Australia is giving herself a nosebleed

“Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger.” (Proverbs 29:8)

It was only 2 days agothat I spoke about how the bushfires in Australia have been used to promote political agendas. I suggested that we should begin with grieving with those who have suffered loss, and we can give and pray, but sadly there are some Aussies who’ve bypassed these steps and run straight to angry politicisation.

There are many everyday Aussies who are helping out. There are political representatives across the divide leading and serving. There is however a sick undercurrent that is forcing itself to the surface.

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If we needed any new examples of the insanity and unscrupulous behaviour that is taking over our culture, here are two that have arisen in the last 24 to 48 hours.

One, Victoria remains under a heightened state of emergency, with weather conditions worsening today and the high probability of fires flaring across the State. As emergency services are stretched, Victorian Police have urged people not to attend a planned protest in the city today.

A group known as “Uni Students for Climate Justice”, are organising an anti Scott Morrison protest in Melbourne CBD late Friday afternoon.

 Acting Assistant Commissioner Tim Hansen, emergency services minister, Lisa Neville,  and the Premier Daniel Andrews have all condemned the planned action.

Neville has said,

“This is a really reckless and selfish thing people are doing,”

“I don’t want to see police having to pull people out of [fire-affected] communities to come in and manage a protest.

“There is a time for protests. It’s not this Friday.”

Instead of clogging the streets of Melbourne on a day when our emergency services are being pushed to the limits with life threatening fires across our State, why not find a way to help local communities in need?

Second, one of Australia’s wealthiest businessmen, Andrew Forrest, has donated $70 million toward bushfire relief. All week, people have been shouting out their donations and calling on fellow Australians to show generosity at this time. But in the case of Andrew Forrest, leftist twitter has nothing to say except derision and outrage.

For example,

“Andrew Forrest’s net worth exceeds $12.8 billion. His self-serving tax deduction of $70 million is less than 0.55% of his wealth. No single human being should be that rich. A student with $100 in the bank who donates $1 is showing greater generosity.”

“so disappointing.”

“Andrew Forrest explains his faith. So his god found the key; and placed it back on his bike were he’d find it. His god ignores so much distress & tragedy; ignores so much misery. But helps young Andrew find his bike key? Is this faith? Or is there a severe mental unbalance here?”

I won’t repeat the worst of the tweets. Why such disdain for Twiggy Forrest? 1. He isn’t a green carrying progressive. 2. He hasn’t blamed the bushfires 150,000% on Climate Change. 3. He aligns himself with the Christian faith.

I know next to nothing about Mr Forrest, but the hypocrisy of his critics is telling. The same voices who are praising donations and demanding action cannot accept a $70 million donation because they don’t like the man’s politics and religion.

The bushfires are sadly illustrating once again how fractious and polarised our society is, and our inability to exercise humility and grace. I wouldn’t be surprised that if Jesus Christ himself came to Melbourne today, the response would be, “crucify him”!

“For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” (Proverbs 30:33)

The Aussie nose is bleeding and it’s likely to keep flowing for some time. Australian society desperately needs new voices, not giving up on truth but speaking with wisdom and kindness. We need new voices, not to compete with the anger but to create a better story for the wellbeing and future of this country.

7 thoughts on “Australia is giving herself a nosebleed

  1. Yes well said Murray. And bravo Lisa Neville.
    In this context you are quite right to call out those who are addicted to pugilistic politics.
    The smoke has done more to bring this country together than anything put forward by either of the blame-gaming “two sides”.
    Can I commend this YOUTUBE video (Can anything good come out of China/America?) as we Christians seek to find with the mercy of the Lord upon us our public path in these times?

    Thanks for your ongoing deployment of your talent and blog-tongue as “watchman on the city gates”.
    Earth, earth, earth hear the word of the Lord.
    Bruce Wearne
    Point Lonsdale

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  2. While I don’t agree with the timing of these protests, I do agree with their right to do so. The point has fairly been raised about the number of police that had to be deployed on New Year’s Eve (during the perhaps insensitive and unnecessary fireworks) not just in Melbourne and Sydney but elsewhere around Australia. The same goes for those managing crowds each night at BBL matches. We don’t complain about the resources needed for these events of entertainment, but are making a fuss about those who are exercising a democratic right to push for action on an issue which is clearly a factor exacerbating the danger of these fires?

    It is certainly possible to raise our voices in criticism of things that led to this problem while at the same time giving our prayers, our time, and our donations to support those affected. Would it not be beneficial to do all we can to see this kind of disaster be better prepared for and managed in the future? This means keeping our leaders accountable.

    As for the remarks defending Andrew Forrest’s generosity, firstly I would direct you to Mark 12:41-44. Then I would point out that the vast portion of his donation ($50M) is going back into his own organisation and will no doubt be spent in his own interests. Only $10M goes to the Red Cross to be used in areas of most need. Maybe he doesn’t need to be shamed over his donation, but he doesn’t exactly need to be defended or praised, either.

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    • thanks Greg. I also affirm peoples right to protest. The issue is absolutely one of timing and ignoring requests from police.

      I’m neither defending or praising Mr Forrest’s donation but am noting the sheer hypocrisy of those who are criticising him. The criticisms about Forrest have been less about how he is dividing his donation, but denouncing his gift because of the reasons I’ve cited above. Changing their rhetoric about Aussie generosity based on whether they like the person donating or not is hypocrisy

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  3. My son was at those very protests.
    That verse is probably about personal relationships, not how to make your voice heard in matters of National policy in a modern democracy under threat from government mismanagement. The political right in Australia is starting to sound more and more like the Alt-Right in America. They deny climate science, and just continue burning and exporting coal and providing bad international leadership on the whole subject. The Australian Alt-Right complain that we ‘only’ produce 1.3% of the world’s CO2, ignoring the fact that there are 20 other countries at similar emission levels that we could lead by example, amounting to a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions.

    So when my son’s generation read headlines like the following, what are they meant to do?
    “Ross Garnaut’s climate change prediction is coming true and it’s going to cost Australia billions, experts warn. Twelve years ago, economist Ross Garnaut made a prophecy that has devastatingly come true.”
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-08/economic-bushfires-billions-ross-garnaut-climate-change/11848388
    They might have pulled some police out of fire effected zones. How many? What percent of the total Victorian police force? Inappropriate timing? When Garnaut’s predictions come true on your watch, it DEMANDS that you take action when the government will not. As far as I can see, Mr Alt-Right punched Australia in the nose, and only these university students are bothering to try and hold back his other arm so he can’t do it again.

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      • Ah, apologies. I guess I stretched the “Alt-Right” metaphor too far and meant to personify the entire Alt Right movement with Proverbs 30’s nosebleed, rather than have a cheap shot at our Prime Minister. In the context of this very post, that would be poor form indeed! While there is much to be said about his management of these fires, that is another conversation, and giving personal attacks would be breaching Romans 13 on honouring those who govern us. It was not what I intended so please accept my apologies for sloppy writing.

        My main point is that in a vast country of 25 million people with first world wealth, we have the economic power to both fight fires and have a conversation about the cause of those fires. Exactly why cannot Victorian police both manage the fires *and* a few university students exercising their democratic rights during a period of unprecedented climate effects? Just how devastating was this to the Victorian police force? I’m just not convinced these demonstrations were that inconvenient. They have a $3bn budget and 19,635 officers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Police Sure they pleaded for it not to go ahead, but that’s because they are under pressure. Even their own press release confirmed that these are *unprecedented times*. They also seemed to indicate it was more of a nuisance than a catastrophe.
        https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-08/bushfire-protests-planned-melbourne-a-resource-drain-say-police/11851626

        Australia losing more than 3 or even 4 times the Amazon fires is a catastrophe. Australia losing so many lives to fire is a catastrophe. Australian’s living with smoke that could have lifelong health consequences is a catastrophe for our future public health costs. Australia not taking the leadership on the 20 other small-emitter nations could prove catastrophic.

        These fires might be unprecedented, but they are *not* unexpected. Garnaut predicted this 12 years ago. If I were an energetic young Uni student in the heart of the culture-forming University campus, this would be the perfect time to go to a climate march. As long as it is peaceful and respectful, we are invited to make our voice heard. The country is on fire, and Garnaut predicted this. Do the math. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KtGg-Lvxso&feature=emb_logo

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