Opinion

Morrison’s carefully staged visit to Lismore

Early today, it was announced that “Prime Minister Scott Morrison will declare a national emergency in response to catastrophic floods in Northern NSW.”

Has the Prime Minister lost his marbles?

You mean to say that the Prime Minister has only just realised that the flood damage is a “national emergency”?

Prime Minister, it is more than that, it is a national disaster.

And does the Prime Minister think that this has only occurred in Northern NSW?

Will someone tell him that more than 15,000 homes and properties have been flooded in Brisbane; 13 people have died in QLD.

Is that a national disaster?

What about the damage in places like Gympie and Toowoomba and the Hawkesbury in NSW?

No wonder the Prime Minister has been warned about a hostile reaction.

The announcement does him no favours.

To specify geographically Northern NSW is to ignore the devastation elsewhere.

And anyway, it is a contradiction in terms, a “national emergency” yet announcing it in relation to one geographic area, “Northern NSW”.

What has happened in Lismore defies description but requires a massive response.

The nation sees and understands the devastation but feels powerless to do anything.

That is why they elect a national government.

Surely the Prime Minister is not going to add insult to devastation by promising another two weekly disaster payments of $1,000 per adult to people who have lost everything except what they are standing up in; and then money for mental health and counselling services.

Prime Minister, do some homework.

Tell flood ravaged communities how they are going to rebuild and who is going to pay.

I have argued, unsuccessfully, for years, for a National Disaster Fund.

We don’t have it and because we don’t, we have these insulting and piddling amounts of money given to people who have lost their homes, their assets, their personal possessions, their businesses, their livelihoods, their dignity and their self-esteem.

Many have no power; many have applied for meaningless grants and have had no answer.

But the Prime Minister is giving them $1,000 per adult and $400 per child.

Where will these people live, Prime Minister, today? Where will they be living next month?

This recovery has to take on the same dimension as the rebuilding of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy; and Prime Ministerial platitudes about how wonderful the communities have responded will not put a roof over anyone’s head or food on anyone’s table.

If the Prime Minister could not guarantee, when he went to Lismore, support for all flood-ravaged communities and destitute families in Australia, then he shouldn’t have gone.

Why is it, in 2022, that we see, wherever we look, a crisis in Western political leadership.

Our Prime Minister has only just discovered that the nation is facing a national disaster brought on by floods.

If he wants to witness living proof of the failure of government, take a visit to the NSW Bega Electorate, which the Liberal Party have just lost in a by-election.

He will see first-hand and hear first-hand that government, in the wake of the bushfires there, made a lot of noise and offered a lot of talk, but the devastation of 2019/2020 bushfires still remains.

Are the victims of the floods now going to be subjected to the same government indifference and abandonment?

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