Bill's Speeches

STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE ON THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRES

STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE ON THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRES

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA

 

THURSDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2015

Thank you Mr Speaker

The people in fire-affected South Australia should know they are in the thoughts of this Parliament and of all Australians.

We offer our deep condolences to the loved ones of the lost and the injured.

I have just spoken in the last 30 minutes to Nick Champion, the Member for Wakefield who has returned to be with his family and to be with his constituents in fire-affected South Australia.

He tells me that right now, there are still lots of blocked roads and the CFS are still putting fires out.

He tells me the fire lapped right up to the town of Kapunda, where he is and where he grew up.

There are harrowing stories, but for the time being the hazard has passed.

Everyone says they have never seen a fire like this, of such magnitude and ferocity.

A volunteer firefighter in Greenock reports that his father, who has lived and farmed in the area for 75 years said he had never seen the like of it before.

The scale of the losses, the damage, the grief, the death, the injuries and lost livestock.

Cars burnt out by the side of the road, one abandoned in the middle of the highway – others facing the wrong way, destroyed.

Shock is the dominant emotion.

We commend hundreds of South Australian firefighters and CFS volunteers who, in the past 24 hours, have shown incredible bravery in difficult and dangerous circumstances.

As a Victorian, I’m very proud that 200 firefighters in 50 trucks are on the way to Adelaide, and will start their first shift tomorrow.

This is what Australians do.

Adam Lindsay Gordon once said of Australia:

Life is mainly froth and bubble.                                                                                                                        

But two things stand like stone.

Kindness in another’s trouble and courage in your own

Mr Speaker

This is the second time in four days our Parliament has paused to pay respect to people who have been lost to bushfires.

And to salute the resilience and resolve of Australians, with summer having not even begun.

These fires are a reminder to all, especially those who live in areas at risk of fire, to be prepared for the very worst.

We urge all Australians, have your fire plans ready.

Please, do everything you can to keep yourself and your family safe in the weeks and months ahead.

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