#RFSNSW

NSW Rural Fire Service statistics – where your tax dollars go

NSWRFS Budget.png

The media has been quick to pick on the calls for our government to spend more on our fire services. We thought it a good idea to look at the facts gleaned from the annual reports of the NSW RFS, available here. We will go through state by state in the coming days and look at the totals to work out where our money has gone. What you are about to read may surprise you.

The first chart denotes the NSW RFS budget. The 2018-19 budget was $554mn, up from $311mn 5 years prior, or a 78% increase. One would expect that money would be spent on shiny new toys to help fight fires.

NSWRFS FT.png

As we can see, the number of fire trucks in service has trended down. From a peak of 4,385 in 2014/15 to 3,883 in 2018/19 or down 11%. There could be an argument made for replacements to more efficient equipment but in order to put out blazes, sheer numbers should help

NSWRFS WP.png

Water Pumper numbers have fallen from 71 to 63, or -11%. Water carriers have fallen from a peak of 64 to 53, or -17%.

NSWRFS WC.png

When looking at the number of grass or bushfires that were dealt with the trend looks as follows.

NSWRFS Bushfires

When assessing controlled burns, the total area in hectares by year that was conducted is as follows.

NSWRFS CB.png

However, when dividing by the number of controlled burns conducted by year, we see that the average slid from 259ha per burn to 74ha. This is not proof of efficacy.

NSWRFS CB PC.png

How has the trend of the brave and selfless volunteers at the NSW RFS progressed?

RFS Voluntee.png

Employed staff at the NSW RFS has increased from 846 in 2012/13 to 936 in 2018/19.

NSW RFS FT Emp.png

With that, average salaries have crept up from $114,285 in 2012/13 to $131,908 in the latest filing. In no way is FNF Media casting aspersions on the value of those full-time employees.

NSWRFS FTE Salary Avg.png

Although the growth in the Chief Commissioner’s total remuneration has grown from $292,450 in 2012/13 to $439,015 in 2018/19 or a 50% increase over that period.

NSW RFS CC Salary.png

Running the RFS is no simple task. Hiring good people to run the operation shouldn’t be done on the cheap.

The reason FNF Media has suggested that the fire services need a thorough audit is to work out whether tax dollars are being spent wisely. Since 2012/13, $2.75bn has been spent on the NSW RFS. Are we right to question why a rising budget has led to a drift in equipment and a fall-off in volunteers? Can we link the reduced average burns in some way to the very high level of fuel loads that many volunteers have pointed to within all of the current political grandstanding of chucking more money at the problem instead of evaluating the efficacy of that spend?

Because to look at the data on a stand-alone basis, it would seem that the ball has been dropped somewhere. It doesn’t seem plausible that firefighters can be short of vital equipment when there was a $140mn extra spent last year. Only $15m went on extra salaries. Stands to reason that there might be a problem within the decision making processes in the senior management echelons of the fire service that warrants closer inspection.

That is a job for you Gladys Berejklian

Uninformed bash ScoMo thanks to media which loves to misinform

The optics were awful. Residents of Cobargo, in the Labor held electorate of Eden-Monaro, hurled expletives at PM Scott Morrison. People shunned handshakes and the PM, in hindsight was a little daft trying to force a few for the cameras. It just made a bad situation worse. It was almost Malcolm Turnbullesque in its awkwardness. Still the media got exactly what they wanted – clickbait.

Most of us can’t fathom losing a home to raging bushfires. Yet the media beat up is bordering on Morrison Derangement Syndrome (MDS). Do the press corps honestly believe that Morrison’s popularity would suffer a blow from those assembled? Nary a Coalition voter in that mob.

The reporting has been pathetic. Little or no attempt to point out how the fire services are financed and funded. Next to no coverage of the voices of the volunteer fire fighters who have blamed years of green tape preventing them from mitigating the damage we’re experiencing now. Just feeding narratives and worse incorrectly apportioning blame.

How eerily silent the media has been over Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s two week holiday during these bushfires. Where was the demand for her to come back? No, just kick the PM for having a holiday. Don’t forget to take a swipe at his faith for added mileage.

Like most crises, it’s easy to become an armchair expert when hindsight is 20-20. The simplest thing to do is criticize whoever is at the helm. So MDS reigns supreme on social media as people seek moral preening.

How many are aware that in order to conduct hazard reductions, a combination of local councils, fire authorities and state governments (Dept of Planning, Infrastructure & Environment) need to issue permits? Not the federal government. See below:

NSW

Queensland

Victoria

South Australia

Western Australia

Tasmania

Northern Territory

ACT

So in short, most of this bushfire hazard reduction system is out of the ‘legal’ remit of the PM. What leadership can he truly provide without running roughshod over the state premiers? Even if he did so, nothing practical could have been achieved in such a short time. Not as if you buy fire trucks off a dealership floor.

Should he give the states more cash? Speak in platitudes? Promise the world before having completed the due diligence on the shortcomings that has led to the disaster? Hand out water bottles? Buy a whole fleet of water bombers and keep them parked in hermetically sealed hangars at Canberra Airport for states to borrow as needed?

All the decisions surrounding equipping the fire services are state decisions. This makes sense as each state has a different nature portfolio to oversee.

ScoMo has made sensible commentary to the effect that the hazard reduction regulations need serious overhaul. It is still up to the states to legislate the changes.

FNF Media has suggested a full audit over the several decades within the fire services themselves. Find out what went wrong? The management errors. The processes by which terrible equipment and fuel load choices have been made. Listen to the volunteers who are singing an entirely different tune to the fire management. Don’t forget there is nothing more honest than the voice of someone willing to sacrifice time and money to serve their fellow citizens.

When will the media grow up and start some honest reporting?

As Mark Twain once said,

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.”

Indeed, it’s been a rough couple of weeks for the PM. He has handled the situation poorly. Albanese has extracted some political mileage at his press conferences.

Yet politics is a strange game. Already the media is chomping at the bit in predicting ScoMo’s downfall.

Morrison already won the unwinnable election. Canadian PM Trudeau won a second term despite a myriad of scandals where he was found guilty, black face, nauseating political correctness and endless hypocrisy.

Morrison may have many shortcomings but he still proves why opposition leaders can’t run campaigns on being less worse than the incumbent. Moreover he has many years left in this term to make amends.

Volunteer Fire Fighters Association torches climate alarmists’ bushfire claims

Well, well, well! If we ask the volunteers who dedicate their time for free, we get the truth. No vested interests. Just the wish to serve.

This is an excerpt from the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association(VFFA). It noted,

The Volunteer Firefighters Association (VFFA), the body representing the Voice of Volunteer Rural Firefighters in NSW refutes the claim by green alarmists that climate change is the cause of the recent bushfires in New South Wales.

It’s ridiculous to blame climate change when we know there has been far worse bushfires stretching back to the earliest days of European settlement in Australia including the Black Saturday Victoria 2009, NSW Bushfires 1994, Ash Wednesday Victoria 1983, Blue Mountains NSW 1968, Black Tuesday Hobart 1967 and Black Friday Victoria 1939, said Peter Cannon, President of the VFFA.

The VFFA is angered by comments from the green lobby groups that tackling climate change was more important than prescribed burning of forest fuels to reduce bushfire risk. The real blame rests with the greens and their ideology as they continue to oppose and undermine our efforts to conduct hazard reduction in the cooler months and to prevent private landowners from clearing their lands to reduce bushfire risk.

Hazard reduction is the only proven management tool rural firefighters have to reduce the intensity and spread of bushfires and this has been recognised in numerous bushfire enquires since the Stretton enquiry into the 1939 Victorian Bushfires.

The amount of ‘green tape’ we have to go through to get a burn approved is beyond frustrating; says Peter Cannon. The VFFA is calling on the NSW State Government to reduce the amount of green tape involved in planning and conducting hazard reductions, so that our Volunteer Firefighters can get on with the job of conducting fire prevention works in the cooler months to prevent the inevitable summer bushfire disasters that are now becoming a more regular feature.

The NSW State Government must also provide sufficient funding for bushfire hazard reduction works on a planned and sustained basis, including the creation of asset protection zones and upgrades of all fire trails in high bushfire risk areas.

Remember that it’s far more cost effective, say around 66 to 100 times more cost efficient, to prevent wild fires through hazard reduction than it is to have reactionary fire response, which is what we have at the moment. With the great number of lost homes and decreasing property values through these wild fires, what then will the total fiscal amount be…….when it could have all been prevented by effective Hazard reduction!

To increase the area treated by prescribed burning on bushfire prone lands from the current level of less than 1% per annum to a minimum of 5% per annum, as recommended by the Victorian Royal Commission and many leading bushfire experts.

Hazard Reduction by prescribed burning has been identified as a key management tool to reduce the intensity and spread of bushfires in national bushfire enquiries since the 1939 Stretton Royal Commission. In this regard the VFFA supports:

1 Strategic and targeted hazard reduction by prescribed burning to reduce forest fuel levels and bushfire threat to human life (including fire fighter safety), property and the environment in areas identified as high bushfire risk.

2 Bushfire risk management planning approach based upon the ‘Canobolas’ Model in NSW.

3 Integrated hazard reduction by prescribed burning and complementary methods such as slashing, grazing and cultivation.

4 The provision of adequate recurrent state and commonwealth funding to rural fire agencies, land management agencies and local government for the creation and maintenance of asset protection zones and fire trails in high bushfire risk areas on a planned and sustained basis.

Ongoing relevant research on fire behaviour, prevention and management and the effects of fire on biodiversity through the bushfire Cooperative Research.

Mr. Peter Cannon

President

VFFA

Be it on the heads of the alarmists for a tragedy that could have been minimized if not avoided. This is what happens when ideology meets reality. Thank you VFFA for exposing the truth.

Why didn’t the fire services buy this?

Image result for shinmaywa us-2 fire fighting cost"

Who knew that the Japanese have probably the best fire-fighter bomber available? Shinmaywa originally built the US-2 as a military spec amphibious rescue aircraft. It has been converted into a water bomber. It is expensive (c.$100m) but way more flexible than the Boeing 737 Fireliner. Ultimately, isn’t efficiency the whole ballgame in defeating mega-fires?

The US-2 can carry 15t of firefighting water and fire extinguishers, which is equivalent to the amount that about 21 ordinary firefighting helicopters can carry. The STOL aircraft can drop water with pinpoint accuracy on the area where a fire has spread. By taxiing on the surface of the water/ocean/lake for approximately 20 seconds, the 15-ton water tank can be filled up. This means cycle time can be far faster. Dump, scoop, dump, repeat. It is the ability to help contain a fire that makes it so useful.

The Boeing 737 Fireliner has the same payload as the US-2. The problem with the converted commercial jet is the cycle time is awful. It operates out of 4 airports in NSW because of the length of runway required. While it might take 12 minutes to refill the retardant, if it needs to fly an hour away to do so, the retardant refill time is over 2 hours and that doesn’t take into account checks or refuelling for the aircraft itself. So in order to contain bushfires, it is pretty useless unless the blaze is local.

The US-2 is the aircraft the fire services should have deployed. It also requires slower spotter aircraft too. The 737 requires two Citation jets to keep ahead of it. That didn’t stop the NSW Gov’t spending $26m to get it. Yet more thoughtless deployment of capital.

Why did the RFS management sign off on buying a used military helicopter which spends 5hrs in maintenance for every hour it spends in the air? Why did some RFS units receive new equipment when the existing trucks were only a year old? Who is keeping proper accounts of how monies are allocated? Of course, we all want firefighters to have the best possible equipment but if the administration is lousy, just chucking more money at the problem is futile. Not a bad time to audit the fire services after this disaster.

As with any government spending, we should heed the saying,

Those who cry out that the government should ‘do something’ never even ask for data on what has actually happened when the government did something, compared to what actually happened when the government did nothing.

FNF Media covered off bushfires and climate change here.

Fighting ideological fires

As FNF Media has long held, the stats simply do not back the climate alarmism behind the former fire chiefs led by Greg Mullins who are turning this into a political football. Once again, how quick the media has been happy conflate expertise in one area to another. As we wrote yesterday, too many unqualified people straying out of their lane.

The Australian picked up on comments from former president of the Volunteer Firefighters Association , Mick Holton.

Holton said,

I found he [Greg Mullins] was a great person to work for, and he’s a great fellow, but I think he’s lost his way…It is disappointing to me when he would have learned about fire science and isn’t discussing the fuel load issue…To me, it doesn’t seem right to blame climate change when we’ve dropped the ball on other issues.”

There you have it folks. Not all firefighters are on the same page of Mullins. The only think Mullins and Holton agree on is a strategy to combat fires with a focus on land-management that would include hazard reduction and the advice of indigenous Australians. That’s just what the WA Government’s Bushfire Front website advises.

In order to be called a think tank, critical thinking would help

The problem with think tanks nowadays is that many are giving the rest a bad name. It would seem that not enough are actually doing the thing they are supposed to be doing – critical thinking.

It was only yesterday that the World Economic Forum’s 2020 report on gender justified a superior “health & survivability” gender gap score to Syrian women even though they live on average 15 years less than Australian women. Why? Because the WEF put more emphasis on the age gap between the sexes rather than longevity, poor Syrian males whose average life expectancies struggle to make 52-yo get back-handed applause for doing their bit for gender equality.

Closer to home, the think tank, The Australia Institute (TAI), has proposed the idea of a $1/ton carbon tax on fossil fuel companies to put into an independently administered climate disaster fund.

As ever with left-wing think tanks, taxation is the only viable cure to all ills. On page 37, TAI doesn’t miss the chance to write a few lines about our poor Pacific neighbours at risk of being inundating by rising sea levels despite a study showing 88.6% of Pacific islands and atolls being stable or growing in size. Who needs evidence when we want a narrative?

Don’t forget the one important takeaway. TAI was named as one of the four supposed “experts” prepared to put its name in a Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) report which scored Australia dead last on international and domestic climate policy. Remember this was the mob that handed Australia a 0.0 (zero point zero) score.

Only foaming at the mouth alarmists could derive such a ridiculous total and only a research body with little interest in objectivity would allow it to be included. If you are hunting for credibility, you won’t find it in the CCPI report.

Therefore if this is the standard at the TAI, why should we pay the slightest attention to them in terms of policy options to mitigate disasters?

TAI wrote in the heavily media, BoM & Deloitte sourced National Climate Disaster Fund report,

It is now clear that global warming increases both the frequency and intensity of many types of natural disasters including floods, bushfires, droughts and other extreme weather events. This is borne out by the science and experienced in unprecedented extreme events in Australia and globally.

Then why did the UNIPCC, the carbon cathedral of climate alarmism, state in its March 2018 report on weather extremes the following with respect to anthropogenic induced global warming?

“…There is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail because of data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systemsin some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia. There is limited to medium evidence available to assess climate-driven observed changes in the magnitude and frequency of floodslow confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences..low confidence in projections of changes in extreme winds.. low confidence in projections of changes in monsoonslow confidence in wave height projections…overall low confidence because of inconsistent projections of drought changes…low confidence in projected future changes in dust storms…low confidence in projections of an anthropogenic effect on phenomena such as shallow landslides.”

Low confidence” is mentioned 230 times in the above report. “High confidence” gets talked about 169 times. “Cold” is mentioned 82x. “Hot” 44x. “Cold extreme” 11x and “Hot extreme” 8x. Is this a coincidence?

Backed by such “low confidence”, why would we lend time to TAI to give us solutions which only raise taxes on fossil fuel industries? Why hasn’t TAI consulted with the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) to learn that 85% of Aussie bushfires are either deliberately, suspiciously or accidentally lit? Why not consult the WA Government’s Bushfire Front site which debunks the myth of climate change causing megafires?

Never mind such trivialities, TAI quotes the head of the Australian Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, who noted that Australia is in “the most natural disaster-prone region in the world” and thatclimate change is predicted to make disasters more extreme and more common.Since when did Australian military personnel become climate experts? Given our Navy uses pink nail varnish to promote recruitment is it any wonder he makes such activist statements?

For FNF Media, who does not profess to be a climate scientist, there is no escaping the list of activists straying out of their lane to push their non-existent credentials on the environment.

Take the Australian Medical Association (AMA). How is it that the AMA is being regarded as an expert on climate change? Does getting a degree in medicine bestow one insights on the impacts of hurricane or drought activity?

The Doctors for Environment Australia have jumped on the activist bandwagon too saying, “three medical colleges, the RACP, ACEM and ACRRM representing tens of thousands of doctors recently declared climate change a health emergency.

Yet do the AMA, RACP, ACEM or ACRRM speak for the each and everyone of their members? The stats say otherwise. In 1962, more than 95% of doctors belonged to the AMA. By 1987 it was 50%. AHPRA reports that in 2016 there were 107,179 registered medical practitioners. The 2016 AMA annual report notes a membership of 29,425. That is 27% of doctors. Shouldn’t the AMA board raise the alarm and focus on the hollowing of its base?

Or should we just follow the money? The non-warmist RACGP has more than doubled its revenues since 2012, while AMA has trickled up 10%. Not surprising AMA revenues have stalled when it has sought to get medical students, which now represent over 1/3rd of members to sign up for free in order to pad the numbers in the hope they’ll join the save the planet cabal.

Even the financial sector is blowing the alarmist trumpet. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) stated earlier this year, “there is no excuse for inaction on climate change, warning there is a high degree of certainty that financial risks will materialize as a result of a warming climate.”

Why isn’t anyone asking what APRA is doing by shaming companies that do not meet voluntary climate risk disclosure targets which are set out by the Task Force in Climate-related Financial Disclosures, a private sector body chaired by none other than global warming alarmist Michael Bloomberg? Where is the independent thought? Talk about taking one’s eyes off the ball.

Our own central bank is burning witches too. In a speech given by the Deputy Governor, the RBA is basing its assertions on the prophecies of the IPCC and BOM, two of countless organisations which have been caught red handed manipulating climate data. Why doesn’t data malfeasance constitute a red flag in the RBA’s internal analysis? Do they apply the same rigour to interest rate policy?

Or our mega banks that refuse to lend money to the Adani project, not based on any valid financial risk assessment but ideological moral preening. Shouldn’t shareholders be concerned that banks are making such irrational investment policy when they need to offset the alarming imbalance in their mortgage loan books? Never mind.

Or the revelation that a band of 29 former fire chiefs, who are proclaiming global warming expertise, are backed by the even more alarmist Climate Council, who we called out on their own “colossal bullshit.” Yes, the Climate Council’s Chief Councillor is none other than Tim Flannery, a man with an absolutely terrible record of dud predictions about our climate.

FNF Media couldn’t hold a flame to these gentlemen in understanding fire behaviour and how to extinguish them, but feels justified questioning the extent of their expertise in climate science.

Because therein lies the problem. The list of supposed experts keeps growing. Yet the ever compliant media falls into line and joins the cheerleading squad. Throw a Cate Blanchett into the mix and get celebrities to espouse their superior intellect to the rest of us.

Perhaps we might ask our click bait journalists whether they consult their bank manager for climate change wisdom anymore than they do the Bob Jane T-Mart tyre fitter for relationship advice?

There is a sad truth that more and more think tank tomes are succumbing to ideological clickbait group think rather than pushing rigid processes to come up with meaningful outcomes. TAI just adds to the growing list of those reverse engineering a narrative. Perhaps the TAI carbon tax solution should also include the manufacture of the raw materials that go to making solar cells, wind towers and battery backups (all derived in part from fossil fuels).

Oh and yes, there is no doubt Syrian men and women would trade a trimming of the health and survivability gender gap to add 15-20 years to their lives.

Why free speech matters, even for those accusing firefighters of wife beating

The Greens have proven exactly why free speech, they so detest, is so important. It is by this inalienable right that we get to see the true colours of people or movements. We don’t have to like what it is said. In this case the very party that gave a platform to the individual in question has now distanced itself.

During the bushfires, these unhinged lunatics within The Greens have spoken of the government as “borderline arsonists” and promoted domestic violence advocate, Sherele Moody, who said,”Women become extremely unsafe when, generally, the men return home from the fires and subject them to domestic violence.

So instead of heaping praise on the brave souls defending lives and property, often as volunteers, Moody accuses them of being wife beaters. By that logic, maybe some of the brave female fire fighters go home to beat their husbands because cataclysmic events cause domestic violence to peak. It is a ridiculous assertion.

Has Moody got the full facts?

Let’s explore the research. According to a UK study,

“Male victims  (39%) are over three times as likely than women (12%) not to tell anyone about the partner abuse they are suffering from. Only 10% of male victims will tell the police (26% women), only 23% will tell a person in an official position (43% women) and only 11% (23% women) will tell a health professional.

The number of women convicted of perpetrating domestic abuse has increased sevenfold since 2004/05. From 806 in 2004/05 to 5,641 in 2015/16…In 2015, 119,000 men reported to English and Welsh police forces stating they were a victim of domestic abuse. 22% of all victims who report to the police are male. In 2012, 73,524 men did…

Men don’t leave abusive relationships for various reasons – the top reasons being: concern about the children (89%), marriage for life (81%), love (71%), the fear of never seeing their children again (68%), a belief she will change (56%), not enough money(53%), nowhere to go (52%), embarrassment (52%), not wanting to take kids away from their mother (46%), threats that she will kill herself (28%) and fears she will kill him (24%). 

Of those that suffered from partner abuse in 2012/13, 29% of men and 23% of women suffered a physical injury, a higher proportion of men suffering severe bruising or bleeding (6%) and internal injuries or broken bones/teeth (2%) than women (4% and 1% respectively). 30% of men who suffer from partner abuse have emotional and mental problems (47% women). Only 27% of men sought medical advice whilst 73% of women did.

The percentage of gay or bi-sexual men (6.2%) who suffered partner abuse in 2008/09 is nearly double the number for heterosexual men (3.3%). Lesbian women (12.4%) as a percentage also suffered far more partner abuse compared to heterosexual women (4.3%).

The US National Intimate Partner Sexual Violence Survey (NIPSVS) conducted in 2010 showed that 25 million men had claimed they were victims of some form of sexual violence by an intimate partner or acquaintance. Heather Jo Flores wrote in The Independent with respect to disrespecting women, 

Men, it’s not our job to keep reminding you. Remind each other, and stop abusing. It’s as simple as that. Until men speak out against men who abuse, this will never stop. How about y’all post “I ignored it and I won’t anymore” instead? Because #hearyou doesn’t cut it. Just hearing us doesn’t cut it. Taking action, speaking out, and showing zero tolerance for abuse is the only way through. Silence enables. Be the change..So why do men need to have multiple victims come forward before anybody says a damn thing”

Flores went on to say, “Yes, I know men get abused too. Once in a lifetime, maybe a handful of times, in extreme situations. And they get abused by men, mostly. Just like us…I write this to ask: why are we still demanding that women out themselves as survivors, again and again and again, rather than demanding that men out themselves as abusers? Violence against women is a daily reality,.”

In the 12 month period conducted in the NIPSVS survey, 6.46mn women and 6.1mn men were victims of sexual violence by their partner, an acquaintance or stranger. 4.74mn women were victims of physical violence by men and 5.365mn men were victims of physical violence by women. Hardly a handful of times, nor at the hands of men.

1.555mn men claimed their intimate female partner hit them with fists or a hard object vs 1.289m women making the claim. 3.13mn men were slapped by their women vs 1.85mn women being slapped by men.

Awful stats on any measure. Still, it puts paid the notion that men are generally victims of other men once a blue moon. When it came to psychological intimidation around 20.5mn men were victims of it vs 16.5mn women.

The NIPSVS survey was conducted again in 2011 and revealed much the same trends.

Moody was foolish to say that people who sacrifice so much to save lives seek to balance their spiritual yin by bashing their partners. Anyone can see how silly her remarks were although the ABC is probably quietly kicking itself for not inviting her into the Q&A panel the other week with the rest of the radical feminists who want to kill rapists and burn things.

This is why free speech is important. Sometimes we need to get such people out in the open to undermine themselves. Her credibility is duly shot. This hopefully sends a message that the people who may seek to pick up Moody’s mantle look to use better balance when prosecuting a legitimate problem without having to smear those who are worthy of our deepest praise in the process.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

GetUp! smears 150,000 surf lifesavers

We understand that GetUp! hate Tony Abbott MP. The left-wing activist group is working hard to oust him in favour of independent candidate Zali Steggall for the seat of Warringah in the upcoming federal election. So not two days have passed since the tragic news that a father and son volunteer surf lifesaver team (SLS) drowned trying to save a stranded tourist, GetUp! thought this campaign was appropriate to take a pot shot. It has since withdrawn it.

Australia has a proud record of volunteer spirit. There are 150,000 people registered as surf lifesavers. Abbott happens to spend his spare time serving in both the SLS and the Rural Fire Service NSW. He isn’t there for photo shoots but actually puts his life on the line to help his community. Talk about cheap political point scoring.

For the record the Surf Lifesavers this season have rescued 5,353 people and performed first aid on 21,470 others. To put that in context, that is 30 people rescued and 451 preventative actions every hour. The SLS patrol 12,000km of beaches, 36,000km of coastline  and 100 million beach visits annually. This is SLS’s creed:

We are a can-do movement.
Optimistic at every turn.
Eternally vigilant.
Forever serving Australia.
For we believe in life.
In the sanctity of life.
And in our great Australian way of life.
We support it. We protect it. We celebrate it.
We are Surf Life Saving.

You can donate to the SLS here. CM just did.