by Bill Leak of Adam Bandt and Tony Abbott has proven prophetic. Bandt attempted to use images of the fire front, burning houses, and fleeing residents to accuse Abbott of causing more of this because of his intention to repeal the carbon tax.
Over the last couple of decades bushfires, which were previously part of the Australian scene, have become a sign of global warming climate change.Meanwhile Tony Abbott has joined up with his volunteer fire brigade and done a fourteen hour shift at the fire front:
FOR 14 long hours over the weekend, Tony Abbott was just one of 1392 anonymous, sooty-faced firefighters battling to keep the relentless NSW bushfires at bay.
His favoured white-shirt-blue-tie combo was swapped for yellow overalls as Australia's 28th prime minister joined his Davidson RFS brigade on a back-burning operation in Bilpin, near the Blue Mountains, for a night shift that began at 6pm Saturday and finished at 8am yesterday.
If not for a couple of photos circulating on Twitter, it's a fair chance that Mr Abbott's weekend exploits would have gone unnoticed. His office did not issue a statement until the blurry image of the PM giving the thumbs-up from behind the wheel of a fire truck appeared on the social media site.
While many Twitter followers praised his volunteering spirit, others questioned the wisdom of the nation's leader putting himself in the line of fire. But for Mr Abbott, it was just another day as a volunteer firey with his local brigade, something he has been doing since 2001.
Prior to the election, Mr Abbott, a keen cyclist, runner, surf lifesaver and firefighting volunteer, vowed to continue his community activities should he assume the prime ministership.
Last month, his NSW Rural Fire Service brigade captain Trent Dowling told The Australian the Prime Minister was just another volunteer when he was on firefighting duties.
"It is the whole thing the brigade and the service is built on," Mr Dowling said. "It doesn't matter what you do outside, whether you are a plumber, a student, unemployed or, in this case, the Prime Minister. The rule that we have at our station is once you pull that uniform on, everyone is in the same boat.
"Anyone who bags him for pulling on the uniform and thinks it is a picture opportunity, I would suggest they do the course and join the brigade and come and see what we do.”
In times of emergency it is common for state and national leaders to turn up at the scene for photo opportunities, looking suitably grave, sympathetic, or in control if things are going well. Abbott deserves praise for putting himself on the line where the rubber hits the road.
There has been some hand wringing about putting his protective detail at risk, but they were probably not needed in any case. Rural firefighters are a pretty tough bunch and anyone who threatened one of their members might need to be protected from them.
While regular readers are aware that this site has little time for politicians and other political parties, Abbott is the genuine real deal.
While I am at it, here's a shout out to a few good mates from down there who are probably involved right now.