Thanks. The difference is that the Commonwealth - of which ScoMo is the leader - has no constitutional power over bushfires. The Commonwealth needs to use some incidental power or some contortion of the executive power to do anything at all, like spend money on firefighting.

I've written several stories on this, but the average person doesn't read the constitution. They think there must be some Department of Bushfires in Canberra, and all the PM needs to do is to whistle it up to spend billions and do things.

And, of course, if one is consumed by partisan hatred, logic or facts don't enter into it.

The Commonwealth can't do anything about firefighting, but disaster relief is a valid use of the executive power, and a valid incidental use of the Defence Force.

No Australian PM can do much about bushfires ahead of the fact except refer any concerns to the standing State and Commonwealth body which coordinates bushfire planning. Decisions on leasing large firefighting aircraft, for example, are made by this group, and that's where the various State firefighting heads make nation-wide plans and decisions.

There has to be a disaster before the Commonwealth can do anything about it, and that's exactly what we saw in January, with resources made available through various existing Commonwealth agencies, notably the Defence Force.

What makes you think Bill Shorten would have - or could have - done anything different? Do you have anything to inform your thinking, or is it just wishful fantasy?


Britni Pepper has always enjoyed telling stories. About people, places and pleasures.

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