Australian Fires: Time to declare a national emergency

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Australia is facing devastating bushfires across the nation. In 2009, in response to the Black Saturday bushfires, then-PM Kevin Rudd responded by suspending federal parliament, dispatching the Australian Defence Force to provide assistance, and launched a Royal Commission. We are in a national crisis now. That’s why I’m calling on the Prime Minister to declare a national emergency.

The fires that we have been experiencing across the country in the Spring/early Summer of 2019 are unprecedented in their scale, having a devastating impact on Australian communities especially in Queensland and NSW. Major cities like Sydney are now choking from the concentration of smoke caused by the fires, such that in some areas of Sydney, particle readings of 734 micrograms per cubic meter were recorded - the equivalent of smoking 37 cigarettes. These fires have also had a devastating impact on Australia's unique flora and fauna, including most worryingly, the koala populations on the East Coast of Australia. 

It is time for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to declare a national emergency in response to these fires. It is time to commit more resources to emergency fire services across the country. And it is time to dispatch the Australian Defence Force to help combat these fires and help communities in desperate need of assistance.