Air, Water, Land: all on fire

Paradigm Shift 4ZZZ fm 102.1 Friday at noon, 10 Jan 2020.

Lay down the woomera,
Lay down the waddy.
Now we got atom-bomb,
End everybody.
– Auntie Kath Walker (Oodgeroo), No More Boomerang

Smoke from fires on the Mid North Coast of NSW seen from 30,000 feet in early December 2019. Taree, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour are the major commercial centres and the region has a subtropical climate. Major industries are farming, logging and tourism.

Not a very good start to 2020 – what with bushfires everywhere, floods in Indonesia, and now military tit-for-tat between the United States and Iran. This has resulted in the tragic deaths of 176 passengers and crew on a Ukrainian airline. Donald Trump ordered the assassination by drone of the second most important person in Iran, Maj Gen Quasem Soleimani. As hundreds of thousands of people attended Soleimani’s funeral Iran fired missiles at two military bases in Iraq. Threats by Trump and reports of US retaliation then resulted in the downing of the Ukranian airplane by Iranian missiles.

US presence in Iraq is unwanted. So too is Australia’s presence in that country. Yet both Trump and Morrison wish to stay there to protect oil companies investments and Israel.

They have left Iraq in ruins and its people destitute.

[Song – Masters of War by Bob Dylan]

Meanwhile fires are burning in most Australian states. To understand what is happening on country in 2020 requires us to go back to pre-colonial times and to understand how aboriginal people managed the land. The colonialist and settler custodianship of the land is now in tattters. Some farmers blame the Greens saying that they need to clear the land to prevent fire. Others say that too much effort is being placed in the protection of houses when vast tracts of forest, grasslands and native animals are being destroyed without lifting a finger. Insurance assessors claim farmers are allowing sheds to go up containing feed and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery while they put every last effort into saving houses often old and in various states of repair.

We need to go back and ask oursleves how best to manage the land. Why is our custodianship of country gone so wrong?


Bruce Pascoe, a Bunurong and Yuin man from Tasmania, author of Dark Emu, delivers a stinging rebuke to historians and educators in a speech broadcast on 4ZZZ’s Paradigm Shift.

In the interview with Andy, Bruce Pascoe argues that aboriginal systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern re-tellings of Australian history by the New Left.

Listen to Andy’s interview with Bruce Pascoe, author of the book ‘Dark Emu – Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident? ‘, on the pre-colonial agriculture and technology of aboriginal people. We speak about that history, about the challenge of recording it now, and about farming native yams.


No More Boomerang – Maroochy Barambah
Bob Dylan – Masters of War
Ancestress – Air Water land
Kerry Anne Cox – Woman got no history
Mix Tape – We’re still here

3 thoughts on “Air, Water, Land: all on fire

  1. Know any more about Bruce Pascoe being hassled by Dutton?

    Again (by Murdoch’s Minion Andrew Bolt twice before )

    1. Critics don't matter, action needed says:

      In the interview Bruce Pascoe says that he does not listen to the critics it is action that is needed.

      I agree that it matters not if Bruce Pascoe if aboriginal or not … it is his ideas, heavily researched and tested, that matter.

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