The bushfire crisis in Northern NSW has not only seen lives lost and homes destroyed, it's also given rise to fierce debate online, in the media and among politicians as to who is to blame for the catastrophic fires.
One of the most popular targets has been the Greens party and its voters, with many people taking to social media to accuse the party of being responsible for reducing the amount of hazard reduction burns.
Former National party leader Barnaby Joyce also caused controversy by suggesting two of the people who died in the Northern NSW bushfires "most likely" voted for the Greens.
However, the basis for the argument the Greens have been responsible for stopping hazard reduction burns isn't altogether clear, since the party clearly states on its website, "the Australian Greens support hazard reduction burning (before bushfire season) to reduce the impact of bushfire when guided by the best scientific, ecological and emergency service expertise."
We seem to be stalled because we're so polarised on the issue.Eleanor Spence
Former Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Greg Mullins, a veteran firefighter of 39 years, has also rebuked the accusations.
"Blaming 'greenies' for stopping these important measures is a familiar, populist, but basically untrue claim," Mr Mullins said.
"Climate change is making fires and droughts worse, with the windows for standard hazard reduction measures during winter months becoming increasingly sparse."
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Former Greens' candidate for the Myall Lakes, Eleanor Spence, believes the accusations stem from an outdated attitude towards Greens' voters and a refusal to accept the reality of climate change.
"I think a lot of it comes from assuming you think you know what the typical person who votes Green is," Mrs Spence said.
She believed many people still saw the average Greens voter as a stereotypical 'hippy' or 'tree-hugger', but said it was "absolutely not true.".
"A lot of people vote for the Greens or are concerned about the environment," she said.
Beyond this misunderstanding, she believed Australians had a much better chance of combatting the increasing prevalence of extreme weather events if they came together and accepted the reality of climate change.
"We seem to be stalled because we're so polarised on the issue," she said.
"Other countries in Europe and such seem to have moved on from this debate.
"We need to accept the reality of climate change and stop blaming each other and labelling each other based on who we vote for, because that's not helping anything."
Member for Myall Lakes, Stephen Bromhead, agreed there was little point in placing blame at the moment when people had lost their homes and were suffering.
"The blame game can happen afterwards when we're all safe, if there is any blame to be attributed," he said.
"Now it's a time for our community to help our community."
However, Mr Bromhead didn't share Mrs Spence's views on climate change.
"There's no doubt there is climate change," he said.
"The debate is whether it's a natural occurrence in the earth."
He said he overwhelmingly believed that climate change was a natural occurrence and was not influenced by the actions of mankind.
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