Dawson MP George Christensen.
Dawson MP George Christensen.

MP not backing down over ‘false’ arson bushfire claims

DAWSON MP George Christensen has refused to back down on comments he made about last summer's devastating bushfires, even after it was flagged as "false information".

The NSW Bushfire Inquiry published its findings on the disaster, noting that "climate change … clearly played a role" but did not explain everything that happened.

The inquiry's 460-page report included a table listing all of the significant bushfires in the state last season.

It found that burning debris started three, power lines started two, equipment and a shredded tyre started another two, one was undetermined and the rest were caused by lightning strikes.

In light of the findings, ABC's Media Watch program called out Mr Christensen and fellow Liberal MP Craig Kelly during Monday night's program for repeating claims the bushfires were caused by arson.

The NSW Bushfire Inquiry published its findings on the summer bushfires.
The NSW Bushfire Inquiry published its findings on the summer bushfires.

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Program host Paul Barry referenced a post on the Dawson MP's Facebook page from January 10, which was flagged as "false information".

" … The cause of the fires is certainly man-made, it's just not man-made climate change. It's man-made arson that, to me, almost borders on terrorism," Mr Christensen wrote.

Mr Barry noted that while the report indicated suspected cases of arson in some areas, it went on to say "these were a very small proportion of the area burnt".

"So, have any of these media outlets or politicians reported that important news and corrected the record? Not as far as we can see," Mr Barry said.

" … Have the firebug theorists apologised for getting it wrong? No they have not.

"But they should. To ensure their readers and viewers are not misled."

Media Watch host Paul Barry.
Media Watch host Paul Barry.

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The Daily Mercury reached out to Mr Christensen to ask if he intended to correct the record.

Mr Christensen responded saying, "The ABC's whataboutery is not worthy of a response apart from to say it is true that there were bushfires caused by arson last summer.

"That is fact. This is even noted in the transcript."



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