|Peter Dutton says 250 have been charged with arson. But the data tells a different story|
RMIT ABC Fact Check economics and finance editor Josh Gordon and Christina Arampatzi
Posted TueTuesday 18 FebFebruary 2020 at 5:56am, updated TueTuesday 18 FebFebruary 2020 at 6:56am
peter dutton superimposed over an image of a silhouetted firefighter battling a blaze
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says that 250 people have been charged with arson.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts/ABC News: Marco Catalano)
Peter Dutton, a former policeman whose Home Affairs portfolio includes the federal police, recently acknowledged that Australia was experiencing hotter weather and longer summers.
But in a February 5 interview with ABC TV presenter Patricia Karvelas, he posed the question: did the bushfires start in some regions because of climate change?
"No, it didn't," he said. "It started because somebody lit a match. I mean there are 250 people as I understand it, or more, that have been charged with arson. That's not climate change."
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Duration: 2 minutes 33 seconds2m 33s
Play Video. Duration: 2 minutes 33 seconds
Peter Dutton makes his claim on arson charges on Afternoon Briefing.
Fact Check has already looked at the question of whether arson is primarily to blame for the bushfire crisis, following a flurry of claims made on social media and by some politicians that most of the fires this summer had been deliberately lit by an "unprecedented" number of arsonists.
Bushfire arson is not an insignificant problem. But in the context of the current bushfire crisis, there is simply no evidence that arson was overwhelmingly responsible, or even moderately responsible.
On the contrary, in Victoria, emergency services personnel have been at pains to point out that lightning strikes caused the big fires — in East Gippsland and the north-east.
Likewise, in NSW, emergency services personnel have pointed to dry lightning storms as the cause of most of the big fires.
Nor is there any evidence to indicate bushfire arson has increased to "unprecedented" levels, as some in the Morrison Government have suggested.
What does the data show?
At present, official data only exists for the year to September 2019.
In Victoria, the number of intentionally caused bushfire offences peaked in 2016 but fell to a level well below the 10-year average over the year to September.
The people that wish AGW/CC will go to any extreme to use anything to prove their case.Even stooping to lighting fires
|In the US, it's considered arson, when people do careless, reckless things, that start the fires. It's not that the intended to start the wildfire, but the should have know better, and aware of the bans and restrictions during the dry season.|
|Australian bushfires||2||16-02-2020 07:34|