Leaders urge calm in bushfire arguments

Katina Curtis, AAP Senior Political Writer
Scott Morrison has urged MPs to stop bickering over the link between climate change and bushfires

The Morrison government continues to insist it is not the time to talk climate policy while the nation burns, but scientists and environmentalists say there is no better time.

The Climate Council has published a briefing paper saying catastrophic fire conditions across NSW and Queensland this week have been aggravated by climate change.

The situation is not normal, it says bluntly.

"To not talk about climate change is like not talking about speeding after a car crash," council chief executive Amanda McKenzie told AAP on Wednesday.

"Australians deserve the truth about bushfires and climate change. The truth is lighting up right in front of us."

In a separate briefing, fire experts said the scale of the disaster was now in "uncharted territory".

There were likely to be long-term environmental consequences from the fires, University of Wollongong Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires head Ross Bradstock said.

"The background dryness created by the drought makes fuel available to burn and once the fire is going, the hot, dry, windy weather and low humidities promote the rapid spread of a fire," he told reporters.

"The full significance of these fires will take a long time to examine and unravel."

In parliament, the Greens pushed deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie for a response to people who had lost their homes in this week's fires and asked when would be the right the time to talk about climate.

"Now is not the time to be debating policy," Senator McKenzie said.

Politicians and community leaders had to be careful not to politicise the catastrophe, she said.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale wasn't buying that.

"Now is the time for concrete action," he told reporters in Canberra.

"The reality is if you ignore the climate crisis, you are putting the lives of Australians at risk."

He didn't go as far as colleague Jordon Steele-John, who branded major party politicians "arsonists".

The war of words over bushfires and climate policy was also exacerbated by Nationals backbencher Barnaby Joyce suggesting two people who died in the NSW blazes "most likely" voted for the Greens.

Following both provocations, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged all politicians to stop bickering over policies while bushfires continue to burn.

Provocative comments made on all sides of the debate were ultimately meaningless to people losing their homes, he said.

And Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese also called for a ceasefire.

"I think that the comments of the Greens Party senator from WA are most unfortunate and the comments of Barnaby Joyce, once again, just reprehensible," he told reporters in Perth.

"People really need to think before they speak on these issues. It's not too much to ask that people just hold off on political attacks against each other while this is occurring."