Tuesday 31 December 2019

1574. ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia’s Apocalypse Now.

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ One Commonwealth event which I did not cover in the 2019 philatelic review in Blog 1571 is the shocking and devastating fires which have been affecting vast areas of Australia in recent weeks as the country experiences higher temperatures than have ever been recorded there before. The calamitous fires are being associated with the phenomenon of global warming though the Australian prime minister, who was dragged back from holidaying in Hawaii while Australia burned, seems to have his doubts about the link. Given the short political life of Australian prime ministers one cannot help but think that his time in office is probably now somewhat limited.
  These almost apocalyptic fires are the latest in a series of dreadful natural disasters which have assaulted Australia in recent years and it seems likely that they will have philatelic consequences given that Australia Post has issued stamps on two previous occasions to help to raise funds to assist those affected by these natural disasters. Australia Post issues far too many stamps, often on inconsequential subjects, but it is unlikely that anyone would complain if an issue tied to this latest disaster were released to try to aid the victims of the fires.

 The first ever charity issue to be released by the Australian postal service was released on 27 January 2011 to raise funds for those affected by severe flooding in Queensland and the 5 stamps were sold in booklets of 10 (2 x 5 x 60c) for $8 with the $2 excess from each sheet being donated to the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Fund Appeal. Australia Post also developed plans for a scheme in which postal managers in areas affected by the floods would work with local community representatives to provide grants to reinstate community facilities damaged by the floods.

 On 20 September 2018 Australia Post issued a single stamp in a booklet of five for a quite different reason - a charity stamp to help deal with the devastating impact on farmers and communities in New South Wales, Queensland, north-western Victoria and eastern South Australia of a severe drought. For every $5 spent by the purchaser on a booklet of stamps Australia Post donated $2 to Rural Aid Ltd which provided support and assistance directly to affected farmers and communities.


  1. Hi White Knight,
    Tpo correct a couple of minor things here. I was told about the Brisbane Flood issue a few days before the official announcement and the manager of Philatelic was suggesting these would be an annual issue if the Brisbane Flood issue sold well. The hope was that Australians would support this initiative, but reading the annual report for the year only a third to one half of the sheets were sold (the exact figure is quoted in the annual report, which I don't have on hand). The stamps were also sold in a sheetlet (not booklet) due to Australian tax laws.

    No reasons were given for the lack of sales, and there were never any sales figures given for the Olivia Newton John cancer sheet. I would suspect unfamiliarity with charity stamps probably contributed to low sales. Also Australians had given millions already to the Brisbane Flood charities.

    The Drought Relief stamps are not charity stamps. Australia Post made a fixed donation to the relief effort out of its own pockets. This was agreed upon and no condition was made the stamps had to be sold to cover this. The stamps were more to promote this donation and the drought facing the country. There was no surcharge on the stamps, and customers could not claim the donation on their tax returns.

    Likewise the yearbooks contain gummed versions of these stamps. As they were sold after the charity end date and in fewer than 10 stamps, non charity donation was made.

    Whether they will release a fires issue I can't say. Australia Post may prefer to release an issue like the Drought Relief stamps and make a fixed contribution.

  2. Thank you for the full information you provide. I’m sure that people would be pleased to support a special issue - no matter how Australia Post decides to make its contribution derived from the issue - to help those who have suffered from this ongoing disaster which is terrible to witness on news programmes even thousands of miles away. We hope that the situation changes soon to put an end to these fires.