Politics

No One Is Impressed By Scott Morrison’s First Press Conference Since Return From Hawaii Holiday

Scott Morrison has returned home from his Hawaii vacation amid public outrage. Today, he spoke from NSW Rural Fire Service headquarters in Sydney.

Scott Morrison Bushfires Press Conference

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made his first public address since returning from his Hawaii family holiday, at the NSW Rural Fire Service headquarters in Sydney.

During his visit, the Prime Minister was briefed by RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons on the bushfires still raging across the state.

During the press conference, Morrison extended “our honour, our acknowledgement, our respect for what they have done for all of us” to the families of two firefighters who died on Thursday, fighting a blaze southwest of Sydney.

While fighting an emergency-level fire at Green Wattle Creek, near Buxton, the firefighters, Deputy Captain Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, died when a fallen tree caused their tanker to roll.

In his address, Morrison spoke about the fires raging across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. He thanked the firies on the front line, promised new payments for people in disaster-afflicted communities, and defended the government’s existing plans to fight climate change. At least this time he did not deny the link between the bushfires and climate change.

He did not use the opportunity to say sorry for his absence over the last week – and for not being transparent about it – as the Air Quality Index in Sydney remained at hazardous levels and as Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a State of Emergency.

Instead, Scott Morrison delivery a non-apology to anyone he upset (people rightly outraged about their elected leader’s complete lack of leadership), before insisting that now is the time for direct action, not pointing fingers.

“To those Australians who I had caused upset to, I apologise for that… But I think the time for that discussion is over. We need to focus on what’s going on out there today.”

If he were to have his time over again, he would not have gone on holiday, he said, but stressed that he’d promised the holiday to his kids:

“I’m sure Australians are fair-minded and understand that when you make a promise to your kids, you try and keep it. But as Prime Minister, you have other responsibilities. And I accept that, and I accept the criticism. And that’s why Jenny and I agreed that it was important that I return, particularly after the terrible tragedies that we saw late this week.

“I get it that people would’ve been upset to know that I was holidaying with my family while their families were under great stress. They know that I’m not gonna stand there and hold a hose. I’m not a trained firefighter…

“I’m comforted by the fact that Australians would like me to be here, just simply so that I can be here alongside them as they’re going through this terrible time.”

Scott Morrison concluded the statement by calling Australia “the most amazing country on earth”, and asking people not to fight about climate change rn.

“It’s time to be kind to each other. This is not a time for division. It’s not a time for argument. It’s not a time for partisanship. It’s not a time for point-scoring. It’s a time to support people.”

People have described Morrison’s statement as being a case of too little too late, using the trending hashtag #ScoMoMustGo.

Let’s leave this here then, shall we?