The truth behind the viral ‘not my prime minister’ comment
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has explained that viral "not my prime minister" comment from a rural firefighter.
Meeting people at an evacuation centre in the country town of Mudgee yesterday, the Prime Minister was introduced to a Rural Fire Service volunteer named Jacqui.
What followed after seemed to be an awkward exchange that went viral.
"Jacqui, this is the prime minister," a man dressed in a green shirt, who appeared to be facilitating meetings between the volunteers and Mr Morrison, said.
"He's not my prime minister," Jacqui said.
The brief exchange was caught on cameras by The Project with the heavily edited footage showing Mr Morrison giving Jacqui a wry smile while the man in the green laughs awkwardly.
The quick conversation has already gone viral on Twitter, with Jacqui's name trending as the elderly volunteer was praised online.
However, Mr Morrison today said Jacqui's comment was taken out of context and that it related to her being a British citizen, whose PM is Boris Johnson.
"Indeed, as Jacqui joked with me yesterday, I'm not her PM, because she's British, Boris Johnson is," he wrote on Twitter.
"But with local MP Andrew Gee, we made a decent pitch for her to become an Aussie yesterday. She and the other RFS volunteers have been doing an incredible job battling these blazes."
I think when you hold the position of Prime Minister, but a female pensioner volunteer firefighter tells you in the middle of the bushfire season that you're not her Prime Minister, you're basically done.— It's All Complete Bollocks! 💧🌈 (@RichardTuffin) December 23, 2019
Brava Jacqui. #ScoMoResign. pic.twitter.com/tBeRYDYiVe
The Prime Minister made a media blitz yesterday, appearing on Australia's breakfast TV shows in the aftermath of his much criticised family vacation to Hawaii during the bushfire crisis.
Mr Morrison also spoke in Mudgee yesterday after an aerial tour taking in the "absolute incineration of such large tracts of land".
Mr Morrison said Australians "should feel very reassured" by the world-class response to bushfires.
"Wherever you are, be reassured that the effort and the co-ordination is extraordinary," Mr Morrison told reporters.
"The level of detail, whether it's in the headquarters or whether it's in the incident response centres like we are here in Mudgee, is extraordinary."
The Prime Minister spoke at the town's evacuation centre with locals who were waiting to hear if their homes - saved once already on the weekend - were again about to be in the path of the Gospers Mountain megafire after it changed direction.
Ilford family John and Nova Cunningham and their three children arrived at the Mudgee Evacuation Centre at 11pm on Saturday, and have been forced to remain in town while they wait for an update about their home.
Mr Cunningham said he thought it was "good" Mr Morrison had visited but felt he shouldn't have gone on holiday last week.
"I believe everyone is entitled to a holiday, but I think as the voice of the people he probably should have stayed," Mr Cunningham said.
"I think it's a good thing he made the time to come out though."
Running Stream farmers Diana, 73 and Keith, 76 Rutter said they were pleased Mr Morrison visited the evacuation centre but didn't think he should have cut his holiday on Hawaii short to do so.
"He shouldn't have come back from holiday early, because he's going to be needed so much more in the new year," Ms Rutter said.
"And what difference does it make? OK, it's good for morale but when he came back he would have been refreshed because he's going to have a hard time when this is over and done with, there's so much damage to NSW."
The Rutters' son is a volunteer with the RFS and has been away fighting fires since they started.
"He's a farmer so when it started he just went and he's been fighting the fires ever since," Mr Rutter said.
Mr Morrison earlier apologised for going to Hawaii with his family while the country was in the grips of the bushfire crisis.
"We all make decisions. You do as a parent, I do as a parent. We'll seek to balance our work life responsibilities and we all try to get that right," he told Sunrise yesterday.
The bushfire crisis deepened over the weekend, with firies now battling major blazes in every mainland state.— The Project (@theprojecttv) December 23, 2019
The good news is the Prime Minister jetted home from Hawaii on Saturday night. And that’s about where the good news ends. pic.twitter.com/QYrbA6rjHO
- with AAP