Tourist tells all: PM’s dismissive comment in Hawaii
Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly made a dismissive comment to a fellow Australian about the bushfire crisis while holidaying in Hawaii last week.
While being served cocktails at the beach on his getaway, the PM reportedly palmed off the nation's bushfire crisis as a "state issue".
A tourist who took a picture of the Prime Minister relaxing on his Christmas break - after he told media he'd rush back to Australia as quickly as he could - said he approached Mr Morrison.
The tourist told 10 News he asked Mr Morrison whether was going home to "resolve the bushfire situation".
"His comment to me is that this was a state issue," he said.
"He was quite happy to sit and have cocktails served to him when our firefighters are doing it really hard.
"I think the man just has to have a step back and a bit of a check on himself."
👇 we spoke to the fellow who took the picture of the PM relaxing beachside after his radio interview saying he was rushing home... https://t.co/KtFtnoN4vL— Peter van Onselen (@vanOnselenP) December 22, 2019
Upon returning from his break, the Prime Minister has posed for pictures with emergency services and met the families of Geoff Keaton and Andrew O'Dwyer - two Rural Fire Service volunteers who were killed as they fought fires south of Sydney last week.
Appearing on Channel 7 breakfast show Sunrise this morning, the Prime Minister said he was "focused on things back here (in Australia)" while he was away on holiday.
Defending his break, he said: "We all make decisions. You do as a parent, I do as a parent, we have to balance our work-life responsibilities … we all try to get that right. We can all make better decisions on occasions, and I was pretty upfront about that to Australia.
"Whether it is a Friday afternoon and you are deciding to take that extra plumbing contract and you said you would pick up the kids, at my level, these are things you juggle as parents."
He added that Australians should be "very proud" of what's happening across the nation now as firefighters tackle bushfires.
"These are the most co-ordinated best resourced, most amazingly fought set of fire disasters our country has seen, and Australians should be very proud of what is happening out there," he said.
He also said his government was serious on climate change.
"We have our $3.5 billion climate solution fund," he said. "We will continue to see renewable
investments come into our country."
He also promised more action on reducing plastics and waste management.
However, he said he would not take action that harmed Australians' employment prospects.
"I am not going to destroy jobs which will only not change the temperature, but take people's livelihoods away," Mr Morrison said.
"I'm going to maintain the course of responsible management, responsibly addressing the changes of climate change and responsibly ensuring that we can grow our economy in what is a very tough climate at the moment."
The Prime Minister also rejected taking "reckless" climate action in an opinion piece for The Daily Telegraph.
He wrote about how he Australia needed to take precautions to ward against future bushfire diasters.
"We will learn from these fires like all those before, as is being demonstrated in the current response," he wrote.
"Panicked mindsets never assist in managing a crisis and will not aid the process of further strengthening our response capability in the future."
He suggested looking at hazard reduction, sensible land clearing laws, managing fuel loads in national parks, learning from indigenous Australians, improving our technological capability, law enforcement to prevent arson, improving our weather forecasting tools, better building codes, community education and information programs.
"We won't embrace reckless targets and abandon our traditional industries that would risk Australian jobs while having no meaningful impact on the global climate," Mr Morrison wrote.
"In short, we will continue to act responsibly on climate change, avoiding extreme responses and get the balance right."