Prime Minister Scott Morrison has characterised his controversial Hawaiian holiday as a misguided attempt to achieve work-life balance in an interview on Monday morning.
Conceding that better decisions could have been made, the embattled leader said the holiday to Hawaii - which took place during a ‘catastrophic’ fire danger for NSW - was a decision he made “as a parent”.
“We all have different responsibilities and we all try to get that right,” he told Channel Seven’s Sunrise program.
“We can all make better decisions on occasions, whether that’s on a Friday afternoon and you’re deciding to take that extra plumbing contract and you said you were going to pick up the kids or something at my level; these are the things you juggle as parents.”
The prime minister said that his holiday was largely spent focusing on events back in Australia, as large swathes of NSW and South Australia battled blazes.
Frustrated Australians took to Twitter to blast Morrison for his decision to go on holidays during the fires, with model Lara Worthington - who came to fame through the Morrison-led ‘Where the bloody hell are you’ Australia tourism campaign - also firing off shots.
And a video of Australian teen, Izzy Raj-Seppings, hitting out at the leader also went viral.
As police went about their move-on order at Kirribilly House, one girl was visibly frightened during police direction.— River McCrossen (@RivOMac) December 19, 2019
She and her father complied with the move-on order.#ClimateProtest pic.twitter.com/PJHHAs1B8n
“How dare Scott Morrison race off to Hawaii during Australia’s time of crisis? What we need is a prime minister who acknowledges that this isn’t another normal fire season, that the cause of this is climate change,” Raj-Seppings said.
“Lives and homes have been taken while Morrison lies on a tropical beach with his head in the sand.”
How big are the Australia bushfires?
The prime minister’s holiday drew condemnation as NSW battles 110 fires, with 60 uncontained. Six Australians in NSW have lost their lives to the fires, with 100 buildings destroyed over just the weekend and a smoke haze threatening Sydney-dwellers’ health.
In South Australia, a huge fire continues to burn in Adelaide Hills with 72 homes lost and significant losses to crops.
Across the country, 200 fires burn with at least 900 homes already lost.
Fireys face ‘massive’ workload
Morrison’s words on Monday came as the NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned of the “massive” workload NSW firefighters face.
"A massive amount of work right across firegrounds the length and breadth of the state will continue throughout this Christmas-New Year period," Fitzsimmons told Sunrise on Monday.
"Yes they're fatigued - physically fatigued, emotionally fatigued - but they know their communities are under threat and they're going to do all they can," he said.
"Particularly over this Christmas-New Year period to get some of this critical work underway and shore up as much protection as they can."
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