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Acting PM flies into Merimbula climate protest

Ian Campbell 18 December 2019
The Acting PM's security detail was quick to respond. Photo: Ian Campbell.

The Acting PM’s security detail was quick to respond. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Acting Prime Minister, Michael McCormack flew into a loud and passionate climate protest under skies thick with bush fire smoke at Merimbula today.

There to open the new terminal building at Merimbula Airport, with Bega Valley Shire Mayor Kristy McBain and State MP Andrew Constance, the Nationals leader was mobbed, heckled and questioned by around 40 protesters.

Shortly into his opening remarks Mr McCormack was rushed by a number of people chanting slogans and carrying placards.

Mr McCormack tries to address the crowd at the opening of the new airport terminal at Merimbula. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Mr McCormack tries to address the crowd at the opening of the new airport terminal at Merimbula. Photo: Ian Campbell.

The Acting PM’s security detail was quick to respond, man handling a number of protesters out of the new terminal building and locking the doors behind them. Some of those wrangled away from Mr McCormack were visibly shaken and upset by the experience, suggesting the physicality of the response was over the top as they were shown the door.

“They’ve got a right to protest, they’ve got a right to wave their placards,” Mr McCormack says.

“They can shout all they like. I hope they are on their lunch break, if they want to do that during their lunch break and then go back to productive work – that’s fine.”

The crowd that gathered was made up of around 40 climate protesters and supporters of the airport redevelopment. Photo: Ian Campbell.

The crowd that gathered was made up of around 40 climate protesters and supporters of the airport redevelopment. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Quizzed by the national and local journalists gathered Mr McCormack brushed aside suggestions that Prime Minister Scott Morrison had deserted Australia during a bush fire crisis by choosing to holiday with his family in Hawaii.

“Everybody deserves a holiday, he’s worked hard this year, he’s achieved great things,” the Acting Prime Minister says.

Mr Morrison’s office has said he will return to Australia as soon as possible to resume duties as Prime Minister; however, details were not being disclosed for security reasons.

Mr McCormack's visit attracted national media attention. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Mr McCormack’s visit attracted national media attention. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Asked about the future of agriculture and a report from government commodity analyst ABARES that shows some annual farm profits have fallen by 35 per cent, or $70,900 a year because of Australia’s increasingly warmer and drier climate, Mr McCormack’s response was upbeat.

“We are working to build agriculture from the $60 billion sector it is to a $100 billion sector and we will go on building that with the right policies,” he says.

Click play to join the discussion at today’s media conference…

LIVE with Acting PM Michael McCormack MP at Merimbula Airport

Posted by About Regional on Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Bega Valley Shire Councillor and President of Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, Jo Dodds, presented the Acting Prime Minister with a letter.

“We have members who lost their homes on Black Saturday, the Canberra fires, the Tathra and District fire, Yankees Gap and more. We are homeowners, firefighters, retirees, business people and farmers,” the letter reads.

“We want you to lead right now, with sympathy and understanding and real assistance. We need you to stand up for us, your Australian communities at risk from the climate emergency. We need you to understand what’s happening, why it’s happening, and ACT NOW.

“Mr McCormack, please don’t wait until the fire is at your own door before you recognise what is fuelling this situation. We invite you to work with us towards serious reductions in greenhouse emissions, adequately resourcing fire and emergency services, assisting communities to become more resilient in the face of drought, fire, flood, storm and coastal erosion.”

Protesters chatting along the fence line as Mr McCormack bordered his Air Force jet were left unconvinced that the Nationals leader recognises the influence climate change is having of the tense bush fire situation across the state.

More on the Merimbula Airport upgrade tomorrow.

Mr McCormack leaves to the sounds of protesters chatting. Photo: Ian Campbell.

Mr McCormack leaves to the sounds of protesters chatting. Photo: Ian Campbell.

What's Your Opinion?

22 Responses to Acting PM flies into Merimbula climate protest

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Bob Pollock 9:59 pm 16 Jan 20

Michael McCormack has become the laughing stock across Australia for his outlandish comments and total lack of interest in the welfare of communities devastated by the bushfires.
We nearly lost Merimbula, Bega and Eden. Yet he remains in denial about how climate change has exacerbated the bushfire and extreme weather risk in Australia.
By comparison Darren Chester gas demonstrated real empathy and support for affected communities.
Scott Morrison deserted Australia in the midst of an emerging crisis.
Morrison and McCormack have proven they are unfit for to lead Australia. They must be sacked by the Governor-General for failing to uphold their oaths.

Lynette Newman 9:28 pm 22 Dec 19

The government that is supposed to be protecting the people had better get their act together because the people are waking up to the lies and can now see clearly through their spin even through the smoke.

Judith Hart 7:54 am 20 Dec 19

After this mornings tragic news about 2 volunteer firefighters losing their lives and 5 others seriously injured yesterday it’s time for platitudes to end. 23 expert Fire Chiefs and Emergency workers have tried to meet with Morrison to plan a National response to the disastrous Climate Change effects we are experiencing due to Global warming but he has refused.
For this Governments inaction and Morrison’s comments he deserves to be pilloried.The Governor General should disqualify the Government and find them criminally culpable for their corruption and failure to act in our country’s interests.

Sean Davis 2:17 am 20 Dec 19

In 1980 we had a hot Christmas when it hit 40c which was a rare event only happening 3-4 times a year. 36c was a hot day in Adelaide back then. It’s one week out from Christmas and it’s going to be 47c tomorrow. We have a number of governments in the world that are right wing and for some strange reason believe climate change is not real. Like our PM Scott Morrison. They are backed by the Murdoch press, which tore down one LNP state environment minister for declaring the blindingly obvious, we have a climate emergency. Australia, we have a problem and it’s mostly you who voted these lying fuckwits into office in the first place. It is your responsibility to vote for the party with the best policy, not the best Orwellian good speak. You don’t get good government from people who don’t read facts or believe in them.

Janet Reynolds 10:44 pm 19 Dec 19

What a snide and rude man is Mr McCormack. Many of the protesters are retired from long, hardworking careers and have taken on the burden of attempting to bring understanding to an intellectually challenged government of the devastating long term effects of not acting in respect to Australia’s emissions. Climate protesters are not there for personal gain. They are there because they care about their country, the people and the environment and they have the vision based on the science to understand the absolute need for immediate response, before the tipping point is reached.

GJ (Geof) Maher 8:55 pm 19 Dec 19

I’m in my sixties and have lived in many countries and on all continents except Antarctica. I feel I am reasonably knowledgeable due to the wide ranging experiences I have encountered. The current Australian government seems very out of touch with the constituents and more importantly with reality. It is now 3 decades since global warming warnings reached a level where an intelligent species would have made concerted efforts to rectify the problem. We, here in Australia, could be an example to the rest of the world. We are in sport. Why aren’t we with regard to a common sense approach in protecting nature and future generations? How can Slomo (I prefer this name to scomo) sleep at night? He has two daughters. Don’t they come home from school and tell their Dad that everyone at school calls him a fool? Most of my friends and their children and grandchildren do. In brief these are my concerns which an intelligent government would open discussion about, calling upon innovative ideas to carry us successfully into the future: The climate dilemma, the production of power (not just solar and wind, but tidal flow and more), caring for the increasing ageing population, using Indigenous knowledge more wisely, teaching coding at an early age, research into the control of bushfires with sound waves. We are so very far behind where we could and should be, if we just tried a bit harder.

Enter Name 3:42 pm 19 Dec 19

It is against the law to work in these temperatures.

Ben 12:31 pm 19 Dec 19

It’s so refreshing to read some of these comments as opposed to the drivel you get on some other news sights. How much worse does it all need to get before we are any real action from the government? Whether it be preventive or reactionary.

Monique 11:26 am 19 Dec 19

“I hope they are on their lunch breaks” – these people are doing the right thing prioritizing their fight for essentially survival and the APM is stuck up his own ass.

Nelly Jane 11:05 am 19 Dec 19

$11, million for our fire resources versus $186 million for a det Center PRIME MINISTER photo op during an election camp that we paid for $444 million to the bogus Great Barrier Reef foundation who’s chairman is the head of MOBIL EXON $30 million to Rupert from Turnbull and they crow about a measly $11 mill towards a national disaster. That $11 million will be swallowed by 1 aircraft n equipment for water bombing ! We need all the above money spent on water bombing equipment!

Raymer Buckland 8:07 am 19 Dec 19

I believe you are all doing a fantastic job in the face of adversity.
So many negative opinions from ppl who don’t know the full story
Looking at the glass half empty
I thank you for everything you are doing
Raymer

Enough 4:29 am 19 Dec 19

He clearly had no time or patience to act like a APM should. He’s a climate change denier.. Such a shame. Thought he’d turn out as an advocate for the people of the bush, but no, he’s no different from Joyce…..big money supporter

Stephen 11:48 pm 18 Dec 19

Bruce MacCormack typifies why the National Party is no longer anything better than a flog for the Liberals !

Time to loosen those coalition ties and actually start rresenting the interests of the country constituents.

Robyn Sweeney 9:14 pm 18 Dec 19

Michael McCormack is so out of touch with regional communities. Evidently he believes that Climate Change is an invention of ‘Woke City folk’ and the unemployed. I live in his electorate of Wagga where he is moderately unpopular. How do these people get elected? If McCormack has any official duties there, he arrives by Commonwealth car and escorted by bully boys. Never opens himself to the public usually. Must have been a shock for him to see the protestors at the airport. Couldn’t possibly be local folk – must be unemployed ring ins… Shortly, there will be no viable farms for him to ‘represent’ (hahaha). The sooner he disappears along with his useless Prime Minister who has chosen to vamoose when the country is in extremis, the better.

    Hein Vandenbergh 12:51 pm 19 Dec 19

    Yes, sadly, the word ‘climate change protestor’ has become an almost instant equivalent of ‘unemployed dole bludger’.
    Shameful. The real bludgers on the public purse are the pollies who take no notice of serious disasters, even when other, properly informed and thus concerned, citizens rub their noses into our daily reality.

Veronica o’leary 8:52 pm 18 Dec 19

What a travesty
This Government will not listen to the realities and rely on heavy armed anti democratic tactics and fake information to cover their total ineptitude

Ian Fox 8:25 pm 18 Dec 19

He should be ashamed of his government’s failure to offer support to communities suffering in these fires. The failure of the Morrison government on the impacts of climate change and these fires is now being reported globally and on a daily basis. We are led by an incompetent group who resort to aggression towards anybody who questions them. The Acting PM’s comments today do nothing to dispel that view.

Susan Wallace 7:19 pm 18 Dec 19

This Government is complete out of touch and failing to govern.

Morgan 7:12 pm 18 Dec 19

Good on these people for protesting. Regional Australia is bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. We have no water, the land is on fire, we are de stocking like crazy and the PM has dissappeared on holiday. Even our firies are talking about the unprecedented scale and ferocity of these fires, linking this to our changing climate and prolonged drought. I think it’s fantastic to see regional Australians standing up and being heard on issues that effect regional Australia first . I for one am sick of living with my evacuation bag under the bed. It’s time this government took climate change seriously and listened to our firefighters, scientists and farmers.

MinnieJ 6:32 pm 18 Dec 19

It is not normal. It has been predicted for the last three decades. The people of the South Coast are calling out “business as usual” as part of the calamity not part of the solution. They have good reason to demand that all three levels of government acknowledge the extreme impact of climate change on their own lives and their fears for future generations. It is not business as usual when bushfires of an unprecedented scale, that the RFS says cannot be halted; are systematically destroying or threatening our villages, our environment, our homes, properties, stock and our unique forests and the wildlife. This is the likely future for Australians, watching their remnant and ancient forests burn, and our wildlife becoming something that we have no more. Don’t just be an observer. Join the local rallies and let’s get some positive action on climate now.

    Allan Brown 7:13 am 19 Dec 19

    The fires needed fuel. Why is there so much of it ? Government policy? Does the bloke respond to correspondence, ever ?

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