Opinion

Aloha Scotty and Jen: PM’s tin ear spells danger for Government

Ian Bushnell 24 December 2019
Currowan Fire

The Currowan Fire burning just along the Kings Highway west of Batemans Bay last week. Photo: Ulladulla Fire and Rescue.

It has taken the deaths of two young firefighters for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to cancel his Hawaiian holiday and apologise to the Australian people.

But it is going to take a lot longer for the political bushfire to be extinguished and the issue is likely to smoulder, particularly given the government’s reluctance to discuss the great big climate elephant in the room.

I don’t think anybody begrudges the PM taking a break at this time of the year. In more benign times, Doug Anthony would run the country from his caravan on the NSW North Coast. John Howard would make the annual pilgrimage to Hawks Nest.

The key point is not that Mr Morrison and his family went on holiday but that he chose to leave the country in the middle of an ongoing bushfire emergency, with smoke choking Australia’s biggest city and the national capital, and an unprecedented heatwave stoking fear across the nation.

The miracle man of May fixated on those ”quiet Australians” has shown a tin ear for the concerns of Australians on the fire grounds and the growing alarm across the country.

First it was the steadfast refusal to discuss man-induced climate change and global heating in the context of the fires and the extraordinary temperatures being reached and forecast.

Then his flailing Energy Minister Angus Taylor went off to the climate talks in Madrid armed with dodgy arguments about credits in the bank that contributed to the scurrilous undermining of a united approach to reducing emissions and averting the catastrophic consequences of increases in average global temperatures.

And when it was obvious the country was in for a perilous week, Mr Morrison seemed unable to show the agility and nous required to change his plans and stay in the country.

A smoky Weston Creek

New normal?: A smoky Weston Creek on Friday morning. Photo: Jay Bergmann.

The situation also raises questions about his close advisers, who are there to hoist a red flag when needed, talk truth to power and avert the kind of political firestorm that has blown up.

Did not one person put his or her hand up and offer that perhaps it would, at the very least, not be a good look to carry on regardless with the pre-arranged holiday?

The problem for the Prime Minister and his government now is that many more Australians are now more viscerally aware of the consequences of a changing climate and perceive a leadership vacuum on the issue.

These past weeks the abstract notion of climate change has condensed into the hard confronting reality of what it actually means.

It’s like turning up in your own disaster movie. The shocking truth about the world we may bequeath to our children, along with the dark and slightly nervous asides about the end times has been a recurring theme of conversation.

Mr Morrison will now face growing demands for him to stare down the deniers in his own party and start building a real climate action policy, that will have to include mitigation and management strategies to deal with fire.

He is now a diminished leader who will need to forget about his May triumph, listen to his advisers or get new ones, and map out a vision to take the country forward.

The stakes are now too high for the country, and for his own Prime Ministership for Mr Morrison to resume business as usual.

Let the holiday howler be a lesson and mark a fresh beginning, for all our sakes.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on The RiotACT.

What's Your Opinion?

96 Responses to Aloha Scotty and Jen: PM’s tin ear spells danger for Government

Pete Graham Pete Graham 10:56 pm 25 Dec 19

I hope the young Red Cedars are OK.

Peter Senior Peter Senior 6:53 am 25 Dec 19

I do believe people entitled tour holiday and being a democracy people are entitled to religious freedoms

. Myself being former forestry commission mechanic working on fire engines etcetera and plant equipment I personally think that the current bushfire season situation is a combination of bad national parks and forest management from several governments and policies need to be change and I believe in forest management Roads large fire breaks etcetera

These are my personal opinions

John Hamilton John Hamilton 9:46 pm 24 Dec 19

Well you’ve done this to it’s death. Once in our country we used to band together to deal with adverse times. Now it seems we like to wallow in self pity and self interest. Can we just move on to helping those most in need.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 7:58 am 26 Dec 19

    How do you band together with a Prime Minister who's hiding on a Hawaiian beach?

    John Hamilton John Hamilton 8:42 am 26 Dec 19

    He came back. Apologised. In Australia we usually give a bloke a chance to redeem himself like a couple of cricketers I can think of. Peter Marshall

    Brendan Ryan Brendan Ryan 7:52 am 27 Dec 19

    John Hamilton he came back and twisted it to his own gain. His apology was as convincing as a Trump fact. He is detached, privileged, unempathic twat.

    John Hamilton John Hamilton 9:07 am 27 Dec 19

    Brendan Ryan OK Guys I surrender. Have a great 2020. I’m sure you’ll find heaps to whinge about.

Julia Walsh Julia Walsh 9:25 pm 24 Dec 19

And what is with the gag orders and suppression of free press by this fascist regime during these fires?

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=184044856115075&id=100035286848605&set=gm.2614921221890403&source=48

Patricia Douglass Patricia Douglass 6:53 pm 24 Dec 19

I think it's about time we moved on frm all this crap & both leaders start working together to save our country instead of putting each other down. Personally I'm over the political rubbish they're both as bad as each other.

Cass Daniels Cass Daniels 4:09 pm 24 Dec 19

He's an absolute horror of horrors, no heart, no soul, just a fox in sheep's clothing.

George Yiannaros George Yiannaros 3:00 pm 24 Dec 19

Left or right these days are only worried about there job security and pocket

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 4:10 pm 24 Dec 19

    No, the real left is worried about the future of the planet.

Chris Sparks Chris Sparks 2:32 pm 24 Dec 19

A really dopey move in a crisis... now look forward to the article on Albo’s staged breakfast for firies.

Valeria Molony Valeria Molony 1:57 pm 24 Dec 19

Great article! !!

Anne Ham Anne Ham 1:51 pm 24 Dec 19

Thank you Ian, for your full and frank reporting.

Morrison really has no grounding in these desperate and out of control fire events. Even today he has not committed to a formal recognition of the true cost to the volunteer fire fighters.

Many are self employed people who need to be compensated for their time. We simply cannot go on expecting to run long term Emergency Operations on goodwill.

And it gets worse, this morning we have reports of individuals who have had their unemployment benefits suspended while they are away fighting fires.

It is a sorry state when the Prime Minister trades on community spirit and at the same time defunds those same institutions.

John Yiannaros John Yiannaros 1:32 pm 24 Dec 19

The lefties are doing all they can to get rid of a good man.

    Colleen Ball Colleen Ball 1:50 pm 24 Dec 19

    A good man does not leave others when there is an emergency

    Steve Jackson Steve Jackson 2:17 pm 24 Dec 19

    A good man does not take money to do a job then not do it. A good man does not leave his country at a time of unprecedented emergency when he is in charge. A good man does not dismiss the rational fears of his community. A good man does not knowingly deceive and lie about his intentions. A good man owns a problem or mistake and then sets about righting his wrong. A good man knows how to apologise without weasle words. I could go on but suffice to say he is anything but a good man.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 4:10 pm 24 Dec 19

    What good man?

    Ben Mace Ben Mace 4:47 pm 25 Dec 19

    I'll do everything in my power to get rid of ScoMo, however I'm not sure which good man you're talking about..🤔

    Donald H Kellond Donald H Kellond 9:14 pm 25 Dec 19

    Steve Jackson , Thank you, I could not have pit it better.

Tammy Glass Tammy Glass 1:12 pm 24 Dec 19

It takes a special kind of man to lay the blame on his wife and kids.

    Kayla Jay Kayla Jay 1:13 pm 24 Dec 19

    Didn't Barnaby do that too? Must run in the family.

    Tammy Glass Tammy Glass 1:14 pm 24 Dec 19

    Kayla Jay they are all about family values and Christianity....

Viki Hannah Viki Hannah 1:12 pm 24 Dec 19

If you didn’t already know the type of person Morrison was you do now.

Not a single person stepped up from the LNP either.

Remember this come next election.

    Faye Simpson Faye Simpson 2:00 pm 24 Dec 19

    call me as many names as you like Viki … doesn't worry me... if the media has words to say about 1 pollie then the same should go for all...just think we should get on with supporting the firies and leave the rest until the emergency is over...so have a nice Christmas..

    Viki Hannah Viki Hannah 3:21 pm 24 Dec 19

    Sure thing as soon as another pollie does the same .

    My religion doesn’t worship Christmas but if you do onya

    Amanda Midlam Amanda Midlam 7:17 pm 24 Dec 19

    Faye Simpson we have an emergency because the dangers of climate change have been ignored. We could have been a lot more prepared for this.

    Paul Martin Paul Martin 8:36 am 25 Dec 19

    Viki Hannah they'll all forget as usual

    Viki Hannah Viki Hannah 8:40 am 25 Dec 19

    Paul, sadly - yes.

    Paul Martin Paul Martin 9:44 am 25 Dec 19

    Viki Hannah then they'll blow up again next time there's a national emergency and blame everyone else 'cept themselves and the Libs they voted back in ha ha 🤦 Australia is becoming too much like the US for my liking 👎

PJ Fleming PJ Fleming 1:05 pm 24 Dec 19

What rubbish...... pull your heads in and get on and live your lives. The world is wonderful ......... it is not doomed as per the apocalyptic rhetoric by all the scaremongering doomsayers........ get real peoples

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 1:10 pm 24 Dec 19

    Phew. Someone on Facebook says all the world's climate scientists are wrong.

    Kerryn Wood Kerryn Wood 1:19 pm 24 Dec 19

    the world is wonderful??? what planet are you living on ??????? it must be one without violence towards women, no poverty, no bushfires or accelerated weather anomalies, it must be one with equal pay and equal rights, where bigotry and racism, misogyny and oppression of minorities doesn't exist, it must be one with plenty of rainfall and no farmers doing it tough in drought, it must be one where sea level rise isn't moving people out of their houses and off their islands, it must be one where no one is in cruel detention centres, it must be one where women aren't stoned to death, or gay men killed, it must be a world where no ecosytems are collapsing or animals are going extinct, and one with clean air and plenty of food for all.....yes, what a strange and wonderful world YOU must be living on. Time for YOU to pull your head OUT of the sand...

    Steve Jackson Steve Jackson 1:34 pm 24 Dec 19

    PJ Fleming perspective error - you can’t see the problem because you are part of the problem.

    Peter Bond Peter Bond 1:44 pm 24 Dec 19

    Just like to know, are the fires in anyway resulting from climate change?

    Are the fires in any part the PM's responsibility?

    Are these fires worse than the fires 10 years ago?

    Fuel loads build up over 10 years or so, and the Greens try to stop reduction burn offs. The fires are regular and better or worse than previous.

    This has been happening for 60k years. This would be a problem for the Federal Government, not the state.

    PJ Fleming PJ Fleming 1:51 pm 24 Dec 19

    Steve Jackson - got a better idea for your lot....... go BBQ on a slow moving iceberg

    PJ Fleming PJ Fleming 1:55 pm 24 Dec 19

    Kerryn Wood - speaking of dinosaurs.......... You and Bob Brown would enjoy each other’s company...... take the nut bar and Sarah 2dads with ya

    Tammy George Tammy George 2:36 pm 24 Dec 19

    Kerryn Wood Perspective is important. There is still good and beauty in this world.

    We wouldn’t see all the amazing firies and charity workers sacrificing their time, money and ultimately lives for others at this time of year especially if there was nothing good left in this world.

    Important to focus on good things while looking for solutions to the bad. Look for the good, don’t focus on the bad.

    PJ Fleming PJ Fleming 2:38 pm 24 Dec 19

    Misses Tam George - nicely said. It might be taken with good grace....... will have to wait and see.......😲😲😉

    Steve Jackson Steve Jackson 2:41 pm 24 Dec 19

    PJ Fleming Ummm, points of clarification old boy - better idea than what? and who is my lot? There is a total fire ban on (granted you obviously live in a bubble and may not have noticed the fires) so .... no BBQ and icebergs are disappearing fairly quickly as a result of climate change so you have proposed a fairly unachievable "better idea" for the wrongly perceived "lot" that I am in..

    Peter Bond Peter Bond 3:46 pm 24 Dec 19

    Steve Jackson

    Icebergs, once they break away, are doomed to melt into the ocean. Having a BBQ on an iceberg will change nothing, as far as climate goes.

    Steve Jackson Steve Jackson 4:15 pm 24 Dec 19

    Peter Bond you got nothing to say.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 4:33 pm 24 Dec 19

    Peter Bond:

    Yes

    Yes

    Yes

    and

    Why are repeating a ridiculously stupid lie? No-one is stupid enough to believe that lie. I am a Green and a volunteer firefighter and I do hazard reduction burns. What about you?

    PJ Fleming PJ Fleming 6:03 pm 24 Dec 19

    Steve Jackson - rubbish

    PJ Fleming PJ Fleming 6:05 pm 24 Dec 19

    Peter Marshall - he’s saving the planet supaglued to a road.........duh

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 7:59 am 26 Dec 19

    If you don't understand how protests can work to create change, ask questions instead of making ignorant statements.

Kayla Jay Kayla Jay 12:57 pm 24 Dec 19

His apology was awful - implying that we were anxious because he was not in the country - what an egomaniac. We are anxious because the LNP under his 'leadership' is doing nothing about the immediate threat - e.g. meeting with firefighting leadership, compensation for those who have been away from work for weeks, and that he's also not doing anything about the longer term risk from climate change. When smoky skies become the norm, fruit and vegetable prices go through the roof, and water becomes a luxury that we will have to buy, will anyone notice? Meanwhile he focuses on distractions such as religious freedom laws, and cementing the conservative power by stripping away our rights to protest, increasing penalties for whistleblowers, permitting greater surveillance of citizens and killing off one of the few independent news services.

    Amanda Moss Amanda Moss 1:35 pm 24 Dec 19

    Change the leader or party every year and we could possibly have the same problem . Our political system appears to reward and upgrade many with no or little empathy or compassion self obsorbed by themselves .

    Noelsi Webster Noelsi Webster 2:24 pm 24 Dec 19

    Pauline Syron-Coxon it wouldn't matter who was running the country. Most of you retards still wouldn't be happy

    Kayla Jay Kayla Jay 2:30 pm 24 Dec 19

    Amanda Moss need to limit political donations to get real change.

    Kayla Jay Kayla Jay 2:37 pm 24 Dec 19

    Noelsi Webster in the absence of any cogent argument, rely on personal insults.

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 4:08 pm 24 Dec 19

    Noelsi - this is for you. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2014/10/29/r-word-advocacy_n_6064196.html?ri18n=true

    Col Stanley Col Stanley 12:49 pm 26 Dec 19

    Kayla Jay His history was in marketing "where the bloody .... ." He continually uses this approach with considerable success. Very little policy or any plans jus BS. He said "no knee jerk reaction to bush fires" yet Medi vac instantly did a $180M photo shoot opening a "prison " with no inmates and kicked a family to Christmas Island costing $20M. Yet only $11M for Fire fighting air support. Go figure and just listen to the smooth talking speeches.... even his low life Church leader "I don't comment about gossip". Everything he says is the tactic of "Talking points" in other words scripted answers irrespective of the questions being asked.

Tony McDonald Tony McDonald 12:50 pm 24 Dec 19

How good is this PM? This leadership absence is typical of Moron's Son "reign". Late to react, and promises to fix things in future. Action when it is needed does not happen. When you talk directly to God, listening to the people is obviously considered not necessary. Maybe one day he will formulate policy based on the needs of Australians at large. Go back to Hawaii and stay there.

Rjj Smithers Rjj Smithers 12:43 pm 24 Dec 19

Just resign it's better for Australia.

Faye Simpson Faye Simpson 12:33 pm 24 Dec 19

yet nothing has been said about the Qld Premier being on holidays while Qld burns....lets just get over it and move on to the pressing matters..like getting the fires out

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 1:12 pm 24 Dec 19

    She's a member of The Coal Cult too, so she deserves the same criticism as him.

    Sharon McMahon Sharon McMahon 2:57 pm 24 Dec 19

    Faye Simpson at least she's still in the state and is prepared to be called back if necessary

    Faye Simpson Faye Simpson 3:01 pm 24 Dec 19

    my point being both were on holidays and had passed the leadership to their deputy...the media hounded Scomo for being on holidays why not the qld premier also...

    Peter Marshall Peter Marshall 4:09 pm 24 Dec 19

    I have a life, Graeme. Did you have a point you wished to make?

Lisa Kremmer White Lisa Kremmer White 12:27 pm 24 Dec 19

And that it was kept secret says a lot. I reckon he knew it wouldn’t be popular but he went anyway. I don’t think he cares. He’s only just been elected. He’s got 2 1/2 years left. Probably arrogantly thinks that’s enough time to claw back any reputation all or political loss. He may well be right.

    Pat Reeves Pat Reeves 12:29 pm 24 Dec 19

    Lisa Kremmer White got a lot to claw back. And a fair bit had be to improve the enviroment and conditions of our volunteers. Some have been out there since winter and it won't be over soon. Employers will also need to be sweetened.

    Mica Mahani Mica Mahani 12:41 pm 24 Dec 19

    Lisa Kremmer White I’ll be very surprised if he lasts 2 & 1/2 years.

    This government is dead in the water.

    Laurie Thomas Slater Laurie Thomas Slater 12:46 pm 24 Dec 19

    Lisa Kremmer White so true. He thinkshe has time on his side, which unfortunately is true.

    Lisa Kremmer White Lisa Kremmer White 1:17 pm 24 Dec 19

    Laurie Thomas Slater I for one will never forget his arrogance and selfishness. Time will tell rest of Australia remembers.

    Lisa Kremmer White Lisa Kremmer White 1:19 pm 24 Dec 19

    Mica Mahani the are dead to me, to steal a line from mr potato head. But I was astounded the LNP were re-elected in NSW and federally. I hope this is enough but only time will tell. Sadly, we have no impeachment process.

JM Cregan JM Cregan 12:25 pm 24 Dec 19

HE IS BACK NOW.. AND HE'S OUT IN THE FIELD.. for goodness sakes. can we now just focus on the recovery and support for those who have lost it all and support those families who have also lost loved ones .. AND BRING IN TOTALLY OVER THE TOP PENALTIES AND JAIL TERMS FOR FIRE BUGS!

    Marianne De Beuzeville Marianne De Beuzeville 12:43 pm 24 Dec 19

    JM Cregan do you really have to shout JM?

    Marianne De Beuzeville Marianne De Beuzeville 12:45 pm 24 Dec 19

    Thought we were the quiet Australians

    Janet Kay Harris Janet Kay Harris 12:45 pm 24 Dec 19

    JM Cregan as someone who has lost everything I’m offended by behaviour

    Isabel Robinson Isabel Robinson 1:03 pm 24 Dec 19

    JM Cregan, he's out and about saying he's not going to financially support volunteers.

    Karin I'Anson Karin I'Anson 1:07 pm 24 Dec 19

    JM Cregan you are respectfully missing the point .

    He weighed up the consequences before going , decided he should do it sneakily , because he KNEW it was wrong and a leader stays when his country is burning

    Then he came back and tried to cover up with tired overtures about family and panic

    He is seriously underestimating the Australian public

    There is nothing over the top about reasonable Australians who are paying his wages saying we expect more .

    JM Cregan JM Cregan 1:31 pm 24 Dec 19

    Marianne De Beuzeville Not shouting at you.. Just sick and tired of slack and 'smack on the wrist' penalties.. my sister was evacuated three times... Have worked for Juvenile Justice and the jail system.. How those firebugs would laugh at their 'adventures'... Karin l'Anson I am not making excuses for him. All I am saying is why are we reverting back to this over and over again? He's back.. he's on the ground.. hopefully he will indeed act and the support and focus needs to be on the survivors and helping them access the correct assistance in the immediately future.

    JM Cregan JM Cregan 2:00 pm 24 Dec 19

    Janet Kay Harris have friends who have also lost everything.. i empthasize with your loss.. we came close but were lucky.

    Karin I'Anson Karin I'Anson 2:16 pm 24 Dec 19

    JM Cregan

    Why are we reverting back to the issue and calling him to account ?

    Because he has given a half arsed none Apology , which involved using his children and wife as a smoke screen, and has since said he is going to do nothing to act on climate change (aka as preventing or ameliorating the problem ) and is refusing to even examine the idea of remuneration or reasonable recompense for volunteers .

    If we just allow him to slip back into ‘business as usual ‘

    He will continue to take advantage of our giving spirit .

    He is NOT sadly well intentioned .

    Melanie Long Melanie Long 3:53 pm 24 Dec 19

    He didn't bother stopping in the Blue Mountains where people have lost everything. He just flew off to Mudgee, where there are no pesky fire victims or fires. He has not redeemed himself by coming back, he has only concreted his dubious character.

    Rick Withapee Rick Withapee 4:53 pm 24 Dec 19

    JM Cregan Moron, what fire bugs? That's just smoke and mirrors, I suppose you agree with the cretins THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS, Z53 get some

    Terry Kennedy Terry Kennedy 7:04 pm 24 Dec 19

    The arsonists are the LNP

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