‘Just resign’: Aussies react to PM’s return
Australians have reacted to Scott Morrison's first words since returning home from his Hawaiian holiday to address the bushfires crisis with a mix of anger and understanding.
The Prime Minister held a media conference at the Rural Fire Service headquarters in Sydney this morning, apologising for being out of the country while chunks of it were burning.
"If you had your time over again and you had the benefit of hindsight we would have made different decisions," Mr Morrison told reporters.
"I am sure Australians are fair-minded and understand that when you make a promise to your kids you try and keep it.
"But as Prime Minister, you have other responsibilities, and I accept that and I accept the criticism."
Directly addressing those Australians who were upset by his absence, the PM added: "I apologise for that."
The reaction from weary Aussies watching on has been swift, with clear anger expressed by many who view his words as too little, too late.
On Twitter, Sean Bradbery attacked the press conference by quoting Mr Morrison's line from a few days ago - "Dad makes a promise to their kids" - justifying the trip.
"Mate some dads are not coming home to their kids this Christmas. While you refused to meet fireys, failed to offer support and sat on a beach in Hawaii."
He added that the PM was a "failure" and should "just resign".
Scott Morrison: “When a dad makes a promise to his kids, he likes to keep it...”.— Samuel Leighton-Dore (@SamLeightonDore) December 21, 2019
Australian kids who aren’t Scott’s: pic.twitter.com/zqcOsDD6BX
In contrast, Bryce Parker was one of many who defended him not being in the country while the crisis was ongoing, saying "he isn't a firefighter".
"This (is) getting political but what do those who are angry with Scott Morrison want him to do? He isn't a firefighter? Would probably cause more harm by being in the way."
There were others who echoed the sentiment, which the PM himself repeated this morning by saying he can't exactly "hold a hose" on the front lines.
What do you think about Mr Morrison's holiday and return to Australia? Share your thoughts in the comments below
I agree what a big loss of hogwash, Scott Morrison did not start and can't stop the bushfires. Perhaps our panel lady could help put the fires out in both instances— Bronson64 (@Bronson641) December 21, 2019
Ben Davison also quoted Mr Morrison's words from this morning, when the PM pleaded with people to "be kind to each other".
"Mate, we've been being kind to each other the whole time. It's your lazy, post abandoning, lying hide we can't stand. Obviously you didn't get that brief in Hawaii."
Dylan Leach wrote that Mr Morrison had "made Tony Abbott look like a good bloke".
Did he seriously just lecture the country on kindness and refuse to really apologise? For a dude that worked in sales his PR game is weak #scomomustgo— Laura Jensen (@LauraJcookies) December 21, 2019
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young wasn't impressed, taking to the social media site following Mr Morrison's address to claim he'd taken a more proactive stance on the "needles in strawberries" issue.
"Prime Minister is back yet he's ruled our (sic) taking action on climate, won't discuss what more is needed in fire emergencies till March and just wants us all to be kinder. Wtf?
"He took more action over the 'Needles in Strawberries Crisis' than this. Tone deaf and useless."
His press conference illustrates that he still doesn't get it and nothing will change. However, he has underestimated the damage this will do to him. Such a level of contempt and disrespect to Australians...he's gone too far this time.— 🧚Shauna (@Sey2S) December 21, 2019
On Facebook, those watching the press conference live offered their commentary in real time and gave a sense of the mood of the nation.
Adriana Roman said: "I'm trying really hard to find you sincere and I just can't. You are full of hot air. Too little too late, please go away and shut up."
Ruth Day echoed the sentiment, writing: "Tell that to everyone affected by the fires, fighting the fires, supporting the fireys. They don't get a family holiday this Christmas."
But Mary Kearney disagreed, saying: "These fires ARE NOT his prob leave him be. It's Christmas time start by been (sic) nice."
Mel Tiana agreed: "So many whingers on here may (sic) you all should get out there and fight the fires instead of whinging."
“I don’t hold the hose” said the leader of our country in Hawaii while our country burned On his third holiday of the year after sitting barely any days in parliament The firefighters warned his government about this months ago and they were ignored #Scomomustgo #LiarFromTheShire pic.twitter.com/F9GEeXLxwj— Itsdamo (@damodamo96) December 21, 2019
Mr Morrison has faced days of questions over his absence, his office's treatment of media questions, and the delay in addressing his holiday.
He flew back into Sydney on Saturday night having made the decision to return in the wake of the deaths of two rural firefighting volunteers in NSW.