Australia is burning.
More than 200 fires are still blazing on millions of hectares across the country.
The human death toll has hit 23. Six people are missing.
More than half a billion animals are dead.
Hundreds of homes have been razed.
During this time, our Prime Minister found time for a family holiday and his office created a political advertisement lauding the government’s response and assistance to fire-ravaged communities.
Former prime minister John Howard has praised Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his handling of a very difficult crisis.
This is the same leader who initially said he wouldn’t financially support our volunteer firefighters because they wanted to be there.
Still, Mr Howard says it’s time for us to move on from the PM’s ill-timed family holiday and work together during this crisis.
“It’s obviously an incredibly difficult time for the country,” Mr Howard told the Herald Sun.
“I don’t think he’s interested in the next opinion poll, if you want my opinion, I think what he wants to do now is make certain all of the responses are the right ones. In a federation like Australia, working closely with the states is the most important requirement a federal government has.”
Another former PM, Kevin Rudd, has slammed Mr Morrison for turning a time of crisis into a political advertisement, saying the PM is no longer fit to lead the country.
“For God’s sake! On a day we have catastrophic fire conditions, in the midst of a genuine national crisis, Morrison, the marketing guy, does what? He releases a Liberal Party ad! He is no longer fit to hold the high office of prime minister,” Mr Rudd said on Twitter.
Mr Morrison has defended his actions, saying he was simply providing information the public had been seeking on the government’s response.
“The postings that we’ve made in messages have been to inform the community about what the commonwealth government is doing,” he said.
“Let me assure Australians, the purpose is to communicate as simply and helpfully as we possibly can about what the government is doing to get resources to get support to those places that need it.
“And over analysis of these things can create unnecessary anxiety and we’re simply seeking to help people know what we’re doing.”
The government has sent HMAS Adelaide to help evacuation efforts from towns on the Victorian coast, has called up 3000 army reservists to assist in extraction and recovery and put $20 million towards leasing four more water-bombing aircraft.
The PM has been accused of political grandstanding and, according to Neil James from the Australian Defence Association, politicising the defence force.
“The intention of the ad (video), exemplified by its nature & the speed of its production, is a clear breach of the non-partisanship convention,” he said.
“It is also completely unnecessary given the prior departmental and ministerial media releases publicly explaining ADF support to rural fire services.”
Former premier of Victoria Steve Bracks also chimed in on the video.
“Wow. It is hard to go much lower than advertisements spruiking the Federal Governments response in the middle of the Nations bushfire crisis,” he tweeted.
Regardless of public and political opinion, the government has come to the party with valuable assistance. And support has come from far and wide. Australians are banding together to provide food, shelter, clothing and assistance. Celebrities have also generously donated millions in financial aid.
You can help Australia’s bushfire victims through the following outlets.
- Red Cross
- St Vincent de Paul Society
- Community Enterprise Foundation
- Donate to CFA firefighters
- Donate to RFS firefighters
- World Wildlife Fund
- Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund
- Gippsland Farmer Relief – Drop off at 51 Lydiard Street South, Ballarat, from 9am-5.30pm, or call Kiara Porra 0447 834 892 for after-hours drop-offs.
Is the PM guilty of political grandstanding or are you happy with his leadership?
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