Scott Morrison has staged a great escape from Sydney’s bushfire-related air pollution for a family holiday, but his office is tight-lipped on exactly where he is – insisting his whereabouts are “not a story”.
The rumour mill went into overdrive on Monday after a NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge claimed the PM had flown to Hawaii with his wife Jenny and daughters Abbey and Lily.
“Where’s the Prime Minister? We just confirmed with the Deputy PM’s office that he’s acting PM until at least Thursday,” Mr Shoebridge said.
“Have they noticed the country is on fire? We have heard rumours @ScottMorrisonMP is in Hawaii #ClimateEmergency.”
Which one would you choose? The clean air of Hawaii or the toxic air of Sydney? Spotted today, Australia’s Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP, departing Sydney for a holiday to Hawaii. True leadership right there. #NSWfires #auspol pic.twitter.com/XHkKny8KN5
— Mark A. Thomson (@MarkAlanThomson) December 15, 2019
Sydney is wreathed in #climate fires. It hasn’t rained for months in Sydney or Canberra catchments. Everyone I speak to is very very worried and very very angry. Worry &anger will turn to desperation &panic. Scott Morrison has pissed off to Hawaii. #NSWBushfires #auspol https://t.co/6AwVbKmPet
— Terry Australis (@AustralisTerry) December 16, 2019
The New Daily has confirmed Nationals leader Michael McCormack will act as Prime Minister until Thursday.
But Mr Morrison’s office insists that claims he is holidaying in Hawaii are “wrong” while refusing to disclose his location or for how long he is on leave.
However, it’s understood he is on a private holiday and is not planning to visit Australian troops in the Middle East over the next few days, as prime ministers frequently do at this time of year.
Mr Morrison only has a limited window to spend time with his two girls during the school holidays as he has a busy schedule of overseas travel in coming weeks, including an important trip to India.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has evacuated himself and his family to the US islands of Hawaii to escape the horrors of the #CC #bushfires overwhelming exhausted volunteer fire-fighters .. how good is that Australia? #auspol https://t.co/jX7Uzx4UNE
— grace pettigrew (@broomstick33) December 16, 2019
Can someone confirm that the PM @ScottMorrisonMP has ducked out of the country for a holiday in Hawaii, just as the country is about to experience record-shattering temperatures?#auspol #ClimateChange
— 💧🌏🌳NeilJB (@NeilJB1) December 16, 2019
Don’t really care that the PM is on leave.
It’s not like he was doing anything useful here.
— Matt Burke (@matttburke) December 16, 2019
Mr Morrison remains under fire from critics for failing to take stronger action on climate change.
On Monday night, the group Emergency Leaders for Climate Action – a coalition that has grown to include 29 former emergency services bosses – called for a national summit to fill a leadership vacuum it said had been left by the Morrison government.
It comes after weeks of extreme weather events, bushfires and a “public health crisis” in Sydney and Canberra from smoke in the air.
More than 100 blazes were still burning across NSW on Monday while bushfires also raged in Queensland and Western Australia, ahead of an expected heatwave.
“I’ve lived all my life, pretty much, in Sydney and the haze that has come from those fires, I know has been deeply troubling to Sydneysiders,” Mr Morrison said last week.
“I know how unusual it is to see that haze across my city.
“And I know how distressing that has been, particularly for young people, who wouldn’t have seen that before.”
The last confirmed sighting of the Prime Minister was on Saturday when he posed with his wife, Jenny, at a Tina Arena concert.
“Date night with Jen last night at the new Coliseum Theatre in western Sydney. Great concert, great venue,” he posted on Facebook.
“Congrats to everyone who made it a reality at Rooty Hill.”