Scott Morrison has finally been located in Hawaii enjoying “a few bevvies”, according to Australian tourists who insisted he’s “a legend” as bushfires rage at home.
The Prime Minister’s Office has repeatedly refused to confirm his whereabouts this week, but the mystery appeared to be solved on Thursday night after his photograph with Australian tourists in Hawaii was posted on Instagram.
“Not in my wildest dream did I ever imagine I would have the opportunity to share a few bevvies and chat about many things with the Prime Minister of Australia,” the Instagram post said.
“Contrary to belief, he’s actually a bit of a legend.”
The Prime Minister is enjoying a seven-night break in Hawaii with his wife and two daughters before a busy schedule of official overseas travel during the school holidays, including a trip to India.
While it’s not clear where and when the photograph was taken, the Prime Minister is wearing the same board shorts he was photographed in just weeks ago and is delivering the ‘shaka’, a Hawaiian hand gesture for ‘hang loose’.
But there were ugly scenes outside the PM’s official residence in Sydney, where a 10-year-old girl was left sobbing after police threatened to arrest her over a climate change protest.
The video, filmed by a student journalist River McCrossen, has already been viewed more than 150,000 times.
The girl, Izzy, was with her mother and father at the climate protests when she was issued with a move-on order by police.
As a NSW Police officer read the 13-year-old her legal rights, he read from a standard script on his mobile phone that included a warning that she could face arrest.
“I warn you that should you fail to comply with my direction, you may be arrested. Force may be used,” he said.
“Do you understand, Izzy?”
“Yes,” she replies.
The police officer then tells the girl, who is visibly distressed, “You need to leave now. Are you going to leave for me?” before turning to her father and saying, “Sir, are you right to leave now? Take your daughter. Thanks very much. 500 metres please. That’s urgent.”
As police went about their move-on order at Kirribilly House, one girl was visibly frightened during police direction.
— River McCrossen (@RivOMac) December 19, 2019
The girl was filmed by climate change activists in tears after the incident.
“I am just frustrated. We weren’t doing anything wrong. They’re being cowards,” she said afterwards.
“Scott Morrison isn’t even here to say anything. He’s escaped the country.”
PMO denies media ‘order’
The Prime Minister’s office was also forced to deny on Thursday that it had “ordered” media outlets not to report Mr Morrison’s holiday in Hawaii because it might look bad in light of the bushfires.
The Australian Financial Review claimed it was a “cover-up that has backfired, whipping Scott Morrison’s well-earned pre-Christmas break into a controversy”.
“Over the weekend, the Prime Minister’s minders ordered the media not to report that he had taken leave,” the editorial stated.
“This bizarre overreach was designed to protect Mr Morrison from churlish criticism for leaving his post while the bushfires raged.
“The ham-fisted efforts by the political minders were always bound to leave egg on their faces as the PM’s unremarkable holiday predictably fuelled undergraduate outrage on social media.”
Several senior newspaper editors contacted by The New Daily said they had not heard of any “orders” of this nature, nor would they comply with them if asked.
The Guardian editor Lenore Taylor said she knew of “no blackout” but the media outlet had made an ‘editorial’ decision that the issue was the lack of leadership and the lack of policy, not the holiday in itself.
“I received no ‘order’ and would have taken no notice even if I had,” Taylor said.
However, some journalists confirmed they had been urged to respect the PM’s privacy and not link his travel with the bushfires as it was a long-standing trip and he could not spend time with his family later in January due to work commitments.
Mr Morrison will return to Australia on December 23.