January 02, 2020

Australia Wildfires End Leader’s Post-Election Honeymoon
(Bloomberg) -- Last month, Australia’s unprecedented wildfire crisis prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to cut short a vacation to Hawaii. It also abruptly ended his political honeymoon.Eight months after being lauded a conservative hero by engineering an unexpected victory, Morrison’s clumsy handling of the crisis -- highlighted by his trip to Hawaii just days after declaring a national disaster -- has stoked criticism over his political judgment, including by members of his own party.Australia’s unprecedented wildfire crisis has taken a huge toll: 18 people are dead, more than 1,000 houses burnt, and an area twice the size of Wales has been destroyed in one state alone. This week saw disturbing footage of thousands of holiday-makers huddled on beaches awaiting rescue, images that have fanned mounting concerns that Morrison’s pro-coal policies are hurting a nation that appears to be suffering the brunt of increasing climate change.The prime minister was heckled on Thursday by angry residents when he visited the bushfire-hit town of Cobargo, where two people died earlier this week. Others declined to shake his hand and called for more resources to tackle the disaster.Morrison’s response to the crisis appears similar to George W. Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, according to Helen Pringle, a researcher at the University of New South Wales who writes about Australian politics. The disaster in New Orleans killed more than 1,000 people and caused an estimated $100 billion in damage. Bush was criticized for appearing to ignore the unfolding crisis while he was taking a vacation, and some political observers say his presidency never recovered.“Morrison’s messaging has really been off during this whole bushfire disaster,” Pringle said. “He seems to be downplaying it because if he admits to its severity then he understands more people will demand that he takes tougher action on climate change.”While there have been no opinion polls released in the past month to show whether the reputation of Morrison and his government have taken a real hit among voters, the reaction on social media has been savage. The hashtag ScottyfromMarketing began trending, a reference to his stint as the former head of Tourism Australia and his inclination to put a positive spin on the crisis.The latest sign that Morrison may be missing a change in the national mood came on New Year’s Day. Just 24 hours after thousands of people at coastal tourist spots were forced to flee fires that rained down ash and burning embers, he was promoting a cricket match in his home city of Sydney.People watching the game “will be encouraged by the spirit shown by Australians and the way that people have gone about remembering the terrible things that other Australians are dealing with at the moment,” he said. That same day he delivered a televised address telling Australians “there’s no better place to raise kids anywhere on the planet.”Last month, a New South Wales state lawmaker from Morrison’s own Liberal Party said the devastating conditions showed “doing nothing is not a solution” as scientists had warned that climate change would worsen the impact of fires. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, former Liberal foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop used a pre-Christmas speech to about 150 members of the party to blast his decision to take an international holiday during the crisis.The criticism undercuts Morrison’s efforts to foster a “family dad” image that appeared to resonate with mainstream voters who were weary of the nation’s five changes of leadership since 2010. That underpinned his comeback win in the May election, garnering him praise from the likes of U.S. President Donald Trump.The prime minister has claimed the victory as a mandate for his entire policy agenda, including support for the coal industry -- Australia’s second-largest income generator after iron ore. Yet polls show a vast majority of Australians still want his government to take greater action to combat climate change.Morrison came under attack last month for enjoying a family holiday even as the severity of the wildfire crisis was becoming clear, with major cities such as Sydney and Canberra shrouded in smoke. His absence stood in contrast to Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, who has used the spotlight while touring fire-ravaged areas to criticize the government’s lack of national strategy to combat the fires, as well as the absence of a mechanism that puts a price on carbon emissions.The Australian prime minister’s pro-coal industry government insists the nation is doing its bit to combat climate change, even while it opposes calls that would force polluters to pay for their carbon emissions. He told reporters on Thursday that regardless of the wildfire crisis, he won’t be changing his policies. He has also resisted calls to use a forecast budget surplus this fiscal year to bolster a stalling economy.A passionate backer of the fossil-fuel industries that still provide the bulk of the nation’s electricity, Morrison claims Australia is meeting its international emissions reduction commitments. Still, his opponents say such targets don’t include the massive amounts of coal burned after it’s shipped to countries such as India and China. They also say his claim that the nation is responsible for 1.3% of global emissions can be contrasted with Australia having just 0.3% of the world’s population.“Let me be clear to the Australian people -- our emissions reductions policies will both protect our environment and seek to reduce the risks and hazards we are seeing today,” Morrison told reporters on Thursday. “At the same time, it will seek to make sure of the viability of people’s jobs and livelihoods, all around the country. What we will do is make sure our policies remain sensible, that they don’t move toward either extreme, and stay focused on what Australians need for a vibrant and viable economy, as well as a vibrant and sustainable environment.”(Updates with Morrison heckled)To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Scott in Canberra at jscott14@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ruth Pollard at rpollard2@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten Kate, Edward JohnsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Unique Celebrity Baby Names: Cosmo, Kulture, Apple & More! | E! News
November 26, 2021
e_zTVo0PGhs
Kendall Jenner & Devin Booker's SLAM DUNK Romance | E! News
November 26, 2021
PEt_JziVhO0
All of Lady Gaga's Most STUNNING "House of Gucci" Press Looks | E! News
November 25, 2021
YHilBLcIi3g
'The Beatles: Get Back' Director Peter Jackson Joins Variety's Doc Dreams
November 26, 2021
K95MIzDth_A
Kevin Hart, Wesley Snipes, and Eric Newman Talk 'True Story' and Kevin's Acting Skills
November 23, 2021
PuTxxFD4tHM
Adam Driver, Jared Leto, and Jeremy Irons Talk 'House of Gucci'
November 22, 2021
u5QhOKbdsoA
Christine Quinn felt ‘annoyed’ bringing up ex drama on ‘Selling Sunset’ | Page Six Celebrity News
November 24, 2021
glyJ2w62L9k
Which 'Selling Sunset' star didn't get invited to Heather's wedding? | Page Six Celebrity News
November 24, 2021
K-7VbTnMfbI
Jason Oppenheim gushes over Chrishell Stause romance, he's "in love" | Page Six
November 23, 2021
LmlntGyFYLE
Blac Chyna Weighs In on Omicron Variant & Unvaccinated People
November 27, 2021
-biXwe9YaNQ
Karol G Falls Mid-Performance in Miami | TMZ
November 27, 2021
Ickbt8vlWFc
Will Smith's Orgasms Made Him Vomit | The TMZ Podcast
November 27, 2021
P0H8u_M4AAk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
19
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group H
Sydney FC - Shanghai SIPG
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Aston Villa
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Real Madrid
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Verona
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Napoli
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Roma
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Juventus
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Monchengladbach
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Wolves
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Athletic Bilbao
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Alaves
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Granada CF
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Crotone
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Villarreal
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Sheffield United
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Cadiz
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Betis
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Hertha Berlin
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Preston NE
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Fiorentina
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Coventry
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Swansea City
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - QPR
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Barnsley
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Wycombe Wanderers
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Fulham
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Millwall
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Middlesbrough
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Bournemouth
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Osasuna
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Spezia
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Leeds
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Ferencvaros - Juventus
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Dynamo K.
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group A
Salzburg - Bayern Munich
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Atalanta - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.