Thousands Ask The PM 'Where The Bloody Hell Are You' During Bushfire Crisis
As parts of Australia battle an unrelenting bushfire emergency, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken a holiday with his family, prompting thousands to tweet at him #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou?
Morrison is on a planned break with his family ahead of diplomatic trips to India and Japan next month, Foreign Minister Marise Payne confirmed to reporters during her brief visit to New Zealand on Tuesday.
Payne is in NZ to pay respects during the aftermath of the White Island volcano tragedy.
But on Tuesday the spotlight was on Scott Morrison -- well trying to find him -- as the PM's office remains tight-lipped on his family's whereabouts.
10 daily understands the Morrison family are in Hawaii however officials are yet to confirm this.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has confirmed he is acting as prime minister until Morrison returns.
McCormack has spent his time in the top job visiting the Rex Airlines pilot academy in Wagga Wagga and attending a school presentation at Parkes High School.
The PM's absence has prompted a wave of criticism on social media with thousands of Australians tweeting #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou, #NotMyPM and #WheresScotty hashtags, but other leaders insist he deserves a holiday.
"Where the prime minister is is a matter for the prime minister and his family. I think the prime minister, and anyone in an office of that nature, is perfectly entitled to take a private family break," Payne said.
She added the PM runs a "gruelling" schedule and has spent time in "multiple drought zones" in recent months along with a visit to the NSW RFS headquarters in western Sydney last week.
"He is a person who has been very, very closely connected to all of these activities and I think he and his family are entitled to a short break prior to his travel in January in an official capacity," she said.
It comes as frustrated former fire chiefs vowed to host an emergency summit on the bushfire crisis to fill what they claim is a "leadership vacuum" left by the Morrison government.
The disaster has taken six lives and destroyed more than 700 homes, while major cities including Sydney have been shrouded in thick smoke.
NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins is among the coalition of 29 former emergency services bosses who are taking action and said climate change is the key driver to the worsening conditions.
In a powerful opinion article published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday, Mullins said he was frustrated with the nation's leaders who he said were still in denial.
Responding to Morrison's absence at a press conference, Mullins did not criticise the PM's move - but claimed his absence was not really felt.
“Look, everybody needs a holiday," he said.
"I’m not going to comment on what the prime minister’s doing, and frankly at the moment, the federal government is not doing much in this space anyway. So I don’t think it really matters."
Greens MP David Shoebridge also insisted Morrison was "in denial".
"When the country you lead is on fire you have an obligation to stick around and sort it out. Or at least put the right policies in place before you clock off," Shoebridge wrote on Twitter.
"But this guy's in denial... on holiday ... in denial."