Piers Morgan says Scott Morrison ‘got what he deserved’
Media outlets around the world have reacted to the moment Prime Minister Scott Morrison was snubbed by members of the fire-ravaged Cobargo community, as the bushfire crisis in Australia worsens.
Conservative UK commentator and breakfast TV host Piers Morgan led the global criticism against the PM, who was told by devastated residents yesterday that he should be "ashamed of himself" and that he'd "left the country to burn".
Morgan called the fires - which have killed at least 20 people since October - a "staggering, terrible tragedy" and took to social media to declare that Mr Morrison "got what he deserved" in Cobargo.
Morrison got what he deserved... absolutely unconscionable for a Prime Minister to holiday in Hawaii as his nation burns. https://t.co/mT9jlcPO5Q— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 2, 2020
"Absolutely unconscionable for a Prime Minister to holiday in Hawaii as his nation burns," Morgan tweeted.
When another Twitter user asked "when is a good time for a holiday?" Morgan responded, "If you're a Prime Minister, not when your country is burning to the ground. This is not 'something going on' - this is one of the biggest disasters in Australia's history."
Mass evacuations are currently taking place in the threatened regions of Victoria and New South Wales, with conditions expected to deteriorate over the course of the weekend.
"If you can leave, you must leave," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said, having declared an "unprecedented" state of disaster for six local government areas and three alpine resorts.
In NSW, where a state of emergency has been declared for the third time this fire season, there is a "pure focus" on the "preservation of life" as the bushfires escalate.
Morgan isn't the first person to criticise Mr Morrison's conduct during the bushfire crisis.
Hollywood star Bette Midler took to Twitter to reprimand the PM's climate change denial.
"Pity the poor #Australians, their country ablaze, and their rotten @ScottMorrisonMP saying, 'This is not the time to talk about Climate Change. We have to grow our economy'," Midler tweeted in a colourful rant to her 1.9 million followers.
"What an idiot," she continued. "What good is an economy in an uninhabitable country? Lead, you f***wit!"
The New York Post also joined in the coverage of the Prime Minister's "abysmal" reception in Cobargo, calling Morrison "hapless".
The fire situation has made headlines and newspaper front pages around the world, and while some have focused on the devastation caused, UK newspaper The Guardian has drawn attention to the Prime Minister's climate change stance.
"The continent of Australia is figuratively - and in some sense literally - on fire," professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University and climate scientist Michael Mann wrote in an article for the outlet.
"Yet the prime minister, Scott Morrison, appears remarkably indifferent to the climate emergency Australia is suffering though, having chosen to vacation in Hawaii as Australians are left to contend with unprecedented heat and bushfires."
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Former US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and current presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders have also weighed in, with Mrs Clinton saying, "With Australia on fire and the Arctic in meltdown, it's clear we're in a climate emergency."
Mr Sanders has posted a series of tweets, writing, "The future of the planet is at stake."
What is happening in Australia today will become increasingly common around the world if we do not aggressively combat climate change and transform our energy system away from fossil fuels. The future of the planet is at stake. We must act. https://t.co/JvspMDtqAD— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 2, 2020
While the fires have been extensively covered by international media as the crisis escalates - with images published on the front pages of major British newspapers and other publications around the world - some have pointed out that the world isn't paying enough attention.
In an article for New York Magazine's "Intelligencer", David Wallace-Wells described the bushfires as "a climate disaster of unimaginable horror" that "the rest of the world is hardly paying attention" to.
"You could pick almost any day from the last two months and be horrified by the images of that day's burning," Wallace-Wells wrote in the piece.
While the California fires of 2017 and 2018 "transfixed the world's attention", the ones burning in Australia "have been treated as a scary, but not apocalyptic, local news story".
Wallace-Wells echoed Morgan's sentiment in the piece, saying figures like Donald Trump and Mr Morrison, "who was elected on a campaign pitched against climate action and who blithely took a long holiday in Hawaii while his country burned", are to blame for the "global apathy" towards the crisis.
Among the risks of the climate crisis is a normalization of its horrific and deadly consequences. The bushfires in Australia represent a startling climate catastrophe unfolding before us. Important piece from @dwallacewells. https://t.co/LIvXYbxhPp— Al Gore (@algore) January 2, 2020
Former Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore shared the piece on Twitter, adding "the bushfires in Australia represent a startling climate catastrophe unfolding before us".
I say to those who are delaying action on climate change: Look at the blood-red sky and unbreathable air in Australia because of raging forest fires.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 2, 2020
Our futures are all connected. That is why we must bring the world together and enact a Green New Deal. pic.twitter.com/GBQQpDc4vE