CANBERRA,20 DECEMBER 2019 – Prime Minister Scott Morrison will return to Australia, saying he ‘deeply regrets’ any offence caused over leave.
Morrison is overseas with his family in Hawaii, and has received criticism for going on holidays during a bushfire crisis from some Labor politicians.
His Coalition colleagues had insisted it is entirely appropriate, however this morning he issued a statement saying he would return to Sydney as soon as can be arranged.
“I deeply regret any offence caused to any of the many Australians affected by the terrible bushfires by my taking leave with family at this time,” it said.
“I have been receiving regular updates on the bushfires disaster as well as the status of the search for and treatment of the victims of the White Island tragedy.”
Morrison also said the country had been well managed by the Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack, the Natural Disaster Minister David Littleproud and the Foreign Minister Marise Payne.
In an interview on Sydney radio station 2GB this morning, Morrison said the leave had been arranged some time ago.
He defended his decision not to reveal any details of the holiday, with his office refusing to confirm the location or the dates of leave, citing security concerns.
“I took leave in June and we followed exactly the same practice,” Morrison said.
“Because there has been horrendous events, that has understandably caused a lot of anxiety and I deeply regret that.
“This had been arranged some time ago, and that’s just how it was, but I’ll be coming back as soon as I can.
“I know Australians would want me back at this time after these fatalities.”
Two New South Wales volunteer firefighters, both fathers to young children, were killed last night when their truck rolled.
The Prime Minister also confirmed he was in Hawaii during the radio interview, saying he wanted to surprise his children with a holiday.
“But if I can return and provide some moral support to people who are out there doing it really tough then that’s what I’ll be very glad to do,” he said.
While touring the fire grounds in western Sydney, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the Prime Minister should have been more transparent about where he was.
“I think one of the issues has been the lack of information and transparency around this,” Albanese said.
“But I tell you what, I want to talk about the needs of firefighters, not about Scott Morrison’s holiday,” he said…. PACNEWS