06 January 2020 - Australian PM tries to defend government's handling of wildfire crisis
Falling ash, skies of blood – and now Australia’s anger smoulders
Royce Kurmelovs (The Guardian, 04/01/2020)
The sky over Cobargo in New South Wales was still tainted yellow on Thursday afternoon when Australia’s prime minister arrived. For the past month, the country had been ablaze, and the village 240 miles south of Sydney and home to 776 people, had been hit hard.
Standing in the crowd, Zoey Salucci McDermott, 20, eyed Scott Morrison coolly. She and her young daughter had lost her home in the fires, so when he extended his hand in greeting, she did not reciprocate. “I’ll only shake your hand if you give more funding to the RFS [Rural Fire Service],” McDermott said, holding back tears. “So many people here have lost their homes. We need more help.” The prime minister turned away.
As Fires Rage, Australia Sees Its Leader as Missing in Action
Livia Albeck-Ripka, Jamie Tarabay and Isabella Kwai (The New York Times, 04/01/2020)
The posters have popped up on streets around Australia, showing the prime minister looking very tropical: floral wreath on his head, ocean-blue shirt open at the collar.
“MISSING,” they blared. “Your country is on fire.”
The immediate reference was clear. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, has been widely castigated for taking a vacation to Hawaii last month, and trying to keep it quiet, while Australia was in the early clutches of one of its most devastating fire seasons ever.
Julie Bishop says Australia must show leadership on climate change
Megan Gorrey (The Sydney Morning Herald, 06/01/2020)
Former foreign minister Julie Bishop says Australia needs to show global leadership on climate change by putting forward a "coherent energy policy" in response to the nation's bushfire crisis.
Amid growing international criticism of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's climate change policies as fires burn across six states, Ms Bishop said on Monday other countries looked to Australia for "direction, guidance and leadership".
The bushfire crisis has given the Government a political 'out' to its climate change problem
Frank Jotzo (ABC News Australia, 05/01/2020)
The fires across Australia are taking a terrible toll. For those who have lost their loved ones and for those who have lost their homes.
For those who suffer weeks and months of fear, and for the firefighters working beyond exhaustion.
For the millions who breathe harmful smoke with the risk of future illness, and for the many businesses that go broke.