Australia bushfires: Morrison regret in handling of crisis.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says that he regrets his holiday in Hawaii during the bushfire crisis – but says the trip was the result of “an unfortunate series of events”.
“In hindsight, I would not have taken that trip knowing what I know now,” the prime minister told the ABC on Sunday.
“The office won’t do that again. You learn from these things”.
The prime minister was widely criticised for the overseas holiday, taken during the bushfire crisis.
ABC host David Speers pushed the PM for opting to go overseas, rather than holidaying in Australia, noting that he had also had a break in Fiji earlier in the year.
The prime minister responded saying he had planned to go to the south coast of New South Wales, but had to change plans.
“I was supposed to be on my way to India for that visit to see Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, and then Prime Minister Abe, and I had to bring forward my holiday with my family, and that was the reason for the change to that date.
“So it was a very unfortunate series of events.”
The prime minister said he didn’t believe the general public would take issue with his international holidays.
“Occasionally like other Australians I might take my family away for a holiday. I don’t think Australians would think dimly of that on the occasion.”
In the same interview, Scott Morrison also acknowledged there are things he could have handled better during the devastating bushfires.
“There are things I could have handled on the ground much better,” Morrison told ABC TV.
“These are sensitive, emotional environments.
“Prime ministers are flesh and blood too in how they engage with these people.”
‘Australia must evolve’
Scott Morrison says he accepts climate change is driving longer, hotter and drier summer seasons and the government’s emissions targets need to “evolve”.
The prime minister has faced criticism for lacking ambition on cutting Australia’s emissions and many of his coalition colleagues have downplayed the link between climate change and the devastating bushfires.
Australia has pledged to cut emissions by 26 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, under the Paris Agreement.
“It is my intention to meet and beat that target,” Mr Morrison told ABC TV on Sunday.
Morrison also said one of the issues which should be explored by a royal commission into the bushfires, which he will put to cabinet and the state premiers in coming weeks, would be the impact of climate change.