Hundreds of protesters have bunkered down outside Scott Morrison’s Sydney residence – vowing to stay until the prime minister returns from wherever he is holidaying.
The group assembled outside Kirribilli House on Thursday morning to voice their anger at the PM for being absent while the country is battling a bushfire crises.
Reports earlier this week suggested Mr Morrison and his family are in Hawaii though the prime minister’s office has refused to confirm where he is.
His holiday looks to have been shortened, however, after it was revealed on Thursday afternoon he would be returning to work on Monday.
Hundreds of protesters have bunkered down outside Scott Morrison’s Sydney residence – vowing to stay until the prime minister returns from from wherever he is holidaying
The group assembled outside Kirribilli House on Thursday morning to voice their anger at the PM for being absent while the country is battling a bushfire crises
He will then work through Christmas and the new year and travel to India and Japan in January for significant talks on security and trade with the countries’ leaders.
The hashtag #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou is currently trending on Twitter.
Student Ambrose Hayes, one of the organisers of Thursday’s protest, said activists planned to remain at the residence until December 26, when they believe Mr Morrison will return home.
The 14-year-old encouraged people to bring tents, snacks, dust masks and board games to the ‘Kirribilli camp-out’.
The Sydneysider believed Mr Morrison’s holiday was badly timed.
‘Our direct message to Scott Morrison is for him to come home. Even though he’s entitled to a holiday, it shouldn’t be at a time where Australia is in crisis,’ Ambrose told the crowd.
He joined other students representing the Schools Strike 4 Climate movement, as well as politicians and health professionals.
The protests was attended students representing the Schools Strike 4 Climate movement, as well as politicians and health professionals
Reports earlier this week suggested Mr Morrison and his family are in Hawaii, however, the prime minister’s office has refused to confirm exactly where the PM is (file image)
Protesters react after police confront them during a protest outside of Kirribilli House in Sydney, Thursday, December 19, 2019
Protesters asking for action on climate change amid unprecedented bushfires in Australia are escorted by police
Riot squad officers were at the scene in Sydney’s north as the protest began, with the smell of bushfire smoke heavy in the air.
Demonstrators, some of whom wore Hawaiian shirts, carried placards declaring ‘the time to talk is now’ and ‘C’mon SloMo’.
They called on the federal government to take immediate action on climate change and urged no new coal and gas projects, a transition to 100 per cent renewables and funding for affected fossil fuel workers.
Sydney doctor Dr Kim Loo said there was no framework currently in place to deal with the effects of climate change on health.
‘It is negligent not to do anything about mitigation or adaptation. It is criminal to continue mining, burning, exporting oil, coal and gas because it’s fuelling the crisis,’ Dr Loo told the crowd.
‘And this is the greatest crisis to our health in the 21st century.’
The protesters have vowed to stay at Kirribilli House until the prime minister returns
Greens Senator Andrew Shoebridge speaking at the climate change rally
New South Wales Greens senator Andrew Shoebridge being escorted by police at the protest
Cheers erupted as Greens senator Dr Mehreen Faruqi said Mr Morrison was missing at a time of crisis.
‘Everyone is gathered here today to ask one question, ‘Where the bloody hell is the prime minister?” Dr Faruqi said.
Who is leading the country?
Nationals leader Michael McCormack is acting as Australia’s prime minister while the PM is away – though a study has found most Australians wouldn’t recognise him on the street.
The Australia Institute has found fewer than one in three people know who the acting prime minister is.
McCormack has long struggled to build his personal profile after taking over the Nationals leadership from Barnaby Joyce.
Joyce, now a humble backbencher, is the third most recognisable politician in the country.
Unsurprisingly, Scott Morrison is the most widely known politician.
Ben Oquist from The Australia Institute said McCormack was slowly becoming better known, but was still less recognisable than most of his peers.
A protester holding a photograph of property destroyed by bushfire is arrested outside of Kirribilli House in Sydney, Thursday, December 19, 2019
Nationals leader Michael McCormack is acting as Australia’s prime minister while the PM is away
The prime minister reportedly flew on a business class flight to Honolulu earlier this week
‘To be clear, the prime minister and his family are fully entitled to a holiday,’ Oquist said on Thursday.
‘But part of the concern about Scott Morrison’s undeclared vacation could stem from the fact that the country is being led by a person who two-thirds of Australians have never heard of.’
The second-most recognised politician, according to the annual survey, was Julie Bishop.
Model Lara Bingle, who now goes by the name Worthington, joined the chorus asking where Morrison is.
‘WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou’ the 32-year-old tweeted on Wednesday.
Bingle was the face of one of the most famous Australian tourism campaigns using the same catchphrase.
The then 18-year-old was hired by then head of Tourism Australia Mr Morrison.
Footage has also surfaced this week of Mr Morrison being highly critical of former Victorian police commissioner Christine Nixon who went to dinner during the 2009 Black Saturday fires.
Mr Morrison said it was important for public officials to show good judgement during times of national crises.
The prime minister reportedly flew on a business class flight to Honolulu earlier this week.
His office has refused to confirm his location or when he will return from holiday.
The gates at Kirribilli House where protesters have left placards
The protesters are demanding more action to address climate change
Police escort a protester from the rally at in Sydney on Thursday