Scott Morrison was reportedly seen by airport staff jetting out to Hawaii on Monday, as critics slam him for going on a holiday during the devastating bushfire crisis.
‘ScoMo was checked in to the Jetstar flight to Honolulu a few days ago,’ a witness at the airport told The New Daily.
‘He travelled Jetstar business class.’
Rumours the prime minister went to Hawaii on a family holiday started earlier this week when NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge claimed Morrison flew to the island with his wife Jenny and daughters Lily, nine, and Abbey, 11.
‘Where’s the Prime Minister? We just confirmed with the Deputy PM’s office that he’s acting PM until at least Thursday,’ Mr Shoebridge said at the time.
‘Have they noticed the country is on fire? We have heard rumours @ScottMorrisonMP is in Hawaii #ClimateEmergency.’
But the PM’s office had refused to comment on his whereabouts due to safety reasons, but said he ‘is on leave for a few days’ and will be back before Christmas.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison with his wife, Jenny (pictured together) during a previous trip away
A firefighter conducts back-burning measures to secure residential areas from encroaching bushfires in the Central Coast, some 90 kilometres north of Sydney on December 10
‘The PM is on leave for a few days but is receiving regular updates on the status of victims of the White Island tragedy as well as details on the bushfires across the country,’ a spokesman said.
Former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins claimed he has been trying to organise a meeting with the PM for months – well before fires began almost six weeks ago in early November.
Six people are dead and more than 720 homes have been destroyed across the nation. Mr Morrison has refused to be drawn into a climate debate.
Instead, politicians have argued ‘now is not the time’ to discuss climate matters.
Mr Morrison offered ‘thoughts and prayers’ to victims of the blazes and assured the Australian public all is being done to help volunteers.
‘We’re still very frustrated that the Prime Minister has refused to meet with us,’ Mr Mullins told news.com.au.
So where is Scott Morrison? Greens MP David Shoebridge asked his followers that question, before claiming he’d heard rumours the PM was in Hawaii
‘We would like the opportunity to brief (the PM) and maybe educate him on what firefighters on the front line are seeing and what fire chiefs know about the impact of climate change.’
Mr Morrison is away on ‘pre-planned leave’ according to a report in the Australian Financial Review, and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was filling in.
NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge sparked rumours Mr Morrison was in Hawaii after he sent out a tweet about the PM’s personal leave on Tuesday morning.
‘Where’s the Prime Minister? Have they noticed the country is on fire? We have heard rumours he is in Hawaii,’ Mr Shoebridge wrote to his 12,000 followers.
He used the hashtag, #ClimateEmergency, to bring further attention to the post.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the PM was having a ‘well deserved break’.
‘The Prime Minister is overseas with his family,’ he said. ‘He’s having a well-deserved break and obviously it’s been a very busy year. He’ll be back at work shortly and then he’ll be off to India leading a delegation to advance Australia’s interests.’
Mr Morrison cancelled personal leave in January around the time of his wedding anniversary to attend the delegation.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Pacific Skills Portal Launch during the Pacific Islands Forum in August
Former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins (centre) is urging the PM to meet with him
The leave had not been formally announced, and was the first family holiday the PM had taken since he whisked his family away to Fiji after securing the top job.
Mr Mullins said he and his team had been trying to meet with authorities since April to warn of a potentially devastating fire season.
He said state and territory fire services even requested further resources two years ago – predicting conditions would continue to deteriorate in the coming years.
‘The government just sat on it,’ he said.
A spokesperson for Mr Morrison’s office told Daily Mail Australia the PM ‘receives regular updates’ from current fire chiefs.
‘As the Prime Minister has said repeatedly he is in regular contact with the state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers, who manage the response to bushfires,’ the spokesman said.
‘They get every resource they ask for from the federal government including an extra $11m announced just last week for extra waterbombing and firefighting aircraft on top of the annual $15 million the Federal Government already delivers.’
Mr Mullins also slammed statements coming from the government and people in positions of power that arsonists are the reason for these bushfires rather than climate change.
The concept is false, he said. He argues climate change has changed weather conditions and lengthened the bushfire season into both autumn and spring.
Mr Morrison reportedly pre planned a trip away to align with his daughters school holidays (Pictured with his wife, Jenny, daughters Abbey and Lily and his mother Marion)