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‘Not how a PM should act’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Malcolm Turnbull has lashed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s handling of Australia’s bushfire crisis, saying he cannot explain why he acted the way he did.

Malcolm Turnbull has hit out at the leadership of Prime Minister Scott Morrison during Australia's bushfire crisis in an extraordinary interview in which he also took aim at the Liberal Party.

Turnbull, who was replaced by Morrison in a 2018 leadership coup, told the BBC he was at a loss to explain why the new Prime Minister approached the national disaster in the way he did.

"I can't explain his conduct, I can't explain why he didn't meet the former fire commissioners who wanted to see him in March last year to talk about the gravity of the threat," Turnbull said.

"Everybody knew we were in a very dry time and as a consequence the fire season was likely to be very bad so, rather than doing what a leader should do and preparing people for that, he downplayed it.

"Then of course (he) chose to go away on holiday in Hawaii at the peak of the crisis.

"I can't explain any of that, it's not consistent with the way in which a prime minister would or should act."

Morrison became the subject of widespread political and public criticism throughout the peak of the bushfire emergency that consumed multiple states, killed dozens of people, tore through millions of hectares of land and wiped out more than a billion wildlife nationally.

He acknowledged that in hindsight he would not have flown to Hawaii given the extent of the disaster but also defended his approach to the bushfires.

"I've been out there on fire grounds and meeting people since September – these fires started in Queensland when I was up there in Canungra meeting those who had been affected," he said in a prickly interview with the ABC earlier this month.

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"There's a variety of responses you get in these events – people are very emotionally raw, people have lost everything and I obviously don't take that personally."

With hundreds of fires raging across the nation, climate change has dominated many conversations around the emergency that has been deemed unprecedented.

Turnbull today also criticised his former party, saying there are MPs who actively deny climate change for political points and claimed it put Australia in bad stead on the international stage.

"How many more coral reefs have to be bleached? How many more million hectares of forest have to be burnt? How many more lives and homes have to be lost before the climate change deniers acknowledge they are wrong?" he told the BBC.

Mattias Cormann, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison.

"If you go to any of the right-wing think tanks or you read the Murdoch press it's just full of climate denialism. It's designed to deflect from the real objective which has to be to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

"The right in the Liberal Party essentially operate like terrorists… Now I'm not suggesting that they use guns and bombs or anything like that, but their approach is one of intimidation.

"And they basically say to the rest of the party… if you don't do what we want, we will blow the show up."

Source: 9News

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