Piers Morgan has accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of his approach to the bushfire crisis, while tennis legend Pat Cash accused Australia’s leader of “having his head in the sand” while the country burns.
The extraordinary exchange took place when liberal MP Craig Kelly appeared in ITV’s Good Morning Britain breakfast program on Monday.
Kelly defended the prime minister after coming under fire for a family trip to Hawaii during the worst fires that Australia has ever experienced.
“You have to understand one thing, our firefighting regime – it’s state-based. We have separate state fire fighting forces, just as we have separate state police, “Kelly said.
Morgan intervened to fire Mr. Morrison for the timing of his vacation, while targeting Mr. Kelly for his “extraordinary” defense of the prime minister.
“The truth is that he was absent when the fires were burning. Scott Morrison thought the correct answer to this fire in Australia was to lie on the beach in Hawaii, “Morgan said.
“And that was a breach of duty as a leader of Australia.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks about Monday’s governments’ bushfire response at a press conference
The host said the crisis was catastrophic and made all the more difficult by politicians who refused to acknowledge the impact of climate change.
“You are facing one of the biggest crises you have ever experienced and there you are, Mr. Kelly, respecting a senior politician who still doesn’t think this has anything to do with a warming planet,” he said.
“Nothing to see, nothing to worry about, because virtually your entire country has been evacuated by fires – it’s very special.”
Tennis legend Pat Cash also appeared on the show and criticized Scott Morrison’s approach to the bushfire crisis
Residents watch as flames burn through the bush on January 4, in Lake Tabourie, NSW
While Kelly continued to deny misconduct on behalf of the country’s leader, Morgan abbreviated the interview.
“We’re going to leave it there, Mr. Kelly. I just have to say wake up. Climate change and global warming are real and Australia is now showing the world how devastating it is, “he said.
“That politicians in Australia still pretend there is no connection is absolutely disgraceful.”
Firefighters have defended lives and property for weeks against the fire. Pictured: two firefighters do what they can to stop the Batlow fire on Saturday
NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said early indications suggest that hundreds of houses were lost over NSW in the Saturday fire
As the fire front approached, the sky was filled with orange flames and thick, gray plumes of smoke
The broadcast then went back to Australian tennis legend Pat Cash, who accused the prime minister of “burying his head in the sand” regarding the crisis.
“His head is in the sand. I’ve seen this happen. The floods and disasters are just the beginning. It could cost a huge amount to America before people realize, “he said.
Cash, who won Wimbledon in 1987, beat Mr. Morrison and blamed the catastrophic damage for his “very, very, slow response” and the fact that he did not call on world leaders for “much needed” help.
He said: “The fires are unprecedented and climate change is undeniable – lives are being lost. Nobody is touched.
“I understand people would be upset”: Mr. Morrison (pictured in Hawaii) acknowledged that he had caused deep pain by leaving the country when fires destroyed the nation
Pictured: Mr. Morrison during a business trip to Fiji in August
“This is mainly due to a very, very slow response to the prime minister who didn’t listen to 20 fire commanders six months ago who warned exactly what is happening now – and yes, it happened.”
Cash said the prime minister has failed the Australian firefighters who have been risking their lives for over two months to get on top of the fire.
‘He is [Mr Morrison] the fire department failed. He was warned that there were not enough gas masks, they are poorly equipped there and the Prime Minister did not go to Donald Trump, “said Mr. Cash.
“Where are these Hercules planes that reduce what we have that can drop tons of water?”
Morgan assured him that he would tweet to the US president later in the day to ask for help.
So far, New Zealand and Canada have both deployed firefighters in Australia to help control the fire.
Miss Tobin interrupted Craig Kelly during a debate – including Australian tennis legend Pat Cash – after arguing with Mr. Kelly that the fires were caused by drought and poor forest management.
Good morning Britain weather presenter Laura Tobin also took offense at Mr Kelly’s statements and called him a “denier of climate change.”
Miss Tobin interrupted Mr. Kelly during his debate with Piers to dispute Mr. Kelly’s comment that the fires were caused by drought and poor forest management.
Kelly said: “You have to look at science, but one of the contributing factors is the fuel tax [flammable materials such as dry wood]. Every committee after bush fire says we should reduce them, but we don’t always do that.
‘Our lifestyle depends on fossil fuels, it can’t be done without this. Some politicians have hijacked the debate to push their ideological wheelbarrow, but what causes a fire? Drought and build-up of fuel taxes. “
Meteorologist Miss Tobin hit back and told Mr. Kelly that Australia has experienced its hottest and driest year ever “with forecast records that go back more than 100 years.”
She said: “We want everyone in the world to lower the global temperature rise by 1.5 ° C, you [Australia] can’t even commit to 2C.
‘You have the second highest carbon emission on earth and you bury your head in the sand. You are not a climate skeptic, you are a climate denier. “
Miss Tobin then corrected Mr. Kelly, who said that Australia had the largest growth in renewable energy sources in the world and told him that it was in fact India.
Kelly, whose constituency is in New South Wales and has been through a lot of devastating hell, then explained that he meant per capita.
The devastating bushfire season in Australia has so far cost the lives of at least 24 people, destroyed more than 1500 homes and burned nearly five million hectares of land.
Authorities also fear that half a billion animals have died in the flames that have been burning through much of the east coast since October.
Meteorologist Miss Tobin told Mr. Kelly that Australia has experienced its hottest and driest year ever “with forecast records that go back more than 100 years”