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'He needs to step up and take control': Karl Stefanovic slams Scott Morrison over his handling of the bushfire crisis in his Today Show comeback

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 4/01/2020 Alison Bevege
a group of people posing for the camera: Reports began emerging on December 16 that amid widespread bushfires Mr Morrison had taken his family on holiday in Hawaii without making an announcement © Provided by Daily Mail Reports began emerging on December 16 that amid widespread bushfires Mr Morrison had taken his family on holiday in Hawaii without making an announcement

Karl Stefanovic blasted Prime Minister Scott Morrison for failing to lead during the bushfire crisis in his first Today Show comeback speech on Saturday.

In a special bushfire crisis edition of Today, the 45-year-old journalist said Scott Morrison had become a punching bag for people in pain who want answers, or who just something real from him.

'He (Mr Morrison) was elected by the Australian people to lead. But during this crisis over the past month he has shown a lack of ability to lead - to connect with the Australian people who are hurting, and who are grieving,' he said.

Stefanovic said from the public's point of view, the Prime Minister has been lost and meandering.

'He needs to step up and take control,' he said in his editorial piece to camera.

Stefanovic later acknowledged the bushfire crisis is not the fault of the Prime Minister, and that land clearing and hazard reduction would need to be debated.

'But Anthony Albanese is right - we need a national approach to national disasters,' he said.

The Prime Minister has come under fire for being too slow, too dismissive and too defensive in his response to the bushfire crisis as the death toll mounts.

Mr Morrison was roundly criticised for jetting off to Hawaii on holiday just before Christmas as Australia burnt - but the real anger came when he tried to keep it quiet.

a group of people in a room: Mr Morrison was refused a handshake by a despondent firefighter who lost his home while battling bushfires in the south-east of NSW © Provided by Daily Mail Mr Morrison was refused a handshake by a despondent firefighter who lost his home while battling bushfires in the south-east of NSW

A former top firefighter said he and 22 emergency services chiefs were 'fobbed off' by Mr Morrison when they wrote to him, warning of impending bushfires in April. 

Mr Morrison was snubbed on Thursday by a firefighter who had reportedly lost his own home in the blazes. 

The Prime Minister is widely expected to cancel his planned official trips to India and Japan this month due to the rising death toll and mass evacuations as the bushfire emergency continues.

Karl Stefanovic wearing a suit and tie: Stefanovic used his return speech on the Today Show to criticise the Prime Minister's perceived lack of leadership, saying he needed to 'step up' © Provided by Daily Mail Stefanovic used his return speech on the Today Show to criticise the Prime Minister's perceived lack of leadership, saying he needed to 'step up'

Stefanovic said on the Today show that he believes the Prime Minister cannot possibly now go to India. 

Mr Morrison was to visit Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi from January 12 to 16 to discuss closer military ties including signing a logistics deal to fast-track reciprocal access to bases, and technology development co-operation.

On Friday afternoon the Prime Minister said he was 'inclined not to proceed'.     

The nation's southeastern states of New South Wales and Victoria faced forecasts of extreme fire danger on Saturday with gusty winds and temperatures reaching 46C.

As many as 100,000 people were warned to evacuate Victoria on Friday while entire towns in the alpine region of New South Wales have been told to evacuate as they cannot be defended from fire.

Defence force chiefs and emergency services are to brief the national security committee (NSC) of Cabinet on Saturday morning on the escalating national crisis, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Prime Minister's office for comment. 

At Microsoft News Australia we've partnered with the giving platform Benevity to raise funds for Australian Red Cross, St Vincent De Paul Society and The Salvation Army; these organisations are helping communities across the country devastated by bushfires. You can help these organisations by donating here and for the latest news and RFS links visit Bushfire emergency.


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