This week, Sydney continued to choke its way through a haze of bushfire smoke, with the air quality in parts of the city so poor it was officially designated as hazardous. You wouldn’t know any of this from listening to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, though.
Morrison visited Sydney yesterday, but instead of the bushfire crisis, he was in town to talk about his new religious discrimination bill. Even as the smoke set off a fire alarm, trapping him in an office building for half an hour, he didn’t seem all that fussed.
The PM could only keep ducking questions for so long, and today, he finally copped to the fact that our largest city is, indeed, blanketed in smoke right now. Don’t get your hopes up too much, though, as he still doesn’t plan to do anything about it.
Per ABC News reports, Scott Morrison said of the situation in Sydney:
“I know, because I’m a Sydneysider, how unusual it is to see that haze across my city, and I know how distressing that would be, particularly for young people who haven’t seen that before. So that is why I think it is important to have a sense of calm on these matters on the basis of information.”
So there you have it. The last few weeks have seen Sydney’s beloved landmarks disappear behind a smoke haze, its ferry services suspended because of poor visibility, and its beaches stained with ash, but everything’s fine, because ScoMo says so.
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean recently broke ranks with his Liberal party colleagues, saying “no one can deny” that climate change is to blame for the current bushfire crisis.
His remarks came as the NSW state government prepares to introduce new, tougher emissions reductions targets, as the state faces longer and deadlier bushfire seasons.
Morrison, however, told the ABC that the federal government will not take any additional action to reduce emissions, saying:
“We will continue to work to reduce our emissions, as we should. But what we cannot say, what no-one can say, is those programs, of themselves, are in any way directly linked to any fire event.”