Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he shouldn't have gone to Hawaii

Australia is committed to billions of dollars in recovery

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has been massively criticized by the opposition and environmental organizations for his administration of the bushfires and his posture on climate change, was set to discuss the crisis on Sunday morning on news TV Channel.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, January 5, 2020.

The death raised the toll from Australia's bushfires to at least 27, even as firefighters took advantage of cooler conditions to conduct backburning and strengthen containment lines. "This is obviously affected by the broader changes in climate", he said.

Glen Schlehuber, Tiffany & Co's vice president and managing director for Australia and New Zealand says the company has also donated to support firefighters and wildlife recovery.

The prime minister today acknowledged "adaptation and resilience" would be key to navigating the changing climate, and reiterated the government meant to "meet and beat" its emissions targets.

Per ABC News reports, a key issue for consideration in a royal commission would be the preparedness of states and territories to deal with bushfires.

When asked why he made a decision to holiday overseas instead of in Australia, Morrison said: "The irony of all of this was my original intention was to holiday on the South Coast for two weeks".

Asked whether he was open to moving the existing target, he said: "What I'm saying is we want to reduce emissions and do the best job we possibly can and get better and better and better at it".

He said his government accepted that climate change was leading to longer, hotter and drier summers, despite junior government lawmaker George Christensen posting on social media over the weekend that the cause of the latest fires was arson rather than man-made climate change.

Morrison said that "there are things that I could have handled on the ground much better".

"These are sensitive environments, they are very emotional environments", he said.

Mr Morrison has been criticised heavily for his response to the months-long crisis - which included going on holiday to Hawaii, making a series of gaffes and misleading statements about his government's actions, and forcing angry victims to shake his hand.

SBS understands that a difference between both responses was that the Morrison government enforced a compulsory call out where "all reservists selected must endeavour to participate", which required approval from the governor general.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the bushfires clearly required national leadership.

Twenty-eight people have died and thousands of homes have been lost in the nation's unprecedented fire disaster. The government is providing A$76 million ($52 million) in areas including counseling and healthcare consultations.

While the fire threat is most acute in rural communities, wildfire smoke that has choked some of Australia's largest cities is a reminder to many urban Australians of the unfolding disaster. Thousands of protesters rallied Friday in Sydney and Melbourne, calling for Morrison to be fired and for Australia to take tougher action on global warming. The burnt terrain is more than twice the extent of that ravaged by last year's fires in Brazil, California and Indonesia combined.

How did the Australian fires start?

The fires have emitted 400 megatonnes of carbon dioxide and produced harmful pollutants, the European Union's Copernicus monitoring program said.



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