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In response to Australia’s prime minister jetting off on a Hawaiian holiday as the nation burns, a Melbourne boutique has designed a summer shirt to mark the occasion, with proceeds going to the Rural Fire Service.
Men’s boutique fashion label MR KOYA designs shirts with “a lot of meaning” and each has its own personality and character, one of the company’s three co-founders, Yema, told Yahoo News Australia.
MR KOYA have unveiled their Mahalo ScoMo shirt, which retails for $70, and is available for pre-order on their website now.
“ScoMo’s face really sells it, doesn’t it?” Yema said.
“It [the shirt] stands for a particular cause, a particular meaning and it’s about taking the conversation starter to the next level.”
Scott Morrison’s absence during this dire period has been criticised by many Australians, inspiring hashtags such as “Fire Morrison”, “Not My PM” and bringing back the classic catchphrase, “Where The Bloody Hell Are You”.
While the bushfires are no joke, Yema said ScoMo’s disappearance was “sort of comical”.
“No matter which side of the political aisle you’re on, I think there’s a bit of head scratching,” Yema told Yahoo News Australia.
“Everyone’s wondering, ‘Where the bloody hell are you?’, right? We’re hoping he wasn’t kidnapped or anything.”
Which one would you choose? The clean air of Hawaii or the toxic air of Sydney? Spotted today, Australia’s Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP, departing Sydney for a holiday to Hawaii. True leadership right there. #NSWfires #auspol pic.twitter.com/XHkKny8KN5
— Mark A. Thomson (@MarkAlanThomson) December 15, 2019
While the team at MR KOYA understand there is a bit of frustration out there surrounding Mr Morrison’s holiday, they decided to make something positive and give back to the firies while creating something which is a little bit “tongue-and-cheek”.
“Australia is reeling from an unprecedented bushfire emergency and to rub coal into the wound, the Prime Minister has smirk-bombed his way to Hawaii for a refreshing Mai Tai,” the shirt’s description reads on the MR KOYA website.
“To mark this momentous abrogation of responsibility, MR. KOYA has created the Mahalo ScoMo – an enduring combination of Hawaiian vibes, simpering leadership vacuums, and the colours of an increasingly-combustible Australian summer.”
Yema said he was sure Scott Morrison was a “good human being” and he was hoping the prime minister would actually purchase one of the shirts.
The co-founder has even been asking around trying to find out the PM’s size.
#FireMorrison AUSTRALIA IS BURNING!! wildlife is dying, entire ecosystems are being wiped out, homes are being destroyed and people are DYING!!!! while our prime minister goes oh holiday!! something needs to be done now otherwise it’s going to get worse pic.twitter.com/iwkbQrziQp
— 𝓔𝓶𝓲𝓵𝔂 𝓡𝓸𝓼𝓮 (@livingouterspce) December 16, 2019
This trip to Hawaii is the first Mr Morrison has taken since he travelled to Fiji with his family back in May.
He is due back on Monday and expected to work through the holiday period.
Yema could not tell Yahoo News Australia who exactly MR KOYA is or “what kind of mythical entity he may or not be”.
“I can say he’s currently not in the country, but he’s at least not in Hawaii. His thoughts and prayers go out to all those dealing with the fires at the moment,” he said.
However, Yema could disclose why you won’t be able to grab a shirt before Christmas as MR KOYA is making strides towards a more sustainable model.
“We’re moving to a pre-order model as a business. We’ve never been about that fast fashion, mass production sort of approach,” he said.
The pre-order model also enables MR KOYA to continue to raise money for the RFS.
Mr Morrison’s timing for his holiday became particularly controversial when comments he made nine years ago about the then Victorian Police Commissioner going out for dinner during the Black Saturday fires in 2009 resurfaced.
On ABC’s Q&A, the future prime minister called Christine Nixon’s decision to dine out a “bad judgement call”.
“I think what's most important here gets beyond any one individual, and that is public confidence in how the reconstruction effort is taking place and while the premier may have made his call on Christine, it really is a matter for her to make a judgment whether the controversy surrounding her actions actually, at the end of the day, may well impede the ability of that organisation to get on with the job,” he said.
Ten people were arrested on Thursday in Sydney outside Mr Morrison’s home, including Greens MP David Shoebridge.
The #nswpolice just arrested a woman who's home burnt down in the #NSWfires for peacefully protesting at the #kirribillicampout . Shame @ScottMorrisonMP. #FireMorrison #WheresScotty #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou #StateofEmergency #ClimateChange #ClimateEmergency pic.twitter.com/Gvmeo2wSW9
— Nissa Lee (@NissaLee12) December 19, 2019
Protestors, including students from the School Strike 4 Climate movement, called for the federal government to take action on climate change.
“Our direct message to Scott Morrison is for him to come home. Even though he's entitled to a holiday, it shouldn't be at a time where Australia is in crisis,” Student Ambrose Hayes, one of the organisers, told AAP.
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack suggested the protesters were wasting their time.
“Go and do something productive. Go donate your time to Meals on Wheels or something like that," he told reporters at the Rural Fire Service headquarters in Sydney.
"The fact is, the PM is not there. He's having a well-deserved holiday.”
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