Hundreds of people gathered outside Sydney’s Kirribilli House on Thursday morning, urging the government to take greater action on climate change as Scott Morrison holidays overseas during the bushfire season.
Amongst those camped at the front of the prime minister’s residence were parents, children on school holidays, bushfire survivors and health professionals, holding signs that asked the PM: “Where the bloody hell are you?”
Sydney mother Liora Ballin chose to attend the protest because she’s “incredibly concerned” about her children’s future, and is “outraged” that Morrison is overseas.
Hey @ScottMorrisonMP do you wanna maybe come home and help put out the fires, oh and maybe some action on the #climatecrisis would be nice. #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou #FireMorrison #ClimateCrisis pic.twitter.com/mHB6rernt8— School Strike 4 Climate (@StrikeClimate) December 18, 2019
I lost my house in a bushfire and I will not sit in silence while the government does nothing and the country burns. - Fiona, Bushfire Survivor #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou #ThisIsClimateChange #ThisIsNotNormal pic.twitter.com/dE3l2WXP3f— GetUp! (@GetUp) December 18, 2019
Mums Liora and Deanna (also a nurse) speak out about the climate and health impacts of @ScottMorrisonMP's climate inaction, outside his house in Kirribilli. #climatecrisis #bushfirecrisis #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou pic.twitter.com/fUuoTwmpvM— School Strike 4 Climate (@StrikeClimate) December 18, 2019
Where the bloody hell are you Scott Morrison protest in full swing. People from all walks of life here on the PM’s front door step demanding climate action! ✊🏼#WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou #ClimateEmergency #ClimateActionNow pic.twitter.com/E16PdUgeAX— Jane Garcia (@janegarcia) December 18, 2019
“It comes down to the fact I’ve got two young children,” the speech pathologist told HuffPost Australia.
“I’m so incredibly concerned about the impact that climate change is going to have on my children’s lives and really on every child’s life.”
The past 48 hours have seen the hashtag #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou trending on Twitter after it was rumoured that the PM was holidaying in Hawaii.
“The Prime Minister is overseas with his family,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Channel Nine’s “Today” show earlier this week.
“He’s having a well deserved break, and obviously it’s been a very busy year. He’ll be back at work shortly, and then he’ll be off to India, leading a delegation to advance Australia’s interests.”
Fiona and her family lost their home to the #bushfires. There here outside @ScottMorrisonMP's house to ask what he's doing about the #climatecrisis but he's gone on holidays. #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou #ThisIsNotNormal #climatecrisis pic.twitter.com/FYHnnigQtM https://t.co/MeGFMcMolb— 💧Jade & David for a Better Australia (@PerthWAustralia) December 18, 2019
Sydney is choking on bushfire haze. Our Future is On Fire. We need urgent, bold climate action. #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou #ThisIsNotNormal #ClimateEmergency #ClimateActionNow pic.twitter.com/puU5b9YQtf— Jane Garcia (@janegarcia) December 18, 2019
Things are kicking off outside @ScottMorrisonMP's house! Cmon down! 109 Kirribilli Avenue. We'll be here awhile! #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou #FireMorrison #MorrisonFires #ClimateCrisis pic.twitter.com/v9EtkqnrEN— School Strike 4 Climate (@StrikeClimate) December 18, 2019
Only one look at activists’ signs on Thursday told you how fired up they are about Morrison’s absence
“It makes me incredibly angry. I am so outraged,” said Ballin.
“In my lifetime, whenever there has been a national disaster of this scale, we have seen our leaders lead. But I am seeing absolutely no leadership as far as this bushfire crisis goes and the climate emergency goes.
“You cannot as a leader of a country go on holiday when your country is fighting a national disaster of this scale. It shows me there is no leadership and we need it.”
It's burning up at home but @ScottMorrisonMP has fled the country on holidays. What about some action on the #climatecrisis eh?! #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou #FireMorrison #ThisIsNotNormal #NoNewFossilFuels pic.twitter.com/JihjQ8QAnK— School Strike 4 Climate (@StrikeClimate) December 18, 2019
The poorest in our community are the ones who bare the brunt of climate change. They can’t escape the smoke in their houses, they can’t afford the medical help - Dr Kim Loo#WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou #ThisIsClimateChange #ThisIsNotNormal pic.twitter.com/yuoKkg82gy— GetUp! (@GetUp) December 18, 2019
Dr Kim Loo also spoke at the rally, saying the health impacts of the recent bushfire smoke are incredibly concerning, and the upcoming heatwave is only going to make it worse.
“Our hospitals have 10 times more emissions during heatwaves,” said the Western Sydney-based GP.
“We’ve had this crisis with the prolonged smoke, we have no idea how this is impacting our community for months or years.
“I have my patients with asthma and lung function disorders who have been worse,” she said.
“My patients with cardiac failure, my patients on home oxygen can’t wear a mask. I have poor patients who actually don’t have houses where smoke can’t penetrate so they can’t escape the smoke.”
Muruwari and Budjiti man Bruce Shillingworth talks about protecting country, #climatejustice outside Kirribilli house. Not seeing much of that from @ScottMorrisonMP and our Govt. #WhereTheBloodyHellAreYou #FireMorrison #ClimateCrisis #BushfireCrisis pic.twitter.com/cDDQGXnWtC— School Strike 4 Climate (@StrikeClimate) December 18, 2019
A huge rally in front of the PM @ScottMorrisonMP official Sydney residence calling for #ClimateAction as #bushfires #drought #heatwaves and #sydneysmoke tell us the impacts of #climatechange are here. We need #Leadership now! pic.twitter.com/kRIERdRCM5— 350Australia (@350Australia) December 18, 2019
On Wednesday the NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed that 768 homes had been destroyed and a further 296 homes damaged this bushfire season.
The Bureau of Meteorology also stated that Tuesday was “Australia’s hottest day on record” at 40.9 degrees celsius, and that the heatwave is expected to continue in coming days.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a “State of Emergency” on Thursday for the next seven days as the heatwave is expected to worsen.
“A State of Emergency is declared in NSW from today giving Commissioner Fitzsimmons additional powers to deal with the bushfires,” read a statement on the premier’s Twitter account.
“Severe weather conditions are forecast for today and will worsen on Saturday. Listen to warnings and be prepared.”
A State of Emergency is declared in NSW from today giving Commissioner Fitzsimmons additional powers to deal with the bushfires. Severe weather conditions are forecast for today and will worsen on Saturday. Listen to warnings and be prepared. #NSWfires pic.twitter.com/iIqfFpIQIW— Gladys Berejiklian (@GladysB) December 18, 2019
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.