On Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison went to meet residents of fire-ravaged Cobargo town in New South Wales (NSW). But the residents didn't seem too keen on meeting him. One scene that specifically caught the attention was Prime Minister's awkward interaction with a fire-fighter, who refused to shake his hands and swiftly walked away. In an interview on Friday morning, the Australian leader swiftly brushed off the angry reception, saying that people are hurt.
Scott Morrison's angry bush-fire reception
A footage has appeared of Scott Morrison's Cobargo visit, in which a fire-fighter refuses to shake Prime Minister's hand.
A local fire official, later explained that the man had lost his home, while he defended others' homes.
In other footage shared online, a man blasts Morrison for watching fireworks over Sydney Harbor; while fire ravaged far south, on New Year's eve. "You won't be getting any votes down here, buddy. You're an idiot," the man shouted.
"I don't see Kirribilli burning after the fireworks," he screamed. Kirribilli House is Prime Minister's secondary official residence, from where he watched Sydney Harbor fireworks, on New Year's eve. A woman, who refuses to shake Morrison's hand, when draws his attention towards lack of funds, he walks away, while the woman says, "we need help".
Another woman shouts at the Prime Minister, over neglect. "This is not fair. We're totally forgotten about down here. Every single time this area has a flood or a fire, we get nothing", she says. Another resident shouts: "What about the people who're now dead, Mr. Prime Minister?" and "What about the people who've nowhere to live?".
Australian leader brushes off rough Cobargo reception
In an interview on Friday morning, the Australian leader said, "I know people are angry and they'll often fixate on ... a prime minister or someone else." "People are angry and people are upset ... well, whether they're angry with me or they're angry about the situation – all I know is that they're hurting, and it's my job to be there to try and offer some comfort and support", Guardian reported.
"I know that people are hurting, I know that they are raw, and I know what our job is and it is to work closely with the states to support them and everything that they need and to preempt their requests and ensure that our defence forces and other agencies are ready to go", he further added.
Morrison, who won elections in May, 2018, came under intense ire after he went on vacation at Miami at a time when Australia was grappling through catastrophic bush-fires. 18 people have been reported dead and about 900 homes have been destroyed in NSW alone, in the bush-fires that have ravaged the island nation, since October.