Updated: Jan 12, 2020
In a surprise move none of the pundits saw coming speaks up about climate change, vowing to take action, making this the number one issue of his political career.
“I’ve travelled across the entire country in recent weeks, seeing the devastation of the bush fires, speaking to countless Australians who’ve lost their homes, family, friends, livestock and even their livelihoods,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a packed news conference.
“The one clear message I heard time and again, which cannot be overstated, is the need for climate change to drive the political agenda moving forward, not the other way around.
“That means addressing climate change needs to be our highest priority and I am determined to ensure my government delivers exactly that!”
Morrison acknowledged he was initially slow to act on climate change when he took office, after inheriting decades of similar neglect around climate issues from successive governments that were warned of the risks as far back as the early 1980s.
“I don’t blame people for being angry, I’m angry too,” Morrison confirms. “But the difference is, as Prime Minister, I’m better placed than most to do something about this world-wide catastrophe.
“The buck stops with me and I take full responsibility for my government’s previous complacency. But that ends today,” says Morrison, adding, “Our first order of business remains getting these fires under control and extinguished.
"To that end, I am ordering the immediate implementation of a compensation scheme that ensures all volunteer firefighters will receive full pay for each day they’ve worked tirelessly to put out these fires. The payments will be retrospective, with back pay included to acknowledge the services already provided by our volunteer fire fighters.”
The Prime Minister admits the new compensation scheme will be expensive and will have to be funded by monies originally set aside to get Australia’s budget back into surplus.
The complete turnaround on climate change by the Liberal leader has been applauded by colleagues from across the political spectrum.
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