"I would not have taken that trip." What we learnt from Scott Morrison's ABC interview.

— With AAP.

Amid Australia’s unprecedented and ongoing bushfire crisis, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has addressed his response to the crisis in a new interview with ABC Insiders host David Speers.

On Sunday, Morrison sat down with the journalist to address the criticism he faced over his holiday to Hawaii during the bushfire crisis.

During the 30-minute interview, the Prime Minister also acknowledged the role of climate change in the harsh conditions, signalling that the Coalition’s climate change policy could “evolve” as a result.

Here are some of the key things we learnt from Scott Morrison’s ABC interview.

He wouldn’t have travelled to Hawaii.

In late December, Prime Minister faced considerable criticism after holidaying in Hawaii while much of Australia burned.

The criticism, which was echoed by international publications and even celebrities, eventually led the Liberal leader to cut his family holiday short.

Speaking to Speers, Morrison addressed the criticism he faced over the Hawaii trip.

“In hindsight, I would not have taken that trip knowing what I know now,” he said.

“One of the great difficulties in any job, as you know, David, is balancing your work and family responsibilities. It had been a very busy year,” he continued.

“I’d made a promise to my kids and we’d taken forward that break, as I explained when I came back and I thought I was very up-front about my contrition on that.”

scott morrison press conference
Scott Morrison also addressed his Hawaii holiday in a press conference in Sydney in December. Image: Twitter.

Morrison also addressed the criticism he faced for not announcing the overseas trip.

"I texted Anthony Albanese on my way out the door so I wasn't secretive about it... I've followed the same practice on two other occasions," he said.

"The office won't do that again. You learn from these things."

He was initially meant to travel to the NSW South Coast.

It was previously reported that Morrison's Hawaii trip was planned just six weeks before he travelled there.

Speaking to Speers, Morrison shared that he originally planned to travel to the NSW South Coast – but his plans were changed at the last minute.

"The irony of all of this was my original intention was to holiday on the South Coast for two weeks," he said.

"I had to change that arrangement because I was supposed to be on my way to India for that visit to see Narenda Modi, the Prime Minister, and then [Japan] Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe," he continued.

"It was a very unfortunate series of events."

There are things he could have handled "much better".

Residents from fire-stricken Cobargo in Victoria shared their disdain at Scott Morrison's visit. Image: Nine.

After visiting fire affected communities, footage emerged of locals and firefighters refusing to shake the Prime Minister's hand.

Speaking to Speers, the Liberal leader admitted that there are things he could have handled "much better".

"There are things I could have handled on the ground much better," he admitted.

"These are sensitive, emotional environments. Prime Ministers are flesh and blood too in how they engage with these people," he added.

"When I went there I went there in good faith, with Jenny on occasions, to provide what consolation I could.

"They're in very strained environments... you would do things different and learn from every event but the important thing is the actions we have taken."

He will propose a royal commission.

Morrison shared that he plans to take a proposal for a bushfires royal commission to Cabinet in the next few weeks.

The royal commission will look at the impact of climate change, the role of the federal government in the bushfires, as well as the operational disaster response at a state and local level.

Mamamia's daily news podcast, The Quicky, identify the misinformation doing the rounds about the current Australian bushfire crisis. Post continues below.

The Coalition's climate policy could change.

In the interview, Morrison accepted that climate change is driving longer, hotter and drier summer seasons and the government's emissions targets need to "evolve".

The Prime Minister has previously faced criticism for lacking ambition to cut Australia's emissions.

Australia has pledged to cut emissions by 26 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, under the Paris Agreement.

On Sunday, Morrison shared his intention to "continue to evolve our policies to meet our targets and to beat them".

"We are going to continue to evolve our policy in this area to reduce emissions even further and we are going to do it without a carbon tax, without putting up electricity prices and without shutting down traditional industries," he told the ABC.


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

"I want to do that with a balanced policy, which recognises Australia's broader national economic interests and social interest," he added.

It was the "first time ever" that the ADF had been called out.

In the interview, Morrison said the scale of the bushfires were "unprecedented", leading to the involvement of the Australian Defence Force.

"That was the first time, ever, that there has been a call-out of our reservists to respond to a disaster to the best of our knowledge. That is an unprecedented action of a Commonwealth Government," he said.

After the interview, however, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pointed out that the ADF were called in over the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009.

"Morrison claimed today this is the first time defence reserves have been deployed to respond to bushfires, and that federal governments haven't previously taken a lead role in bushfire emergencies," Rudd wrote on Twitter.

"The history of Black Saturday 2009 shows this is simply not true."

Feature Image: YouTube/ABC.

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