Australia PM slumps in polls amid bushfire anger

The organisers are expecting as many as 20,000 people

Morrison said he was considering holding a wide-ranging national inquiry into the bushfires after the immediate crisis passed.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seen visiting an army water purification station at Kingscote Jetty on Kangaroo Island.

A royal commission into Australia's devastating bushfires will look at the impact of climate change, the operational response at a state and local level and the role of the federal government.

SBS understands that a difference between both responses was that the Morrison government enforced a compulsory call out where "all reservists selected must endeavour to participate", which required approval from the governor general.

A firefighter was killed by a falling tree while battling the Australian wildfire crisis overnight and the prime minister on Sunday said his government was adapting and building resilience to the fire danger posed by climate change.

Dr Holmes said: "This isn't just about cyclical drought which politicians like to use to normalise the current situation ("we have always had droughts"), but about the fact that southern and inland areas of Australia are becoming much drier in a way that is overwhelming typical variability".

"I think Australians have a very reasonable expectation that any commission of inquiry, royal commission, would need to cover the full gamut of issues", he said.

Morrison has come under attack for being slow to respond to an unprecedented crisis, even taking a family holiday to Hawaii while fires were burning, and acknowledged yesterday he had made some mistakes.

He also revealed that he plans to introduce a new policy which could strike a balance between Australia's national economic interest and social interest. He added that he would take the proposal through the cabinet but it must be done with consultations with states and territories.

This comes as reports say 2 fires on the border of the states of New South Wales and Victoria merged into a single massive blaze on Saturday.


Image: A firefighter keeps an eye on a controlled fire as they work at building a containment line at a wildfire near Bodalla, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020.

He also repeatedly stated that Australia was doing more than enough to meet its emission reduction targets, prompting a series of large-scale street protests. More than 2,000 homes have been destroyed in the state.

The government said on Sunday more mental health support services will be provided to firefighters, emergency personnel, individuals and communities. The fires have claimed 28 lives and destroyed almost 2,000 homes as well as millions of acres of pasture and wildlife. A part of Australia, larger than Denmark, is under fire.

Australia's wildfires have dwarfed other recent catastrophic blazes, with its burnt terrain more than twice the extent of that ravaged by 2019 fires in Brazil, California, and Indonesia combined.

Westpac estimated total bushfire losses to date at about 3.4 billion USA dollars higher than the 2009 bushfires in Victoria.

How did the Australian fires start?

The fires have emitted 400 megatons of carbon dioxide and produced harmful pollutants, the European Union's Copernicus monitoring program said.

Morrison has pledged 1.4 billion USA dollars to a newly created National Bushfire Recovery Agency.

Smoke has drifted across the Pacific, affecting cities in South America, and may have reached the Antarctic, the United Nations' World Meteorological Organisation said.

About 100 firefighters from the United States and Canada are helping, with another 140 expected in coming weeks.

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