Wilkie urges PM to apologise to Tasmanian bushfire victims for fuelling climate fire by throwing taxpayer money at coal

CANBERRA, April 2, 2019 -  Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has used a speech in the House of Representatives to call out Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s logic-defying support of the coal industry and urged the PM to apologise to the victims of the recent Tasmanian bushfires.

The Member for Denison told the House he had met with two survivors who told him that extreme weather events that used to occur once in a generation were now happening every year and having a dramatic impact on regional communities.

“By putting climate wrecking coal before the health and safety of Australians, Scott Morrison is fuelling climate damage. Our leaders have failed to protect us from harm,” Mr Wilkie said.

“Today I’m calling on Scott Morrison to take responsibility – and reach out to the bushfire survivors who are demanding he apologise directly for his climate inaction. If those on the Government benches are not doing everything they can to fight this – then they’re fuelling the fire.”

Mr Wilkie’s intervention comes a day after a TV ad, featuring the bushfire survivors the MP was referring to, aired on Sky News. In the ad the survivors read quotes from climate-wrecking politicians like Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott, whilst surrounded by the fire-scorched forest. The survivors issue an impassioned plea to our current government to address the principal cause of climate change – coal.

In just a few days Greenpeace supporters have raised more than $10,000 to put the ad to air, as well as fly survivors from the Tasmanian bushfires to Parliament to meet with politicians.

Tasmanian bushfire survivor Lauren said she vividly recalls the moment that Scott Morrison brandished a lump of coal in Parliament and laughed as he said, “This is coal! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be scared! It won’t hurt you!”.

“I wonder if he’d say that now. Say it to the families who had to evacuate their homes. Say it to the farmers who’ve lost their livestock. Say it to the thousands of Tasmanians, who were living locked inside a grey cloud while fires burned through December, January and February,” she said.

“He owes us more than this. He owes us an apology. And I don’t mean empty words – politicians are good at that. I mean real action. Saying sorry means you do everything you can to ensure this doesn’t happen again. That you’re doing everything in your power to fight this at the cause. No bandaids. No gestures.”

 

Notes:

Watch Wikie’s speech here

Watch the bushfire survivor video here

 

For interviews:

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422 / [email protected]