Greens MP uses deadly fires to preach about climate change
Greens MP Adam Bandt has been accused of politicising the bushfire tragedy gripping NSW and Queensland, after declaring "more lives will be lost" unless urgent steps are taken to bring the "climate emergency under control".
In a tweet on Saturday afternoon, the Melbourne MP and Greens spokesman for climate change said he was "deeply saddened by the loss of life" but added "words and concern are not enough."
"The PM does not have the climate emergency under control," he wrote to his 180,700 followers.
"Unless we lead a global effort to quit coal & cut pollution, more lives will be lost."
The timing of the Tweet was met with a torrent of criticism, with dozens of replies accusing Mr Bandt of "politicising" the day's events, in which three people were found dead as a result of the fires.
"Well done on turning a tragedy into your political agenda in the space of one tweet," one follower wrote. "Might be more ideal to keep the political messages and messages of support and condolence separate."
Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison declined to address questions on whether this year's unprecedented fires were linked to global warming.
"My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families, the firefighters who are fighting the fires (and) the response effort that has to be delivered," Mr Morrison said.
Glen Innes Severn Council mayor Carol Sparks, whose home was severely damaged in Saturday's fires, described Mr Morrison's comments as "unbelievable".
"Why isn't (the PM) saying 'yes it is climate change'? Why isn't he saying 'we will do all we can to help'? He is our leader. He should know better," the Greens councillor said.
"It's climate change, there's no doubt about. It's becoming more and more obvious surely."
The backlash comes after agriculture minister, Bridget McKenzie, last month rebuked Greens senator Richard Di Natale for "politicising bushfires affecting landholders, homes, environmental assets and farmers in communities in Queensland and north-east NSW".
Mr Di Natale had used question time to suggest the Coalition was dismissing the concerns of more than 20 senior emergency services chiefs who have warned of climate change's contribution to fires.
Mr Bandt had not responded to any of the 266 comments made to his tweet last night.