Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, has been criticised after reportedly going on holiday while the country battles a bushfire crisis.
Mr Morrison, who as head of Tourism Australia promoted the slogan “where the bloody hell are ya?” in 2006, has been asked the same question this week, with the phrase trending on social media.
On Monday Greens New South Wales MP David Shoebridge asked “Where’s the Prime Minister? We just confirmed with the Deputy PM’s office that he’s acting PM until at least Thursday. Have they noticed the country is on fire?”
He added that he had heard rumours Mr Morrison was in Hawaii.
Mr Morrison’s office confirmed to The New Daily that Nationals leader Michael McCormack would indeed act as Prime Minister until Thursday, but said claims Mr Morrison is holidaying in Hawaii are "wrong".
However, it did not deny the Prime Minister was on holiday.
Meanwhile, late on Tuesday more than 2,300 fire fighters were battling 109 fires in New South Wales alone, 64 of which had not been contained. The entire state is subject to a total fire ban until Saturday.
Queensland is also facing a long-running fire crisis, with authorities evacuating a number of areas on Tuesday.
Medical groups have called on the prime minister and Gladys Berejiklian, the New South Wales premier, to take action to mitigate the high levels of air pollution caused by bushfire smoke, calling the situation “a public health emergency”.
Twenty-two organisations including the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine signed a joint statement calling on the two leaders to take action on climate change to protect people’s health.
Bushfire smoke has led to air pollution levels up to 11 times the "hazardous" level in parts of Sydney and NSW, with air quality in Sydney on some days the equivalent to smoking 30 cigarettes.
National heat records could topple this week as parts of Australia swelter through temperatures approaching 50C. Adelaide is expected to reach a high of 40C on Tuesday and stay in the forties, hitting 44C on Friday.
The end of the week will also bring a forecast top of 41C in Melbourne, and temperatures in Canberra will soar to 43C on Saturday.
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