Scott Morrison Forcing Bushfire Victims To Shake His Hand Is Peak Cringe

This is so hard to watch.

As bushfires continue to ravage major parts of Australia, destroying homes and even taking lives, the tension between the communities affected and Prime Minister Scott Morrison as reached an all-time high.

Credit: AAP Image/Sean Davey)

Footage has emerged of the PM visiting Cobargo, an area located on the South Coast of NSW which was hit by the deadly New Year’s Eve fires that killed local father and son Robert and Patrick Salway. 

At one point, Scott Morrison asks to shake the hand of a local woman who says, “I’m only shaking your hand if you give more funding to our RFS.” In response, the PM forces the woman to shake his hand and then turns his back on her when she continued to ask for his help.

In another part of the video, Morrison is seen attempting to shake the hand of a firefighter, who tells him, “I don’t really want to shake your hand.” The PM is heard saying, “Oh, well. Nice to see you.” Later, he was heard telling an official, “Tell that fella I’m really sorry, I’m sure he’s just tired,” to which an incident controller responds, “No, no, he’s lost a house.”

Morrison was quick to walk away when angry Cobargo residents hurled abuse at him, and he’s receiving just as much sympathy on social media. 

Earlier this week, Scott Morrison copped criticism when he hosted the annual reception for the Australian and New Zealand cricket sides at Kirribilli House and said the fires would happen “against the backdrop of this test match.”

It’s safe to say Morrison’s comments didn’t go down well, with many claiming it’s not an appropriate time to be celebrating cricket in the midst of a bushfire crisis.

Responding to backlash received from Cobargo residents and social media over the hand shake, Morrison told radio station 3AW that he knows “people are angry” with him. “All I know is that they are hurting, and it’s my job to try and offer some comfort and support.”

“That’s my job, I don’t take these things personally, why would I?” he added.

One thing is for certain, and that is with a rising death toll and hundreds of homes and communities lost to these fires, comfort and support doesn’t come in the form of a forced hand shake.

Scott Morrison's Cricket Comment During Bushfires Proves He's Learned Nothing

Meanwhile, Australia is on fire.

As much of Australia continues to deal with the devastation of catastrophic bushfires, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is enjoying a spot of backyard cricket – but it’s his remarks about the game that has really ruffled feathers.

Credit: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi

At the annual reception for the Australian and New Zealand cricket sides at Kirribilli House yesterday, Morrison said the fires would happen “against the backdrop of this test match.”

“Whether they’re started by lightning storms or whatever the cause may be, our firefighters and all of those have come behind them to support them, whether they’re volunteering on the front line or behind the scenes in a great volunteer effort, it is something that will happen against the backdrop of this test match,” he said.

The remains of burnt out buildings are seen along main street in the New South Wales town of Cobargo. Credit: SEAN DAVEY/AFP via Getty Images

“But at the same time Australians will be gathered whether it’s at the SCG or around television sets all around the country and they’ll be inspired by the great feats of our cricketers from both sides of the Tasman and I think they’ll be encouraged by the spirit shown by Australians and the way that people have gone about remembering the terrible things that other Australians are dealing with at the moment.”

It’s safe to say Morrison’s comments didn’t go down well, with many claiming it’s not an appropriate time to be celebrating cricket in the midst of a bushfire crisis.

One user tweeted, “I love cricket, but this is close to insane. Trying to mesh some enjoyable sport with a national disaster is pretty much madness.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the PM has put his foot in it when it comes to cricket and the bushfires. Just a few months ago, Morrison landed himself in hot water when he tweeted, “Going to be a great summer of cricket, and for our firefighters and fire-impacted communities, I’m sure our boys will give them something to cheer for.”

On the NSW South Coast alone, over 380 homes have been lost to the flames and the overall death toll has risen to nine people. Considering this, and the backlash Morrison received for his November tweet, has he learned nothing?

A mural by artist Scott Marsh depicting Prime Minister Scott Morrison on holiday in Hawaii Credit: Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

It’s a particularly troubling time for all Australians and it has never been more important for communities to rally together and support the firefighters and volunteers who are risking their lives on a daily basis to ensure there are no more lives lost. Perhaps it’s something Scott Morrison can keep in mind the next time he wants to chat about cricket. 

What Pope Francis' Lift Of The 'Secrecy' Rule Means For Sex Abuse Victims

This is a historic move.

This week, Pope Francis made a decision that will have a huge impact on the countless sexual abuse cases shrouded in secrecy at the hands of the Catholic Church.

On Tuesday, the Pope issued a declaration abolishing ‘pontifical secrecy’ in the church. It’s a “code of confidentiality” that has been used to silence survivors of sexual abuse, protect pedophiles and even stop authorities from investigating cases. 

Pope Francis. Credit: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images

In lifting the rule, the Vatican decree states that “the person who files the report, the person who alleges to have been harmed and the witnesses shall not be bound by any obligation of silence with regard to matters involving the case.” 

In short, this means that victims will be able to relay information about their sexual abuse claims to police, prosecuters and judges. 

Anne Barrett Doyle, the founder of said in a statement via The New York Times: “For decades, pontifical secrecy has been an obstruction to civil justice, spurring bishops worldwide to thwart prosecutions of abusive priests.” She also called the decision to abolish the rule, “a first step toward decreasing the anti-victim bias of canon law.”

This week, Pope Francis also changed the Catholic Church’s definition of what it considers child pornography, raising the age of a minor to anyone under 18, according to Euronews


It’s not the first time the Pope has attempted to seriously alter the Church’s stance on sexual abuse allegations. Earlier this year, he organised an international summit of bishops which resulted in a new rule that means accused bishops would be thoroughly investigated over sexual abuse claims and coverups, and immediately reported to the Vatican. 

Sexual abuse within the Catholic Church has been widely reported from all corners of the globe, including within Australia. Just a few months ago, Australian cardinal George Pell, who is currently serving six years in prison for the sexual assault of two boys in the 90s, had his appeal against his conviction dismissed. 

George Pell. Credit: WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

The Pope’s decision to abolish pontifical secrecy in the Catholic Church is a historic moment for victims of sexual abuse and their families. It also marks a change in the way the church sees abuse, and while much of the damage has already been done, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

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