MP reveals ScoMo’s bushfire ‘mistake’
Liberal MP Andrew Constance has criticised Australia's "scripted" politics and revealed the big mistake Scott Morrison made during the bushfire crisis.
Speaking with Lisa Wilkinson on The Sunday Project, the NSW Minister for Transport and Roads revealed how his views on politics changed after fires tore through his electorate of Bega.
More than 900 homes were lost in the area, with Mr Constance revealing he thought he was "going to die" while defending his own home from a blaze.
"I think the thing out of it, what I've learnt the last couple of weeks is that politics doesn't count in these scenarios, no one cares about it," he said.
He admitted he was "out of touch" as a politician before seeing the impacts of the bushfire crisis first hand.
"Scripted, talking points, advisers, making sure that the messages were this, that and everything else, particularly around transport," he said.
"I was so hated in that role (as Transport Minister) before Christmas, it wasn't my fault why things weren't working but someone's gotta be blamed."
Mr Constance said being alone during the bushfire and not knowing whether he was going to see his wife and children was when his perspective started to change.
He then revealed the "mistake" Prime Minister Scott Morrison made when he visited the fire affected community of Cobargo where bushfires killed three people.
"When the whole blow up in Cobargo happened it just really dawned on me that, that the profession itself in terms of politics is just so wrong in this country," the Liberal MP said.
"I don't wanna be like that anymore."
Mr Morrison received a frosty welcome from the residents of Cobargo when he visited the community in January.
Upon his arrival in town the prime minister was heckled by locals and told he should be "ashamed of himself" and that he's "left the country to burn".
The prime minister was asked by one local woman why "we only had four trucks to defend our town?"
Later the same woman said: "What about the people who are dead now, Mr Prime Minister? What about the people who have nowhere to live?"
Another man said: "Nah you're an idiot mate. You really are."
Another said: "What about people around here. Nobody. No Liberal votes. You're out son. You are out. Goodnight Vienna. Bye. Go on p*** off."
This hostile reception came after Mr Morrison was heavily criticised for taking a family holiday in Hawaii in December during the bushfire crisis.
At the time Mr Constance said he got the "welcome he probably deserved" and revealed he didn't even know Mr Morrison was planning to visit the area.
Speaking to The Sunday Project Mr Constance explained that comment, saying the prime minister "shouldn't have been there".
"He made a mistake and I think deep down he'd know that and I hope he would but he can't go missing again with this recovery either," he said.
Mr Constance also revealed he thinks the Royal Commission into the bushfire crisis is a mistake, claiming it is good for lawyers but "not for the community".
The Liberal politician became teary at times throughout the interview when speaking about the affect the fires have had on him and his family.
On New Year's Eve a bushfire came just metres from his house in Malua Bay that he shares with his wife Jen and her two children.
"It really hit home when Will (Jen's 10-year-old son) the other day said 'now that it's raining, are we safe?'," Mr Constance said.
Jen told Wilkinson that Will revealed he had been scared since the blaze tore through the area.
Mr Constance said he hasn't been able to sleep since the bushfire and that he has started counselling sessions to cope.
He said it was important for the government to provide counselling to fire affected residents.
"We've got people who have just seen too much, been through too much and I don't wanna see that trauma convert into long-term depression and mental illness," Mr Constance said.