Anger is mounting over claims a visit by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to a fire-devastated southern NSW coastal town yesterday afternoon may have been completely staged.
In the video footage released by the Prime Minister’s office, Mr Morrison is seen being rushed and hugged by exhausted Rural Fire Service volunteers in their soot-stained yellow uniforms and families who have lost their homes and businesses wait patiently in line for their chance to shake the PM’s hand (main picture).
One heavily pregnant woman weeps openly as she finally gets her chance to hug Mr Morrison and then thanks him for everything he and the government has done for the whole of Australia in the current crisis, vowing to name her first-born Scott or Scottasina.
She adds her hope that the nation’s coal mines can continue to provide vital export incomes to ensure the looming surplus that only LNP governments can deliver as they continue to fix Labor’s debt and deficit disaster.
The video is said to have been shot in the historic hamlet of Haveago just north of Eden where the voiceover says close to 70 businesses in and near the main street were razed on New Year’s Eve.
By late yesterday, however, mainstream media outlets were scrambling to catch up with a wildfire of its own on social media, with many suggesting the video is a complete fabrication and was in fact shot on a soundstage at Channel 9’s Sydney studios.
In fact, one tweet feed suggests the PM had been seen being welcomed at the 9 studios by Nine Entertainment head honcho Peter Costello early yesterday morning.
Among the reasons being bandied about for the theory the footage is a complete fake include:
The flag on the PM’s Comcar is limp and motionless despite other footage showing Mr Morrison patting down his wind-swept hair as he moves among the firies and residents of Haveago.
The shadows Mr Morrison and his entourage make as they walk along the town’s main street should not exist with the entire region still heavily blanketed with smoke.
Right over in the right-hand corner of one shot supposedly of the remaining wall of a local century-old bakery, a bystander who clearly thought they were out of shot and looks a helluva like Karl Stefanovic can be seen watching proceedings and cradling a coffee mug with the Channel 9 insignia on it.
The town’s former mayor, pictured trying to tongue-kiss one fire victim in a valiant attempt to cheer her up after she loses her pet horses, looks remarkably like actor John Howard from the recent series of Sea Change; and
There is no township of Haveago anywhere in Australia, let alone NSW.
Conspiracy theorists also point to an apparent mixup between firey “actors” with two shouting “You’re the best, ScoMo” at the same time and a supposed resident who has lost her uninsured home stumbling over her lines “Jacinta (sic) Ardern is a pissweak nobody compared with you, ScoMo!”
The sound also appears slightly out of sync in the final scene where the entire township sings “For he’s a jolly good fellow” and gives three rousing cheers as a humbled PM, clearly moved and wiping tears from his eyes, apologises profusely as he reluctantly makes his way back to his car, saying he’d love to stay but he has other towns to visit where he’s badly needed to rebuild shattered morale as any natural-born leader of people would want to do.