She said Uniting Church chaplains at the front line of the bushfires had witnessed a high level of anxiety about global warming at evacuation centres.
Mr Morrison, who returned from Hawaii on Saturday to confront the crisis, has rejected any change to the government’s climate change policy in response to the ongoing emergency and denied suggestions of a split within the Coalition after his deputy agreed more action was needed.
In her video message, seen by the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Dr Palmer said: “What affects one part of creation affects all of us.”
She said the church was heeding the pleas of children and young people “for all of us to work together to respond to the environmental devastation that is having tragic consequences” and called for “personal and community actions” to bring “healing and renewal”.
Father Bob Maguire, the former South Melbourne parish priest whose charitable foundation helps feed the city’s poor, agreed, saying it was “common sense”.
Father Bob, who will deliver a sermon on Christmas Eve in the chapel of the Napier Street Aged Care facility, said political leaders should infuse their decisions with more “care, communication, concern, common sense and compassion” – rather than being driven by “marketing”.
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Most Reverend Archbishop Mark Coleridge, also called for action on climate change in his annual Christmas message.
Outspoken Gosford Anglican parish rector the Venerable Rod Bower used his Christmas message to attack the federal government’s religious freedom inquiry as a veiled “endorsement of vilification” to “seduce a small political base”.
“What good is it that the Son of God was born 2000 years ago … when for our own short-term financial gain we sell off our children’s future and smugly watch our planet burn?” Dr Bower said.
Wesley Mission chief executive and reverend Keith Garner said in his Christmas message young people’s voices should be heard – and may provide “hope for our world gone mad”, acknowledging the suffering of those affected by “natural disasters … drought and fire”.
“It can be easy for older generations to dismiss younger ones for their idealism,” Dr Garner said.
“But can I challenge you to take seriously the message we receive from children and young people at Christmas?”
Sydney Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies will lead the Christmas Day service at St Andrew’s Cathedral, delivering the message that “God is with us” through the bushfires and other disasters.
“We all know that climate change is a problem … but I’m not here to say ‘the government should do this or that or whatever’, that’s not my job,” Dr Davies said.
“My job is to actually say, ‘yes, we have a reality of a world which is actually out of kilter with God’ … I’m going to talk about what it means for God be with us and how the promise fulfils itself in the coming of Jesus.”
At the Hillsong Pentecostal church in Sydney’s Hills District, Pastor Brian Houston will also talk about the bushfires and drought.
“The earliest Christmas marked the world’s first meeting of its saviour, and my prayer this Christmas, particularly as our nation faces the devastation of drought and the severe reality of bushfires, is that we would be more aware than ever before of the love, nearness, peace and comfort of Jesus Christ,” Pastor Houston will say.
Anthony Fisher, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, used his Christmas video to compare the abortion laws passed in NSW with King Herod’s “slaughter of the innocents”, as reported in The Sun-Herald.
Dana is health and industrial relations reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Caitlin Fitzsimmons is a senior writer for The Sun-Herald, focusing on social affairs.
Melissa Cunningham is The Age’s health reporter.