In an awkward moment at a press conference with Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds was pushed on whether she had taken a break over Christmas.
“Like many of my colleagues I have certainly spent time with my family over Christmas, but throughout that time I can assure you that I have been regularly on the phone with the prime minister,” Ms Reynolds said.
A reporter presser her on whether she had spent time out of the country.
“I have had a holiday with my family,” came the not-quite answer.
“Yes. Yes it was,” replied Ms Reynolds.
Ms Reynolds’ admission that she was in Bali on holidays comes after Mr Morrison was criticised for his Hawaii get away and NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott landed in hot water for deciding to go to Europe.
Mr Morrison, who returned from his trip early after the deaths of two volunteer firefighters days before Christmas, said he would have “made different decisions” and apologised to Australians were upset by his absence.
Mr Elliott also cut short his holiday after three people were killed on New Years Eve, also conceding he “should have put my RFS family first and foremost given the current conditions (even my own family acknowledge that) and now it’s time to get back to work”.
While not directly involved in firefighting, the Australian Defence Force has been supporting bushfire efforts including evacuating people stranded in the Victorian town of Mallacoota.
Mr Morrison also announced on Saturday that 3000 reservists would be deployed to assist bushfire recovery efforts.