How good is not doing much at all? That's the question people all along the eastern seaboard are asking of the Prime Minister and the federal government as monster fires rage and smoke chokes millions of Australians every day.
People whose districts and towns are under threat or have already been ravaged do not want the parliamentary media circus to descend for political photo opportunties.
They want action.
This should certainly be called for what it is: a national emergency. Yet apart from a brief media appearance at a Hawkesbury fire control centre, the Prime Minister seems to be missing in action. Yes, some federal relief has been made available for residents in fire affected areas but people on the ground tell you much more is needed.
Calls for the defence force to be made available have been dismissed by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton as the utterings of armchair experts.
Yet those fighting the fires tell a very different story. In isolated villages on the coast that only narrowly avoided catastrophe because of air assets on the scene, exhauisted volunteers talk as if they have been in combat, saved at the last minute by water bombers.
While most firefighters prefer to talk off the record, Chris Niicholls from Merimbula has not held back. In an impassioned open letter to Scott Morrison, he likens the fire crisis to war with an upredictable enemy.
"There is one more thing that is 'unprecedented'. It's your Government's complete INACTION over the current bushire emergency in Australia. And please don't tell me about the pathetic response so far with more thoughts and prayers from Hillsong. This is a NATIONAL EMERGENCY not a minor weather event," he writes.
"We don't have time for you to sit on your hands and wish us platitudes and cricket news."
Residents in townships cut off for days are seething. They say the silence from Canberra has been deafening.
We can't help wondering if offering, say, army engineering teams to help build containment lines would free up civilian resources. Would having military police help man roadblocks alongside police allow some of those civilian officers to return to normal duties?
What is clear is people want the PM to step up, take action and demonstrate true national leadership.