Scott Morrison – Scott Morrison grilled by John Laws
Scott Morrison has been taken to task by veteran radio presenter John Laws over rogue Liberal MP Craig Kelly’s coronavirus comments.
Speaking to Laws on his 2SM program on Monday, the Prime Minister was accused of “avoiding the question” about Mr Kelly in a testy back-and-forth.
Mr Morrison was last week forced to read the Riot Act to the Sydney MP, who has been accused of undermining confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine, questioning public health measures and touting non-approved treatments for the virus.
“It’s always good to hear what you’ve got to say – you’re the boss, and Australians care about what you say, they don’t care too much about what Craig Kelly says,” Laws said at the start of the interview. “What your thoughts on Craig Kelly?”
Mr Morrison replied, “Well, we dealt with that last week. I think that got enough oxygen last week.”
Laws hit back, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. It didn’t get oxygen here.”
Mr Morrison said he didn’t know about Laws’ program but it did “in many other places, so I think we should stick with that”.
Laws said, “In other words, you’re avoiding the question, Prime Minister. That’s very unlike you.”
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The PM denied he was trying to change the subject.
“No, I’m just saying, John, I think, you know, it’s very important that we focus on the facts,” he said.
“That’s what the Government is doing. And I took some action on that last week and we focused on getting this vaccine rollout and it is exactly as you say, I continue to encourage Australians through the information we’re getting out there, the medical advice that we’re receiving.”
He continued, “I mean, we’re seeing already some really good results coming out of places like Israel where there’s been, you know, they’ve been able to move very quickly across the whole population. We’re seeing some good results there.”
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Mr Morrison said that was “promising news, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves”.
“We’ve been preparing and planning for this inoculation of the country now for some time, getting everything from the vaccination certificates worked out and how that will be delivered, working with the GPs and the pharmacists and the hospitals and the states,” he said.
“So we’re getting ready to go and it won’t be long now.”
Laws noted the PM had “got me right off Craig Kelly”.
“You’re a master at it,” he said.
“Listen, you’re very clever, you know, 10 out of 10, that’s very good because you weren’t going to let it get on with the Craig Kelly thing. That’s very clever. Good on you, Prime Minister.”
Mr Morrison said, “It’s important to get the information right, John.”
Laws said, “That’s true. That’s very, very important.”
But Laws pressed on, raising comments by Mr Kelly on Facebook on Sunday again touting the drug ivermectin as an effective COVID-19 treatment, contradicting the country’s chief medical officer.
“For avoidance of doubt, for those unable to grasp the science and that emotionally argue against ivermectin – supporting medical experts’ right to discuss treatment with ivermectin is not anti-vax,” Mr Kelly said in the post.
Speaking to the PM, Laws said Mr Kelly had “gone on Facebook again about, after reportedly you reprimanded him for his spruiking bogus theories about the treatment of COVID-19”.
“He’s gone back onto Facebook?” he asked.
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Mr Morrison said the MP was “not talking about vaccinations, he’s talking about other treatments, but the chief medical officer’s advice to me is clear and only treatments that are approved should be used”.
Laws asked Mr Morrison whether platforms like Facebook and Twitter could be damaging to the vaccine rollout.
“Well, they can also be used to help it and (push) the official government sources information out there,” the PM said, adding it was “important that people only go to the official government sources of the medical advice regarding these things”.
“Every man and his dog can have an opinion, but what matters is those who have accountability of those opinions,” he said.
“And that’s the chief medical officer, the secretary of the Health Department, that’s the head of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Professor Skerritt. These are people who have the trust and responsibility of getting these calls right and that’s why we listen to them.”