A senior minister has lightheartedly accused Anthony Albanese of setting up a WhatsApp group to attack Scott Morrison in the media.
A senior government minister has hit back at the conga line of Labor premiers criticising Scott Morrison, lightheartedly saying it’s a co-ordinated WhatsApp attack.
The Prime Minister on Thursday condemned the violent anti-government protests in Victoria over the weekend before suggesting he understood why protesters were angry.
“There are many people who are feeling frustrated,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“It‘s time for governments to step back and for Australians to take their lives back.”
His comments caused a fierce back and forth between the Labor premiers who accused Mr Morrison of “double speak” and “dog whistling”.
“It has taken too long for some to call out this sort of violence,“ Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“They’re sending all sorts of mixed messages and that’s dangerous.”
But Finance Minister Simon Birmingham on Friday dismissed the criticism as nothing more than “grandstanding” by the Labor states.
He accused Anthony Albanese of directing his Labor state colleagues to attack Mr Morrison for his own gain.
“What we’re seeing once more here is … a conga line of Labor premiers, and it comes out and decides that in some sort of co-ordinated way, no doubt a WhatsApp group with Anthony Albanese, they’re all going to go out there and try to create another phony fight with Canberra, grandstand as much as they can, rather than actually just keep the calm focus on sensible policy issues,” he told Sky News.
“It wouldn’t surprise me one iota if this was all simply a co-ordinated federal Labor Party tactic and strategy.”
Asked if he believed Mr Morrison had engaged in “double speak” to win the votes of extreme protesters, Senator Birmingham said “no”.
“And yes, there are places for (vaccine) mandates,” he said.
“Scott Morrison has backed, our government has backed in (mandates) in high-risk settings like aged care, like hospitals.
“You don’t achieve that maximum uptake by dividing Australians by pitting people against one another.
“You achieve it best by ensuring the people understand the real reasons to get vaccinated, which is to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
At a press conference just hours later in Sydney, the opposition leader laughed off Senator Birmingham’s claim.
“He has said that premiers are sitting around on a WhatsApp group trying to calculate coordinated statements on the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison,” Mr Albanese told reporters.
“But the truth is that premiers, whether they be Labor or Liberal, people like Dom Perrottet or Gladys Berejiklian previously, or Steven Marshall for that matter, aren’t sitting around thinking about Scott Morrison.”
Source: News AU