Scott Morrison pledged that the return of rescue flights from India is “looking good” after May 15 amid a savage backlash but he’s warned “spoiled prat” cricketer Michael Slater he doesn’t plan to pick up the phone and call him.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has slammed Slater as a “spoiled prat” this morning over his ongoing sledging of the PM and the flight ban warning he should “get over himself” as he remains stranded in the Maldives.
The national security committee will consider arrangements to lift the flight ban this afternoon and the national cabinet meets on Friday.
The Federal Court is also holding urgent hearings over a legal challenge to the laws on the grounds it’s “unconstitutional” to ban citizens from returning home.
The Prime Minister said he “respected” Mr Slater but was probably a bit busy to take up his offer of a public duel over the policy.
“I understand he’s upset. I understand he’s frustrated,” the Prime Minister told 3AW.
“I understand the deep feeling. But as Prime Minister, I have to make decisions for Australia’s national interests. I have to make sure we keep Australians safe and we can bring Australians safely home.”
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he “respected” Michael Slater. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I understand he’s upset. I understand he’s frustrated,” the PM said. Picture: Evan MorganSource:News Corp Australia
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud attacked Mr Slater over his ongoing sledging of the PM and accusations he has “blood on his hands”. Picture: TodaySource:Supplied
Asked if he had thought of calling Slater, who remains holed up in luxury digs in the Maldives while conducting an online Twitter war with Mr Morrison, the PM said he was a bit busy for that.
“I’ve been a bit focused on actually managing the pandemic itself,” the Prime Minister said.
Earlier Agriculture Minister David Littleproud attacked Mr Slater over his ongoing sledging of the PM and accusations he has “blood on his hands”.
“Michael Slater needs to get over himself,” Mr Littleproud told Channel 9’s Today.
“He is acting like a spoiled prat. No one is underestimating the harrowing impacts on the Indian people, or on the Australians stuck there.
“Michael Slater can sit on the beach and slam us over here in Australia. These are tough decisions and we’re very empathetic with not only Australians there, but also those thousands of Indians that are dying every day.”
Overnight, Mr Slater had another go at the PM accusing him of being heartless over the flight ban.
“How about you take your private jet and come and witness dead bodies on the street,” Slater said on Twitter.
High Commissioner For India and former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell said it was “grim” in New Delhi.
“On an embassy compound it is pretty safe, but outside the walls here in Delhi where we not only had one of the fastest growing rates of infection across India but we have also had that oxygen crisis in hospitals it’s pretty grim,” he told Today.
“It’s been a grim day overnight for India. 412,000 new infections, something like 290 every minute. Of course, regrettably last night almost 4,000 people died.
“I’m an optimist. I’m looking forward to the resumption of flights and looking forward to a concerted effort to reduce the numbers here in India. Certainly that’s what those Australians in India keen to get home would like to see.”
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