In yet another instalment of the influencer-esque Pfizer shipping drama hounding Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a spokesperson for former PM Kevin Rudd has released a statement clarifying his role in expediting Pfizer shipments to Australia. And yes, the statement is as savage as this ridiculous mess deserves.
“Mr Rudd wrote to Scott Morrison on 30 June to update him on the outcome of a personal conversation with Chairman of Pfizer earlier that day,” the statement read.
“Mr Rudd sought this meeting at the urging of senior Australian business leaders, who were deeply concerned by the government’s failure to lobby Pfizer at its most senior levels as many other world leaders have over recent months.”
Add ‘business leaders giving up on Scott Morrison’s ability to do his job and instead asking Kevin Rudd to talk to Pfizer’ to your 2021 bingo cards, everyone.
Kevin Rudd being Prime Minister again is such a pandemic thing to have happened
— David Milner (@DaveMilbo) July 12, 2021
“Prior to speaking with Dr [Albert] Bourla, Mr Rudd directly notified Mr Morrison and asked if there was anything he could say, or not say, that would benefit Australia’s efforts to accelerate the vaccine rollout. Mr Morrison provided some advice and later thanked Mr Rudd for his letter summarising the conversation,” the statement continues.
“As the letter records, Mr Rudd spoke with Dr Bourl in a personal capacity as a concerned private citizen – not as a representative of the federal government.
“Mr Rudd also indicated that he was not seeking to negotiate on the government’s behalf and any contractual arrangements needed to be made with officials.
“Mr Rudd’s letter is entirely consistent with public statements by Pfizer.
“Mr Rudd has not claimed responsibility for decisions by Pfizer and – as he made clear to Mr Morrison – all negotiating powers rested with the federal government.
The statement ended with this absolutely savage line:
“Mr Rudd would definitely not seek to associate himself with the Australian Government’s comprehensively botched vaccine procurement program.”
I think this just about sums up the Australian public’s sentiments towards this mess, too.
Rudd’s scathing statement comes as the public lauded him for apparent involvement in securing expedited shipping for some much needed Pfizer vaccines – something the government has scrambled to attribute to Morrison and his government.
Still only 40% of aged care work force who've had their first jab, Health Minister Greg Hunt says.
— Shalailah Medhora (@shalailah) July 12, 2021
To catch you up, the Australian public has had to deal with some Federal-level messy drama as Scott Morrison bragged to the press about his government snagging expedited shipping for the Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer responded in a statement that nothing had changed with Australia’s shipments – leaving the Australian public very confused about what was actually happening with our vaccines.
Morrison then said that actually, the vaccines are coming faster, and everyone just doesn’t understand. The ABC’s Patricia Karvelas then said she confirmed with Pfizer that next month’s shipment is set to arrive earlier than initially expected.
Same doses for 2021.
But the August doses come earlier (hopefully)
This is what Pfizer says #vaccinerollout
— Patricia Karvelas (@PatsKarvelas) July 9, 2021
Then, conveniently leaked documents reported by the ABC revealed that Kevin Rudd had a meeting with the head of Pfizer, Dr Albert Bourla, just eight days before the Australian government secured the company’s COVID-19 vaccine. The meeting led people to suggest that maybe it’s actually Rudd we should be thanking for the expedited vaccines.
“I also used the call as an opportunity to ask Dr Bourla [who is a vet] whether there was any possible way, given Pfizer’s current international contractual obligations, to advance the dispatch of significant quantities of the Pfizer vaccine to Australia as early as possible in the third quarter this year,” Rudd told Morrison in the letter leaked to ABC.
The letter goes on to detail his meeting with Pfizer. Morrison then eventually announced that a delivery of 150,000 or so Pfizer doses had been successfully brought forward as NSW COVID cases surge.
“While we were made aware of Mr Rudd’s approach, we are not aware this approach had any impact on the outcome,” a spokesperson for Health Minister Greg Hunt told the ABC while the government stressed Morrison did meet with Pfizer Australia executives.
And now here we are, with Kevin Rudd absolutely eviscerating the government’s botched vaccine rollout. Go off king.