Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called out current Prime Minister Scott Morrison for implying in parliament that he’s been jet-setting, thus taking up precious hotel quarantine spots from Aussies stranded overseas. The reality is that Rudd hasn’t actually left the country since March.
On Monday afternoon, Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles asked the PM why people like Tony Abbott and Alexander Downer have been able to pop in and out of Australia while there’s still well over 30,000 Aussies stranded overseas.
Instead of just answering the question, Morrison said: “Why would [Marles] want to bring personalities into this […] given that Mr Rudd has done the same thing.”
On Twitter, Rudd claimed this whole response as “an utter falsehood”.
“I have not left Australia since returning home from New York in March,” he said.
“I haven’t even left Queensland. The Morrison Government’s own records prove this.”
Morrison claimed in the parliament today that I have obtained exemptions to travel in and out of Australia, taking quarantine places from other Australians. That is an utter falsehood. I haven't left Queensland since March. Morrison has misled the parliament & he should apologise pic.twitter.com/O7x6l3Q3qq— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) December 7, 2020
Now Rudd’s calling on the Prime Minister to apologise for misleading the parliament.
“Morrison’s suggestion that I have claimed a rare quarantine place for myself, knowing that it would deprive a fellow Australian of the rare opportunity to be home for Christmas, is insulting,” he said.
If we look at the names mentioned in parliament, Tony Abbott has left Australia twice since lockdown started, and even attended a mass held by Cardinal George Pell in Rome.
Rudd, meanwhile, has actually been working from home, despite running the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York City. Seems like Zoom is good for some people, but not for others.
Interestingly, Morrison’s jab at Rudd also comes at a time when his own government is paying for former Finance Minister Mathias Cormann to jet around Europe and Asia. His use of an Aussie airforce jet is costing taxpayers $4,300 per hour.
Deflecting a tricky in question in parliament is a tried-and-tested tactic. But doing so with false information just makes you look even worse.
It’s unlikely Rudd will get his apology to the parliament anytime soon, given that it’s the parliament’s last sitting week for the year. Still, it can’t hurt to ask.