Scott Morrison has attempted some serious damage control today to backpedal on his claims that he never referred to former Senator Sam Dastyari as “Shanghai Sam,” which he absolutely did. Multiple times.
The Australian PM has had a rough as guts week, attending bushfire sites in Queensland while dodging the huge Gladys Liu scandal wherever possible.
ScoMo has been a big fan of Liu since she entered parliament in May, and has defended her amidst the controversy that has surfaced this week. He’s even gone so far as to allude to the idea that her attackers are racist and that this was an insult to the Chinese community as a whole.
But this didn’t sit well with a 10 News reporter who questioned how the Gladys situation could be racist but the PMs own comments about Sam Dastyari are not.
“Prime Minister why was it racist to question Gladys Liu’s connections to China but it wasn’t racist to call Sam Dastyari ‘Shanghai Sam’?”
Former Senator Sam Dastyari resigned in 2017 over his personal ties with Chinese donors and some statements he made about Australia’s involvement in the South China Sea.
Liu is in a similar situation right now after failing to disclose a $40,000 donation, and declaring a separate $25,000 sum three years late.
In true ScoMo fashion, he weaseled his way out of the situation by denying using the phrase “racist” and “Shanghai Sam” when referring to Sam Dastyari.
Well kids, if you’re going to deny saying something racist or stupid, you should probably make sure it’s not in any televised interviews, or on your own Twitter.
According to 10 Daily, ScoMo has used the phrase “Shanghai Sam” a whopping eight times during his time as federal treasurer in 2016. Yes, eight. He was even cautioned by the Speaker for using it during question time back in 2017.
— Jonathan Lea (@JonathanLea10) September 13, 2019
One of those times was in a tweet that’s still online today.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) September 6, 2016
But in an interview with equal flog Ben Fordham, Morrison tried to backtrack on his denial and claim he had misunderstood the question. I mean, it was a difficult one. I wouldn’t expect the man running the whole country to be able to comprehend it.
“Of course I remember saying Shanghai Sam,” he told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.
But Morrison soon tried to clean up the brewing controversy, calling in to 2GB radio to explain the seeming lapse in memory. Speaking to host Ben Fordham — on the very same show where he had actually said ‘Shanghai Sam’ at one stage in 2016 — the PM claimed he had misheard the question
“This is just another one of the silly little games that comes out of Canberra……I was referring to the word racist I heard twice in the question,” ScoMo said.
ScoMo claims he was referring to the word “racist”, but by my calculations, that is one word/phrase, not two. So, something doesn’t quite add up here.
“I was referring to the word racist that I heard twice in the question and I’ve got to say my focus was on the bushfires,” Mr Morrison said. “We were standing in the middle of an oval and your hearing doesn’t always pick up the precise wording of all the questions that comes, that’s not uncommon in circumstances like that.”
Ahh, the only thing better than a PM who name-calls, is a PM who name calls and denies it.
Image: AAP / David Hunt