The Victorian Premier has taken aim at Scott Morrison, accusing him of “cuddling up to extremists” following his comments on the Melbourne protests.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has blasted the Prime Minister, accusing him of “pandering to extremists” following his comments on the protests in Melbourne.
While Mr Andrews initially declined to aim criticism at Scott Morrison during a press conference on Sunday, it wasn’t long before he changed tack.
“On Friday I made some comments about the Prime Minister and the way he’s been conducting himself,” Mr Andrews said.
“I don’t need to add to those comments.
“I don’t speak in double speak. I was very clear.”
He then continued: “The government’s not entitled to double speak. The government’s not entitled to cuddle up to extremists.”
It comes after Mr Morrison condemned the anti-government protests and death threats against Mr Andrews and his family, but also suggested he understood why the protesters were angry.
“There are many people who are feeling frustrated,” Mr Morrison had previously told reporters.
“It’s time for governments to step back and for Australians to take their lives back”.
On Sunday, when asked about what it would take to repair his relationship with Mr Morrison, Mr Andrews said: “When the Prime Minister stops double speaking to extremists our relationship will be a lot better.”
He also took aim at the thousands of people who turned out to protest the lockdowns and mandated vaccinations.
“I see people are protesting against lockdowns. There are no lockdowns because the community didn’t listen to anti-vaxxers,” he said.
Mr Andrews said he wanted to make sure the focus of the day was on all the Victorians who had “made something special”, with the state’s reopening.
“Why would anyone, let alone our national leader, take away from five million Victorians, the credit that belongs to them. We’ve done an amazing thing,” he said.
“And the fact he couldn’t just pause and say well done without pandering to extremists is beyond me.”
He also said the Mr Morrison doesn’t decide policy on matters such as mandated vaccinations and access to venues.
“Oh well, the Prime Minister doesn’t determine those matters,” he said.
“They are matters of state public health law and they are not a matter for the PM, frankly. I would refer him back to his national plan.”
On Friday, Mr Andrews spoke out about the threats of violence issued towards him and his family.
“We have seen extremists, rabid anti-vaxxers and others making all sorts of threats, threats against me, my wife and my kids,” Mr Andrews told Channel 9’s Today program.
“I‘m committed to doing what has to be done. I’m not about chasing, through doublespeak, the votes of extremists or their preferences.”
Mr Andrews also said it “was a bit rich” for the Prime Minister to be lecturing people about freedom.
“We have done the hard yards because there was not a vaccine,” he said.
“If there had been a vaccine earlier, when the virus came from Sydney this year, we would not have needed to lockdown.”