Scott Morrison is forced to apologise to Kevin Rudd for falsely claiming the ex-PM was jet-setting around the world and keeping Aussies stuck overseas by claiming quarantine spots – when he has not left Queensland since March
- Scott Morrison has apologised to Kevin Rudd for making a false claim on Monday
- He said Mr Rudd had been travelling in-and-out of Australia amid the pandemic
- Claim was made in a heated question time debate about Aussies stuck abroad
- He has written to the clerk of the House of Representatives correcting the record
Scott Morrison has apologised to Kevin Rudd for falsely claiming he had been freely jet-setting around the world and re-entering the country while tens of thousands of Australians are stuck abroad.
The Prime Minister was quizzed by deputy opposition leader Richard Marles during Parliament question time on Monday over why prominent Australians were allowed to come and go as they please while ordinary citizens are yet to be repatriated.
Mr Males pointed to senior former Liberal politicians Tony Abbott and Alexander Downer who have been able to leave and re-enter Australia ‘multiple times this year’ while ‘stranded Australians haven’t been able to get home once’.
But Mr Morrison hit back: ‘Why would he want to bring personalities into this, Mr Speaker, given that Mr Rudd has done the same thing?’
Scott Morrison has been forced to apologise to Kevin Rudd after falsely claiming he had been travelling in and out of the country while Australians remain stuck overseas amid the pandemic
‘It surprises me. I think this reflects the politics of negativity that has overtaken the opposition at a time when the country’s dealing with one of the biggest crises we have seen,’ he continued.
The incorrect comment quickly caught the attention of Mr Rudd, who in fact had not ever left his home state of Queensland since March, let alone Australia.
Outraged, the former PM jumped on Twitter to set the record straight and demanded an apology.
‘Morrison claimed in the Parliament today that I have obtained exemptions to travel into and out of Australia, taking quarantine places from other Australians,’ he wrote in the statement.
‘This is an utter falsehood. I have not left Australia since returning home from New York in March. I haven’t even left Queensland. The Morrison government’s own records will prove this.’
Mr Rudd said he ran a New York-based thinktank, the Asia Society Policy Institute, and that work typically involved travelling around the world.
‘Despite the difficulty of working remotely across multiple time zones, I have continued to manage my workload from home this year,’ he said.
Kevin Rudd (pictured) took to Twitter to demand an apology after hearing the incorrect comments during Monday’s question time in
‘I am extremely conscious of how rare quarantine places are. Mr Morrison’s suggestion that I have claimed a rare quarantine place for myself, knowing that it would deprive a fellow Australian of the opportunity to be home for Christmas, is insulting.’
‘Morrison has misled Parliament and should apologise.’
The Prime Minister has written to the clerk of the House of Representatives to correct the record and to apologise to Mr Rudd, a spokesman for Mr Morrison told the Guardian.
Mr Morrison had previously suggested all 26,700 Australians stranded overseas who registered before mid-September could be home by Christmas but only 14,000 had returned by November 26.
The number of citizens stuck abroad has since swelled by more than 10,000 after the government capped international arrivals in July in a bid to stem Melbourne’s second Covid-19 wave.
Labor claimed over the weekend that Australians affected were quietly being reclassified to avoid embarrassment after the Morrison government’s pledge to bring them home before the holidays was not met.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade denied altering the statistics.
In the statement (pictured), Mr Rudd pointed out that he in fact had not left the country since March