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PM faces a hornet's nest as he returns from a week's holiday

Politics

Scott Morrison may have some mopping up to do when he returns from a week-long holiday.

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In the Prime Minister’s absence, his deputy, Nationals Leader Michael McCormack, has had to face two key issues during his daily appearances in front of the media.

McCormack declined to chastise Liberal MP Craig Kelly for spruiking misinformation about COVID-19 and mask-wearing at a time when the Government is about to spend millions of dollars advertising a vaccine.

He also refused to condemn US President Donald Trump for inflaming the US riots on Capitol Hill, instead likening the violence to last year’s Black Lives Matter protests.

A survey by left-leaning think tank the Australia Institute suggests Australians want some clearer answers from Morrison, who is back at work on Monday.

The survey of more than 1000 Australians found over three-quarters believe Morrison has a responsibility to correct a politician who posts misinformation about the pandemic on social media.

“By remaining silent on misinformation spread by members of his own government … the prime minister is putting the health of Australians and the health of our democracy at risk,” the institute’s deputy director Ebony Bennet said.

“Vaccinating the Australian population against COVID-19 will be one of the largest peacetime operations in Australian history and if MPs who spread misinformation like Craig Kelly have the tacit endorsement of the prime minister it will only jeopardise and undermine the success of the public health effort.”

In regards to Trump’s role in the US riots, more than half the respondents say Morrison should condemn the president’s actions.

“The Prime Minister’s lack of condemnation of Trump’s role in the deadly insurrection is a failure to defend the most basic principles of democracy,” Ms Bennett said.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison should join other world leaders including Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau who have criticised or condemned United States President Donald Trump’s role in inciting the insurrection.”

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