A political war of words between Labor and Scott Morrison has escalated, with Anthony Albanese accusing the prime minister of showing “weakness and opportunism”.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has stepped up Labour’s attack on Scott Morrison after the prime minister came under fire for comments he made about vaccine mandates and moved on from the pandemic.
Morrison sparked a war of words with Labor states on Thursday when he said governments should take a “step back” and stop interfering in people’s lives once vaccination goals have been reached.
He added that the federal government only supported mandatory vaccinations in high-risk environments, such as health and care for the elderly, in a sharp remark against jurisdictions that have introduced broader vaccine mandates.
Sir. Morrison doubled his comments on Friday, saying he had “sympathy for Australians who have had a penchant for governments telling them what to do over the last two years”.
The comments came amid protests over Victoria’s controversial pandemic laws and vaccine mandates.
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Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews accused Mr Morrison of trying to secure the votes of “extremist” protesters through “double speak”.
“The prime minister had an opportunity to be unequivocal in his language and he chose not to do so,” Mr Albanese said on Saturday.
“The Prime Minister had a chance to lead and show strength. Instead, he showed weakness and opportunism.”
Albanese referred to Mr Morrison’s comments in March in which thousands protested against sexual violence, with the Prime Minister saying: “Not far from here, such marches, even now, are met with bullets – but not in this country”.
The March meeting came as Myanmar police fired rubber bullets at protesters protesting against a military coup in the country.
“This is a prime minister who, when women marched against the parliament building, made a statement on the floor in parliament that the march for justice, if it took place in other countries, they may well have been shot,” Albanese said. .
“But at the same time, as people marched against the Victorian parliament, with gallows, explicitly threatening to hang members of parliament and engaging in violent behavior and threats against members of parliament, the prime minister chose to say he understood their frustration.
“What we need in this country is not the entrance to that kind of politics of fear and division.”
Andrews and his family received death threats this week, in which the prime minister was also forced to shout “shocking behavior”, which saw protesters driving around a gallows in front of the parliament building with a copy of him next to it.
Morrison said Friday that he did not tolerate violence, threats or intimidation.
“I condemn completely and utterly and continue to condemn every violence, every threat, every intimidation and every hint that I have not done so, is completely false. I have been fully aware of that question,” Mr Morrison said.
“What I am also very aware of is our national plan. What I am also very aware of is that it is important that governments keep their side of the agreement.
“I have no sympathy for violence. I have no sympathy for intimidation or threats at all. I have urged people not to participate in it, including those who would count themselves in the ranks of the Left.”