Karl Stefanovic has re-ignited the stoush between Victoria’s under siege leader Daniel Andrews and federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton for his ‘cheap shot’ at Peter Dutton when he called on the Labor Premier to ask for more help from the federal Government.
Mr Dutton, the Home Affairs minister, said on Sydney’s 2GB Mr Andrews should ‘swallow his pride’ and ask the federal Government for help.
Mr Andrews response to the comment was ‘If I need something from the Commonwealth, I don’t hesitate to ask and I tell you who I ask.
‘I ask the Prime Minister. I don’t waste my time asking the bloke who he beat in a party-room ballot.’
Peter Dutton famously ignited a leadership challenge against Malcolm Turnbull that toppled the PM, but saw Scott Morrison win the party room ballot and become Prime Minister on August 24, 2018.
Victoria is being ravaged by a wave of coronavirus infections that’s forced Melbourne to re-introduce a second stage-three lockdown. Victoria has had 7,405 infections with 55 dead. On Friday, another 300 new cases were announced.
Stefanovic seemed to pour fuel to the fight on Friday by calling Mr Andrews’ comment a ‘cheap shot’ and a ‘smack down’ when Dutton appeared on the Today Show.
‘That must’ve really cheesed you off yesterday, though, what he said,’ Stefanovic said.
However, Mr Dutton was nonplussed by the comments from the Victorian Premier – and offered a back-handed response to the Today show host.
‘No, look, he is a guy under pressure. I accept that I just want to make sure that we can help him and help his government and ultimately the people of Victoria,’ Mr Dutton said.
‘I think that’s all that’s at play here, and I really genuinely want us to do whatever we can, and I don’t see why Victoria wouldn’t accept that offer of assistance.’
He added it was about getting all the chief medical officers working together so that Victoria could come out the other side of their coronavirus crisis.
Mr Dutton did double down on his beliefs that the Victorian Premier needed to ask for more help.
He said there has been a staggering contrast between how the Andrews Government has handled ‘hotel security’ in quarantine compared to the Queensland and New South Wales Government.
‘All of that speaks for itself. But the concentration now is on making sure that we can help them fix up those problems, and I don’t see why Premier Andrews would hesitate to accept that assistance,’ Mr Dutton said.
‘We have Defence personnel on the ground. That’s now been accepted. I think that’s a good thing because we can help Victoria get through this more quickly than otherwise would be the case.’
However the Federal Deputy Opposition Leader, Richard Marles, disputed the comments put forward by Mr Dutton.
He said there is proof that Premier Andrews has accepted help in the fact he has Defence personnel in his state.
‘I don’t think people want to have a manufactured political stoush. I think we just want to get through this moment,’ Mr Marles said.
‘I mean, we’re all holding our breath to see these numbers come down, but every day where there is a new figure with 4 in front of it is a scary day, and right now we’re just trying to get through this.’