“You're not answering what I'm asking." Leigh Sales' heated confrontation with Scott Morrison.

If Scott Morrison was under the illusion he’d be able to question dodge while appearing on ABC’s 7:30 program, he would have got a rude shock last night.

Host Leigh Sales has been praised for grilling the PM on several issues from the economy to the sports grants saga, refusing to take his “politician’s answers”, while challenging him on his responses.

The seasoned journalist opened the heated interview with the very pointed question: “Is the combination of coronavirus and the bushfires going to drive Australia into a recession?”

WATCH: Here’s a snippet of their chat as it heated up. Post continues after video. 

Video via ABC

The Prime Minister responded, “I’m not getting ahead of these issues”. He then added coronavirus was a health issue first and foremost, but that it would of course have economic ramifications that the government would respond to in a “targeted, measured and scalable” way.

But Sales dug her heels in, suggesting the federal government didn’t have a plan for the economy full stop.

“How is it possible that you don’t have an economic centrepiece beyond a slogan for jobs and growth?” she asked him.

“Well, I completely reject that,” Morrison replied.

“Let me run through some of it with you. You have done nothing on IR or superannuation, nothing on GST reform, nothing big on company tax reform, no target for emissions reduction beyond 2030, business leaders feel there is no agenda,” Sales responded.

The interview turned even more heated when the topic turned to emissions reductions.

Leigh Sales has grilled the Prime Minister in a fiery interview on 7:30. Image: ABC.

"I'm not going to put up people's taxes Leigh. If it's business leaders asking me, Labor asking me or you asking me. I am not going to put on a tax to reduce emissions nor am I going to put people's jobs at risk," he replied.

“That is the whole point about the technology plan, it is looking at future technologies,” he added when she pressed him on the fact he had a plan with no goal.

"How can you look at future technologies because they are not invented yet?" she asked.

"When all the states and territories in Australia have committed to a zero emissions target by 2050, when 73 major businesses have agreed to that, when peak business groups are calling for it, when environmentalists and scientists are calling for it. Why is the Federal Government determinedly isolated on it?" Sales asked.

Morrison told her he wasn't going to agree to a target if he couldn't look Australians in the eye and tell them how it was going to be achieved.


Sales then went on to tackle the sports grants scandal, which resulted in the journalist and politician constantly interrupting each other.

The government is accused of ignoring recommendations and doling out $100 million in funding to projects in electorates it needed to win at the last election.

The ABC journalist told Morrison Australia had a major trust issue with him due to his ongoing secrecy, which was only fuelled by the sports scandal.

"Your office exchanged 136 emails with Bridget McKenzie's office, why?" she asked.

"We made representations on the basis of projects that were brought to us," was Morrison's response, to which Sales read out several email topics that were revealed in Senate Estimates, suggesting to the Prime Minister that "to the average Australian that looks like it was worked out for political gain".

Bridget McKenzie
Senator Bridget McKenzie quite cabinet over the sports grants scandal. Image: Tracey Nearmy/Getty.

As Morrison tried to dodge the question, Sales kept asking "Don't you want to get to the bottom of those decisions?" telling him "There's been no transparency around that decision making process".


"I don’t accept the assertion you are putting to me. You are making accusations... like the Labor Party does," he told her.

Sales’ laid out her examples of mistrust moving on from the sports scandal to also include the fact he was on holiday in Hawaii in December, and the secrecy his government displayed around Hillsong pastor Brian Houston's invite to a White House dinner that Morrison attended in the US with President Donald Trump.

"Why all the secrecy on stuff that on the surface doesn't seem that big a deal?" she asked.

"Those things aren’t that big a deal you have spoken about," he responded. "I am focused on the things I took to the local people."

Sales cut in: “You are not answering what I am asking".

"I have disclosed the issues you have referred to. In relation to one of those matters I could have been more candid at the time about it. I wish I was. Frankly it wasn’t a big deal."

Sales has been praised for refusing to back down during the interview, with Twitter celebrating her tenacity.



Feature image: ABC.