politics

4 moments you missed from Scott Morrison's explosive National Press Club grilling.

Oh My Awkward. 

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison sidled up to the lecturn at the National Press Club and kicked off the political year with a televised address, after which he was absolutely decimated by journalist questions in a live Q&A. 

You might have seen a few headlines from that event popping up on your news feeds, but we've collated them all here so you have a one stop shop.

It's an election year, which means ScoMo's job is up for grabs. So it's no surprise that the questions have ramped up that extra level as we wait for the much anticipated date we head to the polls. 

But woah. It was a rough day in the office for Mr Morrison.

Here are the four moments we can't look away from:

1. The Gladys Berejiklian texts. 

The most scandalous revelation from the Press Club event was levelled at the Prime Minister by journalist Peter van Onselen, who told ScoMo he was in possession of private text messages between former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and an unnamed Liberal cabinet minister. 

(We've since found out it was a federal cabinet minister).

In one text, Berejiklian reportedly described Morrison as "a horrible, horrible person" who she "did not trust" and who was "more concerned with politics than people".

The unnamed cabinet minister then reportedly called the PM a "fraud" and a "complete psycho".

This was Scott Morrison's reaction:

Later, Berejiklian issued a statement that said she had, "no recollection of such messages."

"Let me reiterate my very strong support for Prime Minister Morrison and all he is doing for our nation during these very challenging times.

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"I also strongly believe he is the best person to lead our nation for years to come," she said.

It was all just so... cringe.

Were those text messages really in the public interest? Questionable. 

Speaking to the Today Show on Wednesday morning, Morrison told Allison Langdon, "There was no context to it... it was done for sensationalist purposes."

2. Brittany Higgins "found herself" in a situation.

Scott Morrison doesn't have a track record when it comes to talking about... women. 

Remember when Brittany Higgins' allegations first came to light and Morrison told us that his wife Jenny had given him the context of "what would you want to happen if it were our girls?" for him to really... get it?

READ: Scott Morrison responded to Brittany Higgins' allegations "as a father". Why not as a person?

Yeah. It kinda happened again when he attempted to sing his government's praises for making federal parliament a "safer place" since the alleged rape of Higgins in a minister's office.

He pointed to an independent complaints mechanism set up last year and mandatory sexual harassment training which had been implemented for coalition ministers and staffers.

But then he said this: "It provides an environment should, God forbid, that ever happen to anyone ever again, that they will find a situation very different to the one Ms Higgins found herself in."

He was rightly called out by Brittany herself for his victim-blaming phrasing...

3. The mysterious price of bread, milk, and rapid antigen tests.

The topic of cost of living came up... and oh boy.

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Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell asked Morrison whether he knew the price of a loaf of bread, a litre of petrol, and a rapid antigen test.

This was ScoMo's response: "I'm not going to pretend to you that I go out each day and I buy a loaf of bread and I buy a litre of milk, I am not going to pretend to you that I do that. I'll leave those sort of things to you, mate."

Clennell asked as a way of questioning whether the Prime Minister had lost touch with 'ordinary Australians.'

But the PM said he wasn't interested in "gotcha" moments from journalists. 

As Clennell pointed out later on Sky, "You should know petrol and the price of rapid antigens off by heart... because they’re big issues at the moment. It was a real misstep in my book."

4. An apology for being "too optimistic."

The ABC’s Laura Tingle asked if he'd like to "take this opportunity to actually say sorry for the mistakes you’ve made as prime minister". 

He did apologise... kinda. Here's how he tackled the question: 

"We're all terribly sorry for what this pandemic has done to the world and to this country. These are the times in which we live... and I think as we went into the summer, I think we were too optimistic, perhaps, and we could have communicated more clearly about the risks and challenges that we still faced," he said.

"Now I'll take my fair share of the criticism and the blame. I haven't got everything right... there's been no guidebook, and you have to make decisions in real time."

You can keep up to date with Gemma Bath's articles here, or follow her on Instagram, @gembath.

Feature Image: Rohan Thomson/Getty/Mamamia.

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