Western Australian premier Mark McGowan has launched a blistering attack on members of the federal press gallery who followed Anthony Albanese’s election campaign, accusing them of reporting “lies” as well as “bullying” the new prime minister at press conferences.
McGowan, who joined Albanese for several media events in Perth during the six-week campaign, said he was “shocked and appalled” by some in the Canberra-based media pack, who attracted ongoing criticism from Labor supporters and veteran journalists for interjections and combative questioning.
“Screaming and interrupting, and rude, and insulting, intimidating and bullying,” McGowan said at his own press conference in Perth on Monday.
“The sort of thing in a workplace, you’d get sacked for. They need to reflect on their behaviour. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The WA premier also took aim at former defence minister and potential new Liberal leader 彼得·达顿, calling him an “extremist” in terms of his conservatism, and saying “I actually don’t think he’s that smart”.
但我认为对我们的特定方面发表评论或分歧是不尊重的, 谁是 sworn in as Australia’s 31st prime minister on Monday morning, complained about media coverage and the behaviour of certain journalists at several points during the campaign.
Labor and its supporters were critical of what they called “gotcha” questions to Albanese about the unemployment rate and Labor’s NDIS policy, which led to well-documented stumbles as the then opposition leader failed to immediately answer correctly.
In an interview on the ABC’s 7.30 program on Friday, the day before the election, Albanese was critical of some coverage.
“Some of the nonsense that’s gone on from some journalists, thinking that the campaign was about them and gotcha moments, is one of the things that puts people off politics,“ 他说.
In an ABC Melbourne interview that same day, Albanese said “some of the campaign, frankly, has been for some of the journalists, dare I say it, more about them than about information and about policies”.
McGowan joined Albanese for one particularly robust media opportunity at a factory in Perth on the last weekend of the campaign, where the Labor leader came under repeated and loud questioning over his party’s election costings.
Feeling Albanese was avoiding questions, journalists constantly interjected, before the then opposition leader ended the press conference after only a handful of questions.
Several reporters followed Albanese out of the area, voicing further questions. McGowan, left standing at the podium, called the media behaviour “madness”.
在星期一, he reflected further on that encounter.
“Anthony’s trying to answer a question and they’re basically talking over him and being rude, and then muttering and being insulting,” McGowan said.
He also hit out at subsequent reporting that Albanese had “fled” the press conference, calling it “lies” and “lying”.
News Corp newspapers splashed the incident on their front pages, under large headlines including “Flee Circus”.
Toward the end of the campaign, Albanese adopted a new press conference “rule” of ignoring questions from the louder journalists, which irritated some reporters.
McGowan’s Monday press conference also blasted Dutton, who is widely tipped to stand for – and win – a Liberal leadership ballot in the wake of Scott Morrison’s election loss and resignation as leader.
“He’s an extremist, and I don’t think he fits with modern Australia at all,” McGowan said.
“He doesn’t seem to listen, he’s extremely conservative. I actually don’t think he’s that smart. I’ve seen him present on things, I don’t really pick up there’s much there.
“As opposed to Scott Morrison, who’s a clever guy, I don’t pick up that Peter Dutton is fit to be prime minister.”
Guardian Australia has contacted Dutton’s office for comment.
At one of his press conferences with Albanese in Perth last week, McGowan lashed Dutton for his rhetoric about a Chinese spy ship off the coast of WA, calling the then defence minister “the biggest threat to national security”.
“Peter Dutton was the principal one out there talking about war and war footing and conflict and so forth, that’s absolutely crazy,” McGowan said on Monday.
“We’re a country of 25 百万人, China’s a country of 1.4 billion people with nuclear weapons. Why would a mainstream political party be talking about that?
He called for a “reset” to Australia’s diplomatic relationship with China.