ABC host apologises over tense vaccine grilling of health official

·News Reporter
·2-min read

ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland has once again called out Health Minister Greg Hunt for his non-appearance on the show, taking his frustrations out on the deputy chief medical officer.

The veteran journalist apologised to Professor Michael Kidd after a tense grilling on Wednesday morning over the nation's botched Covid-19 vaccine rollout at the hands of the federal government.

Mr Kidd appeared uncomfortable under the rapid-fire questioning, and was interrupted by Rowland at the beginning of the interview.

Rowland went on to press Prof Kidd on why 57 per cent of aged care workers were not vaccinated while suggesting Australians will be "horribly exposed" to the highly-infectious Delta variant for more than two months until significant Pfizer deliveries arrive. 

Michael Rowland (left) Professor Michael Kidd (right).
Michael Rowland went hard on Professor Michael Kidd, a line of questioning he suggested was meant for Health Minister Greg Hunt instead. Source: ABC

Prof Kidd chose to highlight the incoming one million doses this week while he reiterated the importance of the public health orders in place. 

Wrapping up the interview, Rowland apologised to Prof Kidd saying his appearance was only due to their preferred guest being unavailable.

"Apologies for the robust questions. We keep asking the health minister to come on, who is fully accountable for the vaccine rollout but he keeps saying no. Appreciate you stepping up in the interim," Rowland said before a sheepish Prof Kidd reciprocated his thanks.

Rowland and Mr Hunt have a strained relationship which reached boiling point in February after an on-air spat over a Liberal party logo appearing on a tweet providing a vaccine update.

Mr Hunt accused Rowland of aligning with the Opposition and a partisan approach to his coverage, to which Rowland responded by saying he was "offended".

In recent weeks Rowland has repeatedly called out Mr Hunt on the show after multiple enquiries to have him on the show were allegedly knocked back. 

Yahoo News Australia has contacted Mr Hunt's office for comment on Rowland's claims.

Mr Hunt faced questions from the media about the vaccine rollout on Tuesday, telling reporters there were "signs of hope" in Australia's pandemic journey thanks to rising inoculation statistics.

Twitter unrelenting towards Kidd

The altercation was not missed on Twitter, with Prof Kidd coming under fire for deflecting questions on the rollout in a similar fashion to which federal ministers have been accused of.

"Michael Kidd answers Michael Rowland like a politician by completely not answering his actual question and obfuscating," one user wrote.

Another accused him of "filibustering".

"Michael Kidd's tactic this morning is to just keep reciting his talking points to avoid getting another difficult question about the vaccine rollout," another said.

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