'You do this a lot': Health minister's fiery clash with ABC presenter

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Health Minister Greg Hunt engaged in a fiery encounter with ABC Breakfast presenter Michael Rowland after he was pressed on a controversial vaccine tweet featuring the Liberal party logo.

Rowland, who earlier in the week expressed his concerns over the tweet that used the logo on a government announcement about the acquisition of a further 10 million Pfizer doses, called out Mr Hunt on Wednesday morning for a perceived political point-scoring attempt.

“When you welcomed the 10 million doses of Pfizer on your media channels last week, why did you have the need to attach a Liberal Party logo on an Australian Government announcement?” Rowland asked.

As Mr Hunt began his response, Rowland pressed him again to answer the question before the minister responded: “I know you have strong views.”

Michael Rowland and Greg Hunt clashed on Wednesday morning. source: ABC
Michael Rowland and Greg Hunt clashed on Wednesday morning during an interview on the ABC. source: ABC

The veteran journalist disagreed before Mr Hunt said: “I’ll finish if you let me.”

Mr Hunt defended the logo’s appearance, saying there was “no problem” with using it and it was “within the rules”.

“We were elected by the Australian people.”

But an incensed Rowland refused to back down, asking Mr Hunt who had paid for the vaccines.

His persistence ruffled Mr Hunt’s feathers who accused the presenter of a clear affinity to the Labor party.

“I know this is an issue for you. In many ways, you identify with the left, you do this a lot and I respect that... you’re open about that,” he said.

Rowland refuted such a claim, hitting back saying: “I find that offensive.”

But Mr Hunt doubled down on his claims.

“There's nobody who's watching you that don't identify you as the left. You should be open about that.

“It's important for you to be honest about your position and your origins.

“I did predict to people that Michael Rowland would spend 50% of this interview on this topic... I win the bet with my office.”

Mr Hunt’s tweet last week sparked a wave of anger from users, many angry he had associated a tax-payer funded development with the Liberal Party.

And Wednesday’s exchange again prompted an angry reaction online when shared by the ABC on Twitter.

One user called Hunt’s behaviour in the interview “disgusting and offensive”.

“Greg Hunt could not come up with a good explanation why the LNP logo was used so he just goes in to personal attack mode to deflect,” another said.

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