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- New South Wales politician
Two bizarre incidents during NSW's Covid-19 press conference on Thursday have raised eyebrows, with viewers taking to social media to express their anger.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard warned residents he feared the Omicron variant was circulating in the community despite no known transmission to date.
Yet it was his interaction with two journalists that concerned some of those watching on.
Phoning in to the stand up in Coffs Harbour, ABC reporter Danuta Kozaki asked several uninterrupted questions, much to the annoyance of Mr Hazzard.
"Danuta there are a stack of people here who are all just clapping and cheering at all your continuing questions," he said sarcastically, before allowing her one more question.
"Make it good!" he demanded.
After wrapping up his answer in response to her question about booster shots, Kozaki squeezed one final question in to Mr Hazzard's dismay.
After receiving thanks from Kozaki, Mr Hazzard appeared to mock the reporter as she left the call.
"OK thanks Danuta, see ya! Anyone want to give a round of applause for Danuta? No? There was nobody, sorry Danuta! Bye!" he said.
His response was criticised online, with one user calling it "bullying".
"Why is Brad Hazzard behaving so rudely when being asked questions?" another asked.
"Pretty unhinged presser from Brad Hazzard there," one person said.
Others called Mr Hazzard "condescending" and "obnoxious".
"Does Brad Hazzard realise he's using his outside-head voice while he berates this journalist on live tv?" another user asked.
Fellow ABC reporter Tim Fernandez praised his colleague for her persistence in the face of what he called "dismissive and condescending" behaviour.
This isn't the first time I have heard the NSW Health Minister @BradHazzard responding in a dismissive and condescending way to a perfectly valid question related to his portfolio.
Good work @danutakozaki persisting in spite of this behaviour. https://t.co/Z2XzUFvCjH
— Tim Fernandez (@TimFernandezz) December 2, 2021
Reporter's mispronunciation triggers reaction
In a separate incident, Mr Hazzard was left baffled by one reporter's pronunciation of the word apartheid –a descriptive the UN has used to call border closures in the wake of the Omicron variant.
The female reporter's pronunciation sounded like the word apathy, with Mr Hazzard appearing less than impressed with her mistake.
Asking to read the word himself, he corrected the reporter on her mistake.
Pulling a face before smirking, he asked her to repeat the question with the correct pronunciation.
— はいrrod Landells (@JarrodLandells) December 2, 2021
Mr Hazzard has been an ever-present at NSW Covid press conferences throughout the pandemic yet the NSW government has veered away from daily addresses, beginning with former premier Gladys Berejiklian and continued by Premier Dominic Perrottet, as the state begins to live with the virus.
It's not the first time he has been criticised for a Covid update and notably triggered anger in August when he failed to give the daily statistics six minutes into the press conference.
On Thursday, NSW Health confirmed a seventh case of omicron in the state.
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