Scott Morrison clashes with Leigh Sales over Government’s COVID response to aged care

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The Prime Minister has been raked over the coals by the ABC’s 7.30 Report host during a post-Budget appearance on Wednesday night.

You can watch the full interview here.

PM asked why Government failed to prevent 673 deaths

The 18-minute interview – already tense at times – became even more heated when Ms Sales questioned the PM over the Federal Government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreaks in aged care, asking how the Government had managed to “fail so comprehensively to prevent this tragedy?”

Mr Morrison maintained the Commonwealth had provided $1.5 billion in funding for the sector – but was interrupted by Ms Sales who asked why 673 aged care residents has still died.

“If you let me finish,” he said, to which she replied: “As long as you address the question.”

Mr Morrison said he didn’t agree that the Government had failed the sector, comparing the 8% of aged care homes affected in Australia to the UK where 56% of home have had outbreaks.

But the 7.30 host wouldn’t let it go, labelling the deaths a “terrible result” and referring the PM to the Royal Commission’s finding that the Government had put in place “band aid fixes on the run”.

18 aged care reviews in 23 years

Ms Sales also noted the number of reviews into aged care since 1997.

“Time after time we hear of neglect, indifference, malnutrition, festering wounds, a lack of respect for human dignity,” she said bluntly. “Isn’t the only conclusion, a rational person can draw from all of that, is over the years our political leaders have not cared enough about the elderly to stop the buck passing and to somehow end this sustained political neglect?”

Mr Morrison – unsurprisingly – rejected this “very unkind assessment”, pointing to the Government’s billion-dollar annual funding.

“It is a challenging environment and the workforce training is continuing to increase but the challenges continue to raise and we’re committed to respond to that Royal Commission in the aged care inquiry as we said last night and we will do that properly when we get those recommendations,” he said.

It wasn’t the only tough interview for the PM – read on here.


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