Today Show Sylvia Jeffreys has clashed with an Australian senator who defended the acting Prime Minister after he compared the raid on US Capitol by Donald Trump supporters to Black Lives Matter protests.
Michael McCormack came under fire on Tuesday for saying ‘all lives matter’ as he refused to apologise for comparing last week’s riot at the US Capitol with the protests last year.
He described Trump supporters’ actions as ‘unfortunate’ and ‘similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year’.
He was also refused to denounce Coalition colleagues George Christensen and Craig Kelly for spreading dangerous coronavirus misinformation.
Federal senator and former cabinet minister Matt Canavan was quick to defend Mr McCormack when he was grilled on the Today show on Wednesday.
The Nationals senator said he agreed with Mr McCormack, which sparked a heated exchange with Jeffreys on live breakfast television.
Today Show host Sylvia Jeffreys (right) clashed with federal senator Matt Canavan (right) on Wednesday morning as he defended the acting prime minister
‘I thought he had a great day as he spoke common sense and you get criticism these days for speaking common sense,’ the senator told the program.
‘Michael was right to condemn all types of violence.’
‘To undermine the Black Lives Matter movement by saying “all lives matter”?’ a stunned Jeffreys interrupted.
‘Absolutely,’ Senator Canavan replied.
‘The Black Lives Matter movement has been responsible for untold amounts of damage.’
He was interrupted again by a fired-up Jeffreys as the pair began talking over one another.
Senator Canavan described 90-95 per cent of Trump supporters who raided the US Capitol last week as peaceful. Pictured are Trump supporters at the US Capitol last week
‘Ninety-five per cent of Black Lives Matters protests were peaceful, you’re saying you didn’t see a difference between the BLM protests and a siege on the Capitol building in Washington?’
Senator Canavan hit back, claiming ’90 to 95 per cent’ of attendees at last week’s Trump rally were peaceful as well.
‘That doesn’t mean they should be criticised like the BLM movement, who have failed to reign in their own supporters.’
‘Violence continues in the US. The Portland (Oregon) federal court house was stormed like the US Capitol by Antifa groups. That’s got to be called out and Michael was right to do that.’
Jeffreys repeatedly tried to ask a question as the senator continued talking over her.
Sylvia and the senator clashed over Michael McCormack’s comments comparing last week’s raid on the US Capitol with the Black Lives Matters protests (pictured in Washington last June)
‘What about when that different view is a conspiracy theory that undermines the health professionals that are leading us through a pandemic in this country?’ Jeffreys asked when she was able to speak.
‘You say to trust the experts. The Prime Minister says to trust the experts but it seems not even some member of your own team trust the experts,’ she said
Senator Canavan also came under fire from journalist Sarrah Le Marquand during the segment.
Jeffreys eventually wrapped up the interview but not without having the final word.
‘We didn’t get to Michael McCormack’s use of the term “contentious facts” which summed up his performance yesterday, in my personal opinion,’ Jeffreys concluded.
‘It is a reflection of where we’re at at a country right now. That summarises how people are feeling around the world as well.’
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack (pictured on Tuesday) has come under heavy fire on Tuesday for saying ‘all lives matter’ as he refused to apologise for comparing last week’s raid on the US Capitol with Black Lives Matter protests
Acting prime minister McCormack also came under fire for refusing to censure rogue MPs Craig Kelly and George Christensen for spreading misinformation.
The conservative backbenchers have used Facebook to share conspiracy theories about controversial unproven coronavirus treatments.
Mr Christensen has also pushed conspiracy theories and unproven treatments throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr McCormack said people who didn’t like Mr Christensen’s social media posts should ‘toughen up’.
‘You might look out there and say the sky is blue and I can see from here that it’s grey. If we go out from this rotunda there are probably blue patches,’ the acting prime minister said.
Jeffereys also pushed Senator Canavan to condemn Mr Kelly and Mr Christensen, but he held the party line and refused to do so.
The federal opposition demanded senior cabinet figures condemn the coalition duo who are refusing to take a backward step.
Opposition health spokesman Chris Bowen said Mr Kelly had made a systemic and deliberate attempt to undermine medical health professionals.
‘Craig Kelly is a menace and at every turn, Scott Morrison and now Michael McCormack, acting prime minister, have failed to call him out,’ he said on Monday.
Australia’s acting PM shocks with THREE very non-PC remarks in just 48 hours in the job – including an ‘outrageous’ comment that’s set to spark fury from our closest ally
Michael McCormack has been heavily criticised for saying ‘all lives matter’
By Charlie Moore, political reporter for Daily Mail Australia
Michael McCormack has been heavily criticised for saying ‘all lives matter’ as he refused to apologise for comparing last week’s raid on the US Capitol with Black Lives Matter protests last year.
The acting prime minister, who is filling in while Scott Morrison takes a week of leave, came under fire on Monday for saying President Donald Trump should not be banned from Twitter and Facebook for inciting violence.
He said Trump supporters’ raid on the Capitol as politicians met to affirm Joe Biden’s election win was ‘unfortunate’ and ‘similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year’.
Human Rights group Amnesty International said comparing a violent raid on the Capitol that killed five to the mostly peaceful Black Lives Matter movement was ‘deeply offensive’ and asked Mr McCormack to withdraw the comment.
But the acting Prime Minister refused to apologise and sparked further outrage by saying the controversial phrase ‘all lives matter’, which is used by far right groups to diminish the struggles faced by black and Indigenous communities.
‘I appreciate that there are a lot of people out there who are being a bit bleeding heart about this and who are confecting outrage, but they should know those lives matter too. All lives matter. People shouldn’t have to go to a protest and lose their lives,’ Mr McCormack told the ABC.
Michael McCormack failed to condemn the extraordinary violence in Washington DC (pictured) on Thursday and instead likened the mob to Black Lives Matter protesters
Labor health spokesman Chris Bowen said the comments were ‘beyond disgusting’.
‘Australians of colour deserve to know that the Government thinks more of them than that, and to have the Acting Prime Minister spout the words, ‘all lives matter’, to diminish the Black Lives Matter movement, was beyond disgusting,’ he said.
A study by the US Crisis Monitor found that more than 93 per cent of 7,750 Black Lives matter protests following the death of black man George Floyd who was knelt on by a policeman were peaceful.
Labor’s Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said comparing the movement with a violent raid where windows were smashed and 50 people were injured was a ‘failure of leadership’.
‘It beggars belief that the acting Prime Minister is drawing his equivalence,’ he said.
‘This is a stupendous and outrageous failure of leadership. When leaders all around the world are rightly condemning the violence in Washington, DC we have members of the Australian government trying to legitimise it or draw false comparisons.’
Mr McCormack refused to withdraw his comparison, saying the movement ‘involves violence. It involves the destruction of property. It involves deaths of people, and any violence of that form is condemned.’
During his first two days as acting PM, Mr McCormack also called unemployed people ‘lounge lizards’ and refused to condemn government MPs Craig Kelly and George Christensen for spreading misinformation peddled by Trump supporters.
Mr Kelly has also claimed in a social media post that asking children to wear face masks amounts to ‘child abuse’.
But instead of condemning the post, Mr McCormack said in a press briefing: ‘Facts are sometimes contentious and what you might think is right, somebody else might think is completely untrue, that is part of living in a democratic country.’
Mr Bowen said: ‘Craig Kelly is a menace and at every turn, Scott Morrison and now Michael McCormack have failed to call him out.’
Earlier Mr McCormack said unemployed Australians need to ‘turn off Netflix’ and get a job in the bush.
He said JobSeeker recipients, many of whom lost their jobs in the coronavirus pandemic, were earning ‘more than they ever dreamed of’ on the taxpayer dollar.
The Nationals leader said the Regional Australia Institute found almost 50,000 jobs up for grabs in country Australia, and the unemployed should go get them.
He made the ‘lounge lizards’ gaffe during an interview on Monday, and doubled down when grilled about it on Nine’s Today show on Tuesday morning.
‘I say to those people, who have perhaps done reasonably well off JobSeeker – given the fact they might have been earning more than what they could have ever have dreamt of – it’s time to turn Stan and Netflix off and come out to regions,’ he replied.
Australians are seen lining up at a Centrelink office in Melbourne at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic
‘You can have a better life. You don’t actually have to stick in congested traffic in the capital cities. You can get out to regional Australia.’
Today host Allison Langdon asked whether it was ‘slightly insulting’ to label unemployed residents ‘lounge lizards’
She argued not everyone has the ability or freedom to relocate, particularly during a pandemic when they are subject to lockdowns and hotspot declarations.
Mr McCormack replied ‘there’s not much Covid out here’, speaking from Townsville in North Queensland.
‘Many communities in regional Australia have hardly had a case of Covid if at all and they are craving for people from the city to come out and experience the bush,’ he said.
The acting prime minister said there were a variety of available jobs – beyond working on a farm.
‘They’re not just jobs picking fruit, they’re not just jobs in meatworks. They’re jobs in all sorts of good endeavours and certainly good well-paying jobs,’ he said.
‘It’s fun to pick fruit, it’s good and well-paying work to work in a meatworks and goodness knows we need them.’