Scott Morrison opens up on his relationship with under siege ‘Dictator Dan’ Andrews – after scolding the premier over state of emergency and moving to ban his deal with China
- The Prime Minister has spoken candidly about relationship with Daniel Andrews
- Scott Morrison said in a TV news interview they both ‘understand each other’
- The pair have been at loggerheads over a number of issues in recent months
Scott Morrison has spoken candidly about his turbulent relationship with Daniel Andrews after the pair launched into a war of words this week.
The prime minister has repeatedly criticised Mr Andrews over his handling of the coronavirus crisis and his move to extend the state of emergency, while revealing his own plans to scrap Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement with China.
The prime minister on Thursday proposed a new law that would give the federal government sweeping powers to tear up agreements made by state and local authorities.
Premier Andrews appeared testy when asked about the possibility his infrastructure agreement with China could end up on the scrapheap.
‘If the prime minister has time to be doing those things [propose new laws], that’s fine. I don’t – I’m exclusively focused on fighting this virus and then making sure we have the strongest economy that we can possibly have on the other side,’ he said on Thursday.
Mr Morrison was asked about Mr Andrews’ response during an interview with Sky News on Thursday night.
‘The premier should be focused on the pandemic,’ he said, before noting he had far greater responsibilities as prime minister.
‘I should be focused on not only on the pandemic but also my job which is promoting and protecting Australia’s interests. It’s my job to ensure our foreign affairs are in order.
‘It’s also my job to deal with defence forces, it’s also my job to deal with cyber-attacks, and terrorism. It’s my job to deal with many, many things as prime minister. So I’ll keep getting on with mine, and I’m sure (Premier Andrews) will keep getting on with his.’
But despite the public war of words, Mr Morrison said they both ‘understand each other’ and can work together although they’re on ‘team red and team blue’.
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Scott Morrison (pictured right) has spoken candidly about his turbulent relationship with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured left)
‘There’s stuff we’ve got to get done and it’s our jobs to work together to make it happen. Whether one likes each other or not? Well, it helps. And I’ve got to say there’s been a great civility in how we’ve worked together,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘We’ve never had a difficulty in working through some issues… we certainly disagree on some things and this is one (the Belt and Road agreement) but you know, we’ll just get back at it tomorrow.’
Just days ago, the prime minister let loose on Mr Andrews’ handling of the coronavirus crisis and his plan to extend the state of emergency in Victoria.
‘The protective measures that were put in place and built up as part of that national strategy… have failed in Victoria,’ Mr Morrison told parliament on Tuesday.
‘The testing, the tracing and the quarantine arrangements have proven to be unacceptable and led to what we have seen with community outbreak in Victoria.’
Hours earlier, Mr Morrison also blasted the Victorian leader over his push to extend the state of emergency during a private conversation between the pair, according to the Herald Sun.
A state of emergency, which gives police extraordinary powers to search, arrest and detain, was first declared in Victoria on March 16 and is due to expire on September 13 after several extensions.
Mr Andrews wants to change legislation so it can be extended for a further 12 months.
The strained relationship took another turn for the worse on Thursday when Mr Morrison tabled new legislation to scrap the Belt and Road agreement.
Mr Andrews signed the Chinese Communist Party initiative in 2018 after secret negotiations to drive jobs growth and boost Sino-Victorian investment.
Senior members of the Australian federal government are highly skeptical of the authoritarian regime’s push to finance and build a global trade and infrastructure network and repeatedly warned against the move.
The Belt and Road Initiative, since it was announced by Xi Jinping in 2013, has been viewed from abroad as a Chinese propaganda campaign to snatch power and influence by piling developing nations with unsustainable levels of debt.
Just days ago, Prime Minister Morrison (pictured) let loose on Mr Andrews’ handling of the coronavirus crisis and his plan to extend the state of emergency in Victoria
Mr Andrews (pictured) has come under fire from the Prime Minister for signing a infrastructure deal with China against the advice of the federal government
Under the proposed Foreign Relations Bill, the Foreign Minister will be able to terminate the deal and any other private contracts with China and other nations in areas such as culture, education, health, science, tourism, infrastructure and even sister-city arrangements.
It will also require that states get approval from the federal government to start negotiating a foreign deal and seek approval again when the negotiations are done.
While the two leaders on opposite ends of the political spectrum appear to be at each other’s throats more often than not, one insider revealed the two actually have a lot of ‘respect’ for each other.
But despite the very public war of words which has raged between the two, Mr Morrison (pictured right) said they he and Mr Andrews (pictured left) ‘understand each other’ and can work together although they’re on ‘team red and team blue’
‘They respect and like each other,’ a source close to the Victorian Premier told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘It’s developed into a really strong working relationship.’
Some in the inner circle even refer to their odd couple working relationship as a ‘bromance’.
‘At the end of the day there’s a huge problem in Victoria with the pandemic and we need to fix it and it’s gonna get fixed a lot quicker if people are working together, not arguing,’ Mr Morrison said.
Some in the inner circle even refer to their odd couple working relationship as a ‘bromance’