Awkward moment The Project’s Hamish Macdonald questions infectious diseases expert over bizarre ‘insinuation’ Gladys Berejiklian PLANNED the Delta outbreak in Sydney
- Gladys Berejiklian announced she would ditch daily Covid-19 press conferences
- The NSW premier will front media when important announcements are made
- The Project co-host challenged health expert who criticised the decision
The Project co-host Hamish Macdonald has had a fiery exchange with an infectious diseases expert after he claimed the guest insinuated Gladys Berejeklian has a ‘secret plan’ to let the Delta variant run wild in Sydney.
Macdonald was interviewing Professor Bill Bowtell on Friday night’s show about the NSW Premier’s decision to stop fronting up for daily Covid briefings with the media.
Ms Berejiklian announced on Friday she would no longer hold the press conferences despite the state’s outbreak continuing to grow with peak hospitalisations expected next month.
Professor Bill Bowtell and Project host Hamish Macdonald (pictured) clashed on Friday night’s show as they discussed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s decision to cancel daily press conferences about the state’s Covid-19 outbreak
Ms Berejiklian announced on Friday she would no longer hold the conferences as she transitions the state towards living with the virus
Macdonald challenged Mr Bowtell after he said the NSW Government had left the state ‘in limbo’ by deliberately ‘letting cases soar’ when the public was largely unvaccinated.
‘These were the consequences of a plan that was assembled in secret,’ Professor Bowtell said.
The professor also said the ‘plan’ was put together without consulting ‘the people or the parliament’.
‘What plan are you talking about?’ Macdonald asked.
‘Are you seriously saying this was a deliberate plan by the premier to let this get out of control?
‘I don’t think anyone is seriously suggesting that, are they?’
Mr Bowtell said Ms Berejiklian as ‘the architect’ the NSW Covid response should continue to front the media because not doing so reduces the people’s trust in their government
Awkwardly, Mr Bowtell was forced to explain his statement, which was not suggesting the disastrous Delta spread was planned, but instead that the plan to respond was flawed and the Government wasn’t accountable for it.
‘No, I’m not saying it was a deliberate plan, but I’m saying the [lockdowns are the] consequences, maybe the unintended consequence… of the decision to let Covid run in NSW before the population was remotely fully vaccinated, or even partially vaccinated.’
Mr Bowtell said Ms Berejiklian as ‘the architect of the policy’ should continue to front the media because not doing so reduces people’s trust in their government.
‘Turning up builds trust,’ he said.
‘But nothing trashes trust more than refusing to turn up and be accountable to the people.’
Mr Bowtell claimed that the premier ‘is not bothered anymore’ by the prospect of an increase in cases.
NSW recorded 1,542 new locally acquired cases of Covid on Friday as the premier warned cases will peak next week.
Earlier, Ms Berejiklian denied she was ‘going into hiding’, saying: ‘All of us have to start accepting that we need to live with Covid because Covid will be around for three or four years.’
New South Wales has been leading the way forward on jab rates and is on track to hit the target marker by October 18 – a date which has tentatively been set by the Berejiklian government as ‘Freedom Day’ for the fully vaccinated
The premier said health officials would still provide daily case numbers ‘indefinitely’ in a video message but from now on she would only front the media when she had ‘something important to say’.
She defended her decision to stop daily pressers even with the full impact of the virus yet to hit.
‘The public want to hear from me and others but when we have something to say, apart from repeating the numbers that health repeats,’ she said.
‘It might be three times a week instead of seven times a week but the message is we will speak every time there is something important to say and I am accountable 24/7 every day of the week.’
NSW Labor leader Chris Minns opposed the move and said he needed to hear her speak daily.
‘Now more than ever we need to be hearing daily from the government,’ Mr Minns said.
‘By the government’s own admission, NSW is weeks away from cases peaking, hospitalisations and ICU numbers peaking, the roadmap out for western Sydney.
‘We need to be hearing from the premier every day.’