Top-rating radio broadcaster Ray Hadley has finally confronted NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet over the lifting of Covid rules while accusing him of badmouthing him behind his back.
Appearing on Hadley’s 2GB morning program on Monday, Premier Dominic Perrottet denied he was referring to people like Hadley when he said he would not ‘give in to the bedwetters’ by re-introducing Covid restrictions.
‘I don’t know where that’s come from, I haven’t made those comments in cabinet at all,’ Mr Perrottet responded.
Hadley responded that people had told him Mr Perrottet had called ‘people like me’ bedwetters after a few drinks at a pre-Christmas function.
‘Ray, I have no recollection of that,’ Mr Perrottet responded.
Hadley also claimed former premier Gladys Berejiklian had directly told him Mr Perrottet was part of ‘a team’ who pushed for most Covid restrictions to be dropped on December 15.
‘Don’t blame Gladys, she’s gone!’ Hadley told Mr Perrottet when the premier said the roadmap for removing restrictions had been in existence before he took the top job.
‘You were part of the team pushing the December 15 date, whether you deny it or not, because that comes straight from her to me,’ Hadley said.
‘You deny it, I’m telling you she says that you were part of the push to get the brakes released on December 15, and when you became Premier you were intent on doing it.’
Hadley has been a vocal opponent of Mr Perrottet’s decision to end a range of Covid restrictions in mid-December, particularly as the Omicron variant began to take hold across the state.
‘We’ve always made changes based on the information in front of us,’ Mr Perrottet said.
2GB’s Ray Hadley Hadley told NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet that people had told him the premier called ‘people like me’ bedwetters about their concerns on the lifting of Covid rules after a few drinks at a pre-Christmas function
Hadley said respected clinical immunologist Graham Stewart had told him that Mr Perrottet could not have done more to make the current Omicron outbreak worse
The premier said he had delayed the original re-opening date in NSW by two weeks to allow the full vaccination rate to increase.
Mr Perrottet said he didn’t see decisions about ending or reintroducing public health measures as backflips but as ‘adjusting to the circumstances we find ourselves in’.
He said it was a misconception that he had removed masks altogether saying the government’s position was to ‘highly recommend’ the wearing of masks before it was made mandatory again on December 22 until January 27
‘Did you tell ministers after the reshuffle we won’t cave in to NSW Health on masks?
‘No…’ Mr Perrottet began to respond.
‘See what you’ve got to understand, Dominic, is that there are people leaking to me because they’re not happy with you, ok?’, Hadley said. “And they’re very senior members of your government.’
‘It’s no good denying it, I know you said it… and you did cave in on the 23rd.’
‘What I said was we highly recommend masks on the 15th of December, that was the point that we made,’ Mr Perrottet responded.
Hadley said NSW and Australia had been ‘the blue chip’ of controlling the virus and was now no better than many other countries.
‘You’re sending people back into childcare centres who are close contacts to deal with little children who can’t be vaccinated.
‘Yes, we were [in a better position] Dominic… now we’re no better than many other nations in the world, and this has happened under your premiership.’
‘Ray, I disagree with you,’ Mr Perrottet said, pointing to the state’s high vaccination rate.
Mr Perrottet said the former strategy of pursuing a Covid elimination goal had to make way for living with the virus.
Hadley said respected clinical immunologist Graham Stewart had told him that Mr Perrottet could not have done more to make the current Omicron outbreak worse.
‘You, as premier, you could not have done more to make it worse and herd infection won’t produce herd immunity,’ Hadley said.
‘That’s the sort of people I rely on, not someone who doesn’t care or does care about whether they get re-elected in 2023.’
On December 23 Mr Perrottet announced masks would again be required for indoor settings and reintroduced the two square metre rule for venues, earning a rebuke from Hadley
On December 23 Mr Perrottet announced masks would again be required for indoor settings and reintroduced the two square metre rule for venues, earning a rebuke from radio host Hadley.
‘The boy Premier decided he knew more on December 15 and a week later, what did he do?’ Hadley asked. ‘Seven days after he made the decision, he reversed a decision he should never have made in the first place.
‘I know one thing: this will cost him the premiership in 2023.’
NSW reported 29,504 new cases and 17 deaths on Monday – down 15 per cent from the 34,660 infections and 20 deaths recorded on Sunday.
Hospitalisation numbers edged higher, with NSW hospitals treating 2,776 patients – up from 2,650, while there were now 203 patients now in NSW ICU units, up from 191.