Nine News TV host Jonathan Uptin has come under fire for repeatedly asking Scott Morrison about his decision to go on holiday during an awkward on-air exchange.
The presenter, who is filling in on the Today show over the Christmas break, clashed with the prime minister on Monday after questioning his move to go to Hawaii in the wake of Australia’s bushfire crisis.
Mr Uptin, a weekend news host for Nine News Queensland, asked Mr Morrison whether Australians can trust his instincts as a leader.
The apologetic PM replied saying he believed Australians are ‘fair-minded people’ and were aware of the demands he has to juggle in his role.
Fill-in television presenter Jonathan Uptin clashed with the prime minister on the Today Show on Monday while he addressed the controversy surrounding his trip to Hawaii
Mr Morrison appeared to become frustrated after he was repeatedly asked the same question
‘You try to make the best decisions and when you think you can make better decisions you’re upfront with the Australian people about that, which I was yesterday,’ Mr Morrison said.
He went on to emphasise his decision to return from his trip following the deaths of firefighters Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, who were killed in the line of duty on Thursday.
Despite acknowledging his faults, Mr Uptin pressed on asking: ‘Do you accept the criticism that your comments missed the mark?’
Mr Morrison then replied by repeating that he was ‘very clear’ about his regrets in his apology to the country on Sunday.
Mr Uptin then doubled down on his questions, asking whether Mr Morrison was ’embarrassed’ about the criticism he has copped.
Viewers slammed the awkward interview on social media with some calling it ‘disrespectful’
One person hit out at the host calling him a ‘moron’ and ‘pathetic’
‘We have been reporting this morning that the debacle made international news. Are you embarrassed at all how Australia has been seen, particularly your leadership as well?’ he asked.
A seemingly frustrated Mr Morrison replied: ‘No, look, people from outside Australia will make whatever comments they want.
‘I will set Australia’s policies consistent with what I took to the last election and what I believe and my government believes is in the national interest,’ he said, before being interrupted by Uptin.
‘I’m someone who was probably on board with what you took to the polls when you went, I think now, that I’m part of a growing groundswell of support, who people think more needs to be done, now is the time for action,’ Uptin added.
One person added: ‘The interviewer, made no sense and acting out of emotions. Your right, Channel 9 is such an embarrassment to Australia. Bring back Karl’
‘It’s not a time to sit around to keep chatting to say we discuss will down the track. Do we need to act now?’
‘We are acting now. Australia is…,’ Mr Morrison began, before Uptin interjected once more saying: ‘We need to do more.’
Mr Morrison explained ‘it’s not a question of whether you take action or don’t,’ but a matter of acting responsibly.
As the awkward interview began to wrap up, Mr Uptin then asked the prime minister if he planned to take another holiday before the end of the year.
Uptin, a weekend news presenter on Nine News Queensland, is filling during the Christmas break
‘If I get to take a few days with the family I will always seek to do that. If I get that opportunity,’ he replied.
Mr Uptin then awkwardly asked: ‘You make sure you will tell us prime minister won’t you? Before the end of the year?’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Nine News for comment.
The host was criticised by viewers with many calling the interview ‘pathetic’ and ’embarrassing.’
‘Who is that interviewer? What is it, amateur hour @TodayShow? What an embarrassment to Australian media,’ one person tweeted.
‘Does this moron really expect the PM to answer impertintent questions. Pathetic host and inteviewer with a serious inferiority complex. Can we get a real journalist?,’ said another.
One person added: ‘The interviewer, made no sense and acting out of emotions. Your right, Channel 9 is such an embarrassment to Australia. Bring back Karl.’
The interview comes days after Mr Morrison apologised for ‘any offence caused’ by his decision to go on holiday to the idyllic American island with his wife and two daughters.
‘It’s not easy to get back, but I will as soon as I can,’ Mr Morrison told 2GB radio on Friday.
‘I know Australians will understand this, and they’ll be pleased I’m coming back… but they know that, you know, I don’t hold a hose mate.’
The controversial remarks came after an online petition calling on the Governor General to remove him as Prime Minister received more than 70,000 signatures.
A photo of a group of Australian tourists who claimed to be with Prime Minister Scott Morrison (second from right) has emerged on social media
Prime Minister Scott Morrison with his wife, Jenny (pictured together) during a previous trip away. They are understood to be in Honolulu for a ‘well-deserved break’