A senior economist has said the media should not have needled Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison into saying sorry for the slow vaccination rollout.
Robert Carling, an expert in Australian government affairs and senior fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, said the media were playing a childish “gotcha” game with the prime minister.
“Needling a politician to get them to use a particular word they would rather not use—in this case, ‘sorry,’” Carling told The Epoch Times.
Carling said it was far more important that Morrison accepted that his government made mistakes and was accountable.
“He has now said so, and that should be enough,” he said. “The media should hold him to account, not play word games.”
The comments from Carling were made in an interview about the federal government bowing to pressure and yielding to state governments that ask for more lockdown financial assistance and come after Morrison apologised for the rollout on Thursday.
“I take responsibility for the vaccination program,” Morrison said. “I also take responsibility for the challenges we’ve had. Obviously, some things within our control, some things that are not.”
“I’m certainly sorry that we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we had hoped for at the beginning of this year,” he said.
The remarks by the prime minister come after Morrison avoided saying sorry for the government’s mistakes on KISS FM Jase and PJ at Night radio show.
Carling said that in the public’s eye, the federal government was blameworthy for the current outbreak in Sydney due to low vaccination rates because of insufficient vaccine supplies. However, he notes that this is a false narrative.
“Some states and the federal opposition have succeeded in weaving the false narrative that it is all the federal government’s fault,” Carling said. “The federal government is culpable for not ordering enough alternatives to AstraZeneca vaccine early enough, but even if they had, we were never going to be at a critical mass of vaccination by now.”
Australia’s vaccination rollout is currently around two months behind schedule, which has attracted heavy criticism toward the government and placed Australia firmly last in the vaccine ‘race’ out of OECD countries.
However, Morrison said the rollout was ramping up significantly over the last month. Just under 6 percent of people over 15 were fully vaccinated at the start of June, a number that has jumped to 15 percent.