Scott Morrison has been called out for declaring there’s “no alternative” to hotel quarantine and then promptly dodging it himself so how did he get away with it?
The simple answer is he did it by being a “government official” and holding a diplomatic passport that allows him to quarantine at the Lodge in Canberra if he is returning from official travel.
As he explained to Kiss FM this week, he’s even managed to quarantine and keep his official photographer and personal chef on staff to whip up a meal
“All the rules are being followed,’’ Mr Morrison said.
“We’ve basically picked up the whole operation from Parliament House and moved it here to the house. I’ve got two staff with me so we’re pretty busy.”
Asked if he was eating “pre-made meals”, the Prime Minister admitted there was someone on hand to cook him dinner.
“There’s a staff that supports here. They’re in the non-quarantine section. So the house is all sorts of cut off. You put your laundry in a bag that dissolves in the wash.”
One of the staff that is quarantining at the Lodge is his official photographer, Adam Taylor, who captured the image of him wearing thongs and shorts with a shirt and jacket for TV interviews.
That image has sparked complaints from media photographers that the Prime Minister’s office is handing out “propaganda shots” to shape his image.
But Sky News host Alan Jones has pointed to a double standard in international travel, with the Prime Minister seemingly going against his own comments on quarantine.
Mr Jones pointed out that after the last National Cabinet meeting, Mr Morrison said there was “no alternative” to hotel quarantine.
“He seems to have found one,” he said as he questioned NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian about quarantine arrangements on Sky News last night.
Ms Berejiklian said she didn’t want to comment on the Prime Minister’s specific case, but argued that it would be too risky to change the system at this stage.
But in fact, the rules are different for government officials and the Prime Minister is within his rights to quarantine “at home” at the Lodge with a staff of cooks and cleaners on hand to make the experience a little more luxurious.
The exemption is clearly outlined on the health.gov.au website under the section detailing ‘recommended quarantine exemptions for some other travellers.”
“Official government travel Government officials, and/or their dependants, who are returning from official government travel need to quarantine for 14 days on return to Australia,’’ it states.
“They may quarantine at their home, usual place of residence, or private accommodation.
“Government officials must travel on an Australian Government issued Official or Diplomat passport when completing Official Travel.
“Strict conditions apply on this exemption class. Government officials are not allowed to take a domestic connecting flight within 14 days of arrival in Australia. Government officials must comply with all state or territory public health requirements.”
Mr Jones argued that skilled workers and international students should