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Western Australian premier Mark McGowan has launched a blistering attack on members of the federal press gallery who followed Anthony Albanese’s election campaign,
accusing them of reporting “lies” as well as “bullying” the new prime minister at press conferences.
McGowan, who joined Albanese for several media events in Perth during the six-week campaign, said he was “shocked and appalled” by some in the Canberra-based media pack,
who attracted ongoing criticism from Labor supporters and veteran journalists for interjections and combative questioning.
Screaming and interrupting, and rude, and insulting, intimidating and bullying,” McGowan said at his own press conference in Perth on Monday.“The sort of thing in a workplace, you’d get for. They need to reflect on their behaviour. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
complained about media coverage and the behaviour of certain journalists at several points during the campaign.
Labor and its supporters were critical of what they called “gotcha” questions to Albanese about the unemployment rate and Labor’s NDIS policy, which led to well-documented stumbles as the then opposition leader failed to immediately answer correctly.
In an interview on the ABC’s 7.30 program on Friday, the day before the election, Albanese was critical of some coverage.
Mark McGowan accuses travelling press pack o
Some of the nonsense that’s gone on from some journalists, thinking that the campaign was about them and gotcha moments, is one of the things that puts people off politics,” he said.
In an ABC Melbourne interview that same day, Albanese said “some of the campaign, frankly, has been for some of the journalists, dare I say it, more about them than about information and about policies”.
McGowan joined Albanese for one particularly robust media opportunity at a factory in Perth on the last weekend of the campaign, where the Labor leader came under repeated and loud questioning over his party’s election costings.
Feeling Albanese was avoiding questions, journalists constantly interjected, before the then opposition leader ended the press conference after only a handful of questions.
Several reporters followed Albanese out of the area, voicing further questions. McGowan, left standing at the podium, called the media behaviour “madness”.
On Monday, he reflected further on that encounter.“Anthony’s trying to answer a question and they’re basically talking over him and being rude, and then muttering and being insulting,” McGowan said.
He also hit out at subsequent reporting that Albanese had “fled” the press conference, calling it “lies” and “lying”.News Corp newspapers splashed the incident on their front pages, under large headlines including “Flee Circus”.