Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has slammed billionaire Clive Palmer for “bullying” a chief health officer, and demanded Scott Morrison condemn the behaviour.
Mr Palmer’s United Australia Party on Wednesday authorised a double page ad in Queensland’s major newspaper, The Courier Mail, attacking Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.
It comes almost six weeks out from the Queensland election, in which Mr Palmer’s party is expected to enlist a number of candidates around the state.
Featuring on the first two pages of Wednesday’s edition, the ad includes a photo of Ms Palaszczuk and above it reads “if she doesn’t make the decisions she shouldn’t be in the position.”
On the second page, Mr Palmer’s ad reads “SHAME ON YOU BOTH!” above photos of Ms Palaszczuk and Dr Young.
In a one minute Twitter video, a grey-bearded Mr Rudd said Mr Palmer’s personal political attack on Dr Young “crosses a new line in both Queensland and Australian politics.”
“This is bullying at its worst,” he said.
“Dr Young is an independent, public servant, loyally working for the elected government of the day.
“Her job is to defend Queensland’s public health, particularly at this awful time of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Mr Rudd said he was calling on Mr Palmer to “have the guts and the integrity to stop bullying and pick on someone his own size.”
“As for (Prime Minister) Morrison and (Queensland Opposition Leader Deb) Frecklington, Palmer’s mates, I’m calling on them to get Palmer to stop this bullying behaviour, otherwise they are complicit in it,” he said.
The ads come days after it was revealed Dr Young was placed under police guard after receiving death threats over her tough border measures, which barred a Canberra woman from attending her father’s funeral.
The ad also questioned Ms Palaszczuk’s ability to make decisions in the handling of the border measures, after she repeatedly said she relied on Dr Young’s health advice to guide decision making. When is a premier not a premier? When she declares she doesn’t make the decisions,” Mr Palmer’s ad read.
“Queensland needs strong leadership with a management plan to get our State’s economy moving again,” he said.
“Draconian measures are no substitute for proper targeted management.”