Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended his flying visits to Christmas Islands, denying they were part of a political stunt and a waste of taxpayers’ funds.
Mr Morrison this week boarded an RAAF VIP jet in Canberra accompanied by reporters for the 5,600km flight north-east to Christmas Island.
After landing on the island he was greeted by locals who expressed surprise at his presence and the fact he had dressed to resemble Captain Cook.
“I know Captain James Cook visited your island in 1777 and named it because he landed here on Christmas Eve,” Mr Morrison declared to curious onlookers at the island’s landing strip.
The Prime Minister continued to lecture the island residents on the history of Captain Cook before a staff member approached and whispered in his ear.
“What? You sure? There’s two? Really?” he was heard to reply before he and the travelling party were ordered back on the RAAF jet for the 9,500km flight west to the Australian territory of Christmas Island.
After landing on Christmas Island, Mr Morrison toured the soon-to-be-reopened detention centre.
“We need to re-open the island’s detention centre because the actions of the Labor/Green axis of treason and their deliberate efforts to destroy the Australian way of life by allowing sick asylum seekers to receive medical treatment,” Mr Morrison said.
“Their appalling actions on the medivac laws, or if you prefer the medevac laws, will see wave after wave of new asylum seekers heading to our shores and we will be turning them back or sending them to Christmas Island, although we won’t be saying anything about that because as you know we don’t comment on on-water matters when it comes to asylum seekers.
“I have also come to Christmas Island today because I need to know that health facilities on Christmas Island are up to scratch for when we need to bring fair dinkum Australians here because their local hospitals in Australia are packed to the gills with asylum seekers as Peter Dutton has warned,” he said.
In a testy exchange with reporters on the flight home Mr Morrison denied the visit had been a taxpayer-funded political stunt.
He said the presence of a film crew from the Liberal Party’s advertising agency on the trip had been “pure coincidence”.