Prime Minister Scott Morison has attacked as “fake news” claims that he lied to cover the fact he lied about claiming he had never referred to former NSW Labor Senator Sam Dastyari as “Shanghai Sam”.
Speaking during a news conference at his Pentecostal church, Mr Morrison said as a committed Christian (main picture) he would never tell a lie.
“No, I would never tell a lie. Never have. Never will,” he said. “God would strike me down and, by the way, how good is God?
“Last Friday a reporter asked me why I claimed Labor was racist to question one of my MPs, Gladys Liu, and her links to China but it’s not racist for me to call Sam Dastyari ‘Shanghai Sam’.
“When I responded to that question by saying I had never used ‘either of those phrases’, I was referring to the reporter’s two references to racism and not to the term ‘Shangahi Sam’. There’s a yuge difference. A yuge difference.
“If you need proof that what I said was true just look at me standing here. God hasn’t struck me down, so I obviously didn’t lie. I say again, how good is God?
“You know it’s not uncommon for a politician to mishear a question.
“You’ll recall that during the election campaign just a few month ago Labor leader Bill Shorten got into trouble with an answer on superannuation.
“Bill explained that he had misheard the question and — as you’ll all remember and as the record shows — I immediately agreed with his explanation.
“I never once raised any criticisms of Bill or his answer. You can go back and check. I never attacked Bill over that.
“By the way I just want to add that I really have never ever used the term ‘Shanghai Sam’ either. Any reports to the contrary are just fake news,” he said.
When Mr Morrison was shown archival video footage of him repeatedly referring to Mr Dastyari as “Shangahi Sam” (pictured) he responded in what reporters at first thought was Chinese.
The Prime Minister’s staff explained he was speaking in tongues and quickly led him away with his right arm still raised with palm upward.
Asked what Mr Morrison was saying a staffer said: “He’s saying that all he wants to do is make Australia great again.”