A bitter spat between the Morrison government and retired Test cricketer Michael Slater continues to fester.
Slater has intensified his criticism of the travel ban, challenging the Prime Minister to take his private jet to India and witness dead bodies on the street.
He also challenged Scott Morrison to a public debate.
Slater’s broadside comes as Cricket Australia urgently seeks evacuate its Indian Premier League players and staff.
Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud blasted the former Australian cricket star.
“He is acting like a spoilt prat and he needs to grow up and think about the big issues at play,” he told Nine Network.
“This is a pandemic that he knew he was travelling in,” he said.
“Yes, we granted him authority to travel but there’s this thing called personal responsibility.
“Take some personal responsibility, he actually has the resources to look after himself and we’re going to try and look after those Australians over there.
The government insists the pause on flights out of India is worth the effort, even as the number of vulnerable Australians there rises.
The number of Australians facing health or financial difficulties in India had soared from around 600 to 900.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says repatriation flights will resume as soon as possible, but is sticking by the planned date of May 15 to remove the pause.
He says the suspension of flights is working.
Of the 23,000 arrivals in the past seven days there had been 80 positive cases, or a rate of 0.3 per cent.
“We have dropped from 13 per cent (positive rate) to 0.3 per cent, so that’s the significance,” Mr Hunt said.
He said a lot of work was being done during the pause including tripling capacity at Darwin’s Howard Springs facility and improving testing at points of departure.
Thousands of Australian citizens stranded in India could be forced to wait many months to come home, even after a controversial travel ban expires.
The federal government is facing a legal challenge to its ban on Australians returning from India, with lawyers arguing the restrictions are unconstitutional.
The government insists it no longer has any intention of imposing harsh fines and jail time on anyone who tries to return from India.