Prime Minister Scott Morrison and one of his MPs have taken to social media to defend themselves after an embarrassing exchange with a NSW Rural Fire Service volunteer went viral.
Mr Morrison met the volunteer at an evacuation centre in Mudgee on Monday, as he toured parts of fire-ravaged NSW after his abrupt weekend return from a holiday in Hawaii.
Andrew Gee, who is the local MP, started the conversation.
“Jacqui, this is the Prime Minister,” he said.
Quick as a flash, Jacqui shot back: “He’s not my prime minister.”
The footage, aired by The Project on Monday night, quickly went viral – with many on social media praising Jacqui for her blunt slapdown of the nation’s leader.
With fires in Running Stream, Ilford, Capertee and Palmers Oakey all being managed out of the Cudgegong RFS headquarters…
But Mr Gee expanded on the clip in a Facebook post on Monday night.
“Some people have asked what we were laughing about with Jacqui,” he wrote.
“Jacqui is a British, citizen, not Australian, with quite a clear British accent. We were jokingly trying to get her to sign up for Aussie citizenship after Jacqui lightheartedly (but correctly) pointed out that ScoMo wasn’t her PM for that reason. Boris is Jacqui’s PM!”
Mr Morrison followed up with his own response on Twitter on Tuesday.
Indeed, as Jacqui joked with me yesterday, I’m not her PM, because she’s British, Boris Johnson is. But with local MP Andrew Gee, we made a decent pitch for her to become an Aussie yesterday. She & the other RFS volunteers have been doing an incredible job battling these blazes. pic.twitter.com/28z3c4bTMG
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) December 23, 2019
“Indeed, as Jacqui joked with me yesterday, I’m not her PM, because she’s British, Boris Johnson is,” he wrote.
“But with local MP Andrew Gee, we made a decent pitch for her to become an Aussie yesterday. She and the other RFS volunteers have been doing an incredible job battling these blazes.”
RFS Inspector Troy Gersback, who oversees Jacqui’s unit, has confirmed to SBS that Jacqui is indeed a British citizen, and that her comment to Mr Morrison was a joke.