Radio host Ray Hadley told Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to “fuck off” after the PM bombarded him with phone calls amid a row over whether he was saying “white ” were to blame for voting against Voice.
During Question Time in Parliament on Monday, the Prime Minister was asked if he still wholeheartedly supports the Uluru Declaration, including a Makarrata commission to “tell the truth” and a treaty.
But exactly what Mr Albanese responded – and what it sounded like – sparked a media storm, with the Prime Minister’s office moving into high gear to do damage control – including direct calls from Mr Albanese to Hadley.
Television footage appeared to show Mr Albanese saying: “Regardless of how white people vote…”
The Prime Minister’s Office insists he actually said that “…the way people voted” – which is how Hansard recorded the comment.
Radio 2GB’s Hadley played the clip on his show the following day and criticized the Prime Minister for what he thought was an inflammatory and poorly expressed comment.
Later that night, Hadley claims the Prime Minister repeatedly tried to phone him to try to defuse the furor – but Hadley missed the calls because he was with his grandchildren.
Radio host Ray Hadley told Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to ‘fuck it’ after the PM stunned him with series of phone calls
The row erupted over audio recording of Prime Minister Anthony Albense apparently blaming “whites” for the weekend’s referendum defeat.
And on Wednesday, the shock jock told the Prime Minister to “fuck off” because the Labor leader had already snubbed several invitations from Hadley to come on his show.
“He hasn’t spoken to me in 18 months,” Hadley told fellow 2GB host Ben Fordham.
“I received two missed calls from Anthony Albanese late last night – but I was with my grandchildren so I didn’t see them until I woke up at three this morning.
“He’s not coming into my program. He ignored me for 18 months. I received dozens and dozens of requests.
“He appears with you and other people. It will not appear in my program.
“So I’m not going to apologize for his erroneous comments like he did. I don’t think he meant “white” – but that’s what he said.
“I don’t know if he was subliminally thinking about white people,” he added.
“So, to the Prime Minister who will pass this tape on to his servants – don’t call me to try to set me straight after you’ve been overwhelmed by the no vote.”
“It’s been 18 months since you last spoke to me and you can’t care less.
“I don’t really need to talk to you.” I will talk about you… without talking to you.
The outcry exploded after earlier comments from Hadley and Sky News Australia host Paul Murray sparked a fiery response from the Prime Minister’s office.
Hadley said on Tuesday he had been bombarded with messages from the prime minister’s staff since he first broadcast audio of the prime minister’s Question Time response.
“Didn’t we strike a chord with the Prime Minister? Hadley said on his show Tuesday. “I have never heard so much from the Prime Minister’s office.
“They (usually) don’t talk to us – and all of a sudden, a plethora of phone calls from outraged office members.”
Murray attacked the response as an example of how the Prime Minister was out of touch and in denial over the Voice’s catastrophic rejection of the proposal.
“The idea that the 60/40 no outcome was because white people voted against it is a complete blind spot on what went wrong this weekend,” Murray said.
The Prime Minister’s media team referred inquiries to the official Hansard account of the session, which offers yet another version of what was said.
The Prime Minister is said to have said “regardless of how people voted in this referendum” – but the audio and video from Parliament clearly shows that is not the full quote.
But comments condemning the prime minister’s response by Radio 2GB’s Ray Hadley and Sky News Australia host Paul Murray (pictured together) sparked a swift response from the prime minister’s office.
Some compared this phrase to the infamous blue dress/white dress meme that seemed to change color with every look that swept the internet in 2015.
Listeners to the Prime Minister’s comment were able to hear both the “manner” and “white” versions of his response after repeated rebroadcasts.
The Prime Minister’s media team referred inquiries to the official Hansard account of the session (pictured) – but this offers yet another version of what was said.
2GB’s Ben Fordham said on Wednesday he accepted the Prime Minister’s version of what was said.
“It seemed like he was saying ‘it doesn’t matter what white people voted for,'” Fordham said on his show before introducing Hadley to hear his story.
“But the Prime Minister’s office has been in touch and they say he used the word ‘way’. He was trying to say ‘regardless of how people voted’.
“When we played it yesterday, Ray Hadley suspected he had misspoke. I accept the PM’s version of events.
“It’s more likely he was trying to say how people voted, rather than saying what it looked like, how white people voted.”
“So,” says the Prime Minister’s Office, “if you look at Hansard, the word ‘lane’ is there, not white, and it makes more sense.
“When you watch the vision and listen to the audio, it appears the word ‘white’ was used, but I accept the Prime Minister’s Office’s version of events.”
2GB’s Ben Fordham was also involved in the row on Wednesday, but said he accepted the Prime Minister’s version of what was said.
Hadley always insisted on his show that the Prime Minister should be honest and admit his mistake.
“We’re not suggesting he did it deliberately,” he said. “What we are suggesting is that he made a mistake.”
Hadley believes the Prime Minister’s Office then forced Hansard to change the record to the sanitized version it published, which was strongly refuted by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Maybe he meant ‘which way people voted,’ but it didn’t happen that way,” Hadley said.
“I’m sorry. Hansard may report ‘it doesn’t matter which way’, but that’s what the Prime Minister actually said in Parliament.
“He visibly turned blue and all of a sudden, ‘How dare you question our integrity?’ How dare you? Of course we wouldn’t change Hansard.
‘No. Someone had to intervene. He made a mistake. I’m not crucifying him, but I’ll tell you: they’re very sensitive after what happened this weekend.
“They obviously didn’t sleep…”