Prime Minister Scott Morrison cancelled plans to appear on The Project on Monday after hearing Waleed Aly’s editorial last Friday on events in NZ.
Calling Aly’s comments “defamatory,” Morrison denies he ever urged his party to exploit concerns about Muslims in Australia for votes in a 2010 shadow cabinet meeting.
The claims were first reported by journalist Lenore Taylor in the Sydney Morning Herald.
With Aly in NZ interviewing PM Jacinda Ardern, it was left to Hamish Macdonald to respond on his behalf.
“We offered Mr Morrison the opportunity to respond live on this desk when he was due to appear on this program on Monday,” Macdonald said.
“Not only did he decline but his media team pulled him out of the scheduled appearance altogether.
“Obviously, two months out from an election, this is being dragged into an ugly political fight.”
Macdonald said journalist Lenore Taylor stood by her original story and the programme has an open invitation for Morrison to appear.
10 has been contacted for comment.