SUNRISE presenter Natalie Barr was caught in the crossfire of a fiery spray against Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.
The politician was the subject of discussion in a segment on Tuesday’s show after it was revealed he had amassed $3.6 million from tax-funded VIP flights.
Political editor Samantha Maiden discussed the controversy with Nat on the air and didn’t hold back. She called Marles a “pompous jerk” and “embarrassing”.
She said to Nat, “I mean, it’s really easy. It’s really important, transparency.”
“If you spend $3.6 million on these RAAF flights in just over a year, you’re telling voters where you’re flying and who’s on the plane.”
“And so of course we found out, for example, that Bronwyn Bishop had hired a helicopter to Geelong and that former Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was taking VIP flights to the Melbourne Cup.”
She said “voters have a right to know,” adding the situation was “ridiculous” and Marles should be forced “to take a close look at himself.”
Nat mentioned that Marles had declined to answer questions about whether he took his golf clubs on any of the 70 RAAF VIP flights he was said to have taken.
She said, “Because that would indicate that maybe he would do something funny.”
Maiden agreed it was “silly,” explaining, “He’s already been photographed playing golf on some of these trips in a perfectly legitimate way – you know, making contacts with foreign dignitaries – the photos exist.”
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“So stop being a pompous jerk about this and do your job and tell the voters where you’re going.”
“It is ridiculous. It’s embarrassing.”
Nat seemed surprised by Maiden’s anger.
She said, “That ‘pompous idiot’ quote – strong words from Samantha Maiden.”
This comes after Nat himself fell out on Monday’s show with opposition leader Peter Dutton over his proposal to hold a second referendum to recognize indigenous people in their constitution without appointing an advisory council.
Nat challenged him: “How will the lives of the indigenous people change then?”
“Twenty percent live in poverty. Almost a third of that.”The population is indigenous.
“You know, with those terrible stats, you can go on. How would people’s lives change?”
Dutton said he believes change is “about leadership in local communities” and that more “hands-on help” is needed to make a meaningful difference.
No one shying away from giving her a voice Nat has previously blasted Prince William for refusing to travel to Australia for the Women’s World Cup and instead posted a short video message.,
She told viewers at the time: “You would have thought this would be easy and he’s doing the video with Charlotte which is beautiful…”
“But it’s really like five minutes and he could have been out here at such a massive, massive event.”