'That's absurd': Scott Morrison hits back after Michael Slater spray

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Michael Slater and Scott Morrison, pictured here talking to the media.
Michael Slater has blasted Scott Morrison over the India travel ban. Image: Getty

Scott Morrison has fired back at Michael Slater after the Australian cricket great savaged the Prime Ministerover the federal government's India travel ban.

Slater, who has been working as a commentator in the Indian Premier League, said the PM has 'blood on his hands' in a scathing social media post on Monday night.

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The 51-year-old had attempted to return home to Australia, only to be blocked by the travel ban and face a five-year jail term if he tried to get home.

“If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It’s a disgrace!!" Slater tweeted.

“Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. 

"How about you sort out quarantine system.

“I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect".

According to The Australian, Slater has instead travelled to the Maldives where he will wait until the travel ban is lifted.

After receiving backlash over his initial tweet, Slater posted again two hours later.

“And for those who think this is a money exercise. Well forget it," he wrote. 

"This is what I do for a living and I have not made a penny having left early. 

"So please stop the abuse and think of the thousands dying in India each day. 

"It’s called empathy. If only our government had some!”

Scott Morrison dismisses criticism of India travel ban

The PM dismissed Slater's comments on Tuesday morning.

"No, that's obviously absurd," he told the Nine Network.

"This is about getting more people home safely, preventing a third wave here in Australia."

The prime minister said the rapid escalation of cases arriving from India put enormous pressure on the quarantine regime but denied it showed the system's weakness.

"Every system is going to face its stresses and I'm not going to break the system," he said.

"What I'm going to do is take proportionate action to protect the system so I can bring more Australians home and keep Australians safe for the longer term."

Mr Morrison has committed to continually review the travel pause which is in place until May 15.

Several funeral pyres of people who died of Covid-19, pictured here during a mass cremation in New Delhi, India.
Several funeral pyres of people who died of Covid-19 seen during a mass cremation in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Pradeep Gaur/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

India recorded more than 300,000 new cases for a 12th straight day but medical experts warn the real number could be up to 10 times higher.

With the government attempting to tone down its rhetoric around fines and jail time, Mr Morrison said the powers were at the extreme end of the scale.

"The likelihood of any sanction, anything like that is extremely remote," he said.

Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten said Slater was saying what a lot of people were thinking.

"Mr Morrison should have created special quarantine facilities here. He's had 16 months. Michael Slater is just telling the truth," Mr Shorten told Nine.

The government imposed the ban using biosecurity laws based on advice from Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, who warned Australians could die in India during the pause.

There are about 9000 Australians in India who want to return home with 650 considered vulnerable.

Australia has provided medical and protective equipment to India, with an extra 1000 ventilators announced on Monday.

with AAP

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