Mystery surrounds detention of SA Liberal senator Antic in his home state
SA Liberal senator Alex Antic has been forced into 14 days of quarantine at an Adelaide medi-hotel after arriving from Canberra on Thursday when federal parliament finished sitting for the year.
The process for Antic's forced quarantine is usually implemented when unvaccinated travellers enter the state.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed his disappointment in Senator Antic for misleading him about his vaccination status, after the South Australian senator was detained in hotel quarantine. Last week, Mr Morrison told Adelaide radio Senator Antic was double-dose vaccinated and said he had been advised by Senator Antic that he was fully immunised. On Friday the prime minister clarified that he was "disappointed" he was misled by Senator Antic and that Mr Morrison's radio statement wasn't corrected by the senator. Mr Morrison told reporters on Friday:
"That was certainly my understanding that he had been double vaccinated, and I had discussed vaccinations and made it very clear that that's what I understood,"
"I was surprised to learn that, it's as simple as that. I was advised he was double vaccinated."
Speaking first to Flow on Friday morning, Antic divulged that a journalist had been tipped-off that he would be directed into a medi-hotel upon his arrival at Adelaide Airport and said he was troubled by the latest developments he was engulfed in.
"Who would know who tipped the journalist off?".
"Obviously if you join the dots on what's going on here you can see that in a 24-hour period, we had SA Health shut down parliament, effectively the sovereign body of this state and then organise for me to be put into a medi-hotel...it just sort of doesn't really stack up in any other light other than this is a message to those who want to speak out."
"I don't know who did it, I don't know why but the information that was contained in the journalist's text really was inside information, so it's very interesting to note."
Listen to Friday morning's first interview with Senator Antic on the FlowNews24 podcast:
Antic has emerged as a vocal denouncer of vaccination mandates in recent months, speaking at protests in Adelaide and withholding his Senate vote from his government until it takes a stronger stance on the mandates.
The first-term SA Liberal senator suggested that the cloudy circumstances he has been swept up in should concern the public:
"I don't think I'm any Nelson Mandela or Malcolm X as the case may be, but look, no, I think there is a worrying operation here."
"I mean you can't look at this through any other lens other than simply, why the change in approach when I've been quarantining at home? How did the journalist find out? Why were there cameras at the airport? And what is the purpose of this in circumstances were I pose absolutely no risk and certainly no more risk than anybody else who's coming in."
South Australian Labor senator Penny Wong weighed into Senator Antic's vaccination status, tweeting:
Senator Antic told FlowFM listeners on Friday morning:
"I mean regardless of the vaccination status, whatever it may be, we've got people who are vaccinated that are bringing COVID into the state, we know that, that's how it got here, so the issue of whether somebody is vaccinated or not is a non-issue, you still transmit the disease regardless."
"It's very worrying, I'm very worried about where we're headed and I'm very worried about the bureaucratic overreach and look the reality is here, in many instances if the health bureaucracy can get to me, they can get to anyone."
SA Health and the state health minister Stephen Wade MLC have been contacted for comment but had not responded at all before deadline.
The developments come after 18 new cases of COVID-19 were discovered in South Australia on Thursday.
The suburb of Norwood in the state's east is where sixteen cases were exposed last weekend at what is reported to have been a school reunion.
All of those who contracted the virus at the Norwood event had received two doses of TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Among the infected is former South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, whose case brought State Parliament to a brief halt on Thursday on SA Health advice. Parliament later resumed, with the House of Assembly rising and adjourning until May - after the state election. However, the Legislative Council majority forced the Council to resume sitting in February - something long-term SA Liberal MLC Rob Lucas told FlowNews24 was unprecedented in the month before a state election.
-- with AAP