Mark McGowan has abandoned plans to wear full PPE including gloves and goggles to a virtual cabinet meeting after he was ruthlessly mocked by a Perth newspaper.
The Western Australian premier has travelled to Sydney to give evidence in the Federal Court for an ongoing defamation battle with mining magnate Clive Palmer.
Mr McGowan vowed to do hotel quarantine for seven days following his trip east, despite not being required to under his own Covid travel rules.
WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) has abandoned plans to wear full PPE gear to a virtual cabinet meeting on Friday after he was mocked by a Perth newspaper
In anticipation of a national cabinet meeting on Friday, Mr McGowan said he planned to travel to Dumas House wearing the protective clothing after spending time in Sydney this week (pictured, a nurse prepares a rapid antigen test in Perth)
In anticipation of a national cabinet meeting on Friday, Mr McGowan said he planned to travel to Dumas House wearing the protective clothing.
He had made several attempts to set up a secure link from his hotel room but was unsuccessful, resulting in a bizarre plan involving the use of full PPE gear.
The West Australian splashed details of the stunt across its front page under the headline ‘Oh, For Mark’s Sake’.
But after seeing the report on the early version of the front page on Sunday evening, the mortified premier backflipped on his decision.
Mr McGowan’s office confirmed the premier would instead wear only a mask and join the parliamentary meeting remotely via video link.
The WA leader is scheduled to give evidence in the Federal Court starting Monday after defamation action was launched against him by Mr Palmer.
He was originally due to give evidence between February 26 and 28, but Justice Michael Lee postponed his appearance for a week until WA’s border reopened.
The West Australian splashed details of the stunt across its front page under the headline ‘Oh, For Mark’s Sake’
The West Australian reports that after reading their newspaper’s front page on Sunday evening, the mollified premier backflipped on his decision to wear the PPE gear
NEW RESTRICTIONS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
From 12.01am on March 3:
Home gatherings are limited to 10 people
Weddings and funerals in the outdoor area of a private home can have up to 150 people with the 2 sqm rule
Masks for children in Years 3 to 6 added
Major venues with forward-facing seats such as Optus Stadium capped at 50 per cent
All public outdoor events in WA will be capped at 500 people
Aged care and disability services will be restricted to two visitors per resident each day
His lawyers previously requested Mr McGowan give evidence virtually from Perth, but this was denied.
The WA border reopened for quarantine-free international and interstate travel for vaccinated visitors on March 3, meaning Mr McGowan is not subject to Covid restrictions when he re-enters his state.
However, it is understood the premier will stick to his original plan of self-imposed hotel quarantine for seven days.
‘This is outside my control. This was initiated by the court. That’s the court’s decision and I don’t have any control over that,’ Mr McGowan said last week.
‘I’ve decided that I’ll still do the quarantine period afterwards – even though I’m not required to – just to remove any argument that somehow this has been manipulated in my favour.’
Mr Palmer is suing Mr McGowan claiming public comments, including labelling him the ‘enemy of West Australia’, made in July 2020 had damaged his reputation.
The premier has lodged a counter-claim, accusing the billionaire of defaming him in several interviews.
Lawyers have argued over the meaning implied by each of the statements in question after playing footage from media conferences Mr McGowan held in July and August 2020 and interviews Mr Palmer gave around the same time.
Loved ones were reunited for the first time in 697 days last Thursday after the isolated western state finally reopened to international arrivals.
Travellers touched down on 22 domestic flights and five international flights, with tens of thousands expected to follow in coming weeks.
Mr Palmer (pictured on February 14) is suing Mr McGowan claiming public comments, including labelling him the ‘enemy of West Australia’, had damaged his reputation
The West Australian Premier will travel to Sydney to give evidence in the Federal Court for an ongoing defamation battle with mining magnate Clive Palmer (pictured, law courts in Sydney)
Mr McGowan faces growing backlash over strict ‘level two’ statewide public health restrictions that came into effect last Thursday.
Children as young as eight will be required to wear face masks in public, while home gatherings are limited to 10 people under rules expected to remain for a month.
New capacity limits have threatened the viability of some larger hospitality venues and events, with the music industry slamming the tough rules.
Artists such as Missy Higgins, Birds of Tokyo, Jimmy Barnes and Midnight Oil have expressed doubts they can perform in WA due to capacity limits.
On Sunday, WA reported 2,270 new cases and 26 patients in hospital.