Chris Bowen accuses Scott Morrison of ‘shocking lack of judgment’ over links to QAnon conspiracy theorist

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Scott Morrison has been accused of a “shocking lack of judgment” after a Four Corners episode claimed a conspiracy theorist influenced his apology to victims of child sexual abuse.

The program said Tim Stewart, a friend of Mr Morrison and QAnon conspiracy theorist, regularly visited Kirribilli House during Mr Morrison’s prime ministership, while his wife was employed as a household attendant at Kirribilli until last year.

The far-right cult, listed by the FBI as a domestic terror threat, claims a group of elite, left-wing Satanic pedophiles secretly run the world and attempted to undermine former US president Donald Trump.

Four Corners included texts from Mr Stewart to an associate implying Mr Morrison would include the phrase “ritual sexual abuse” in his October 2018 apology to victims of child sexual abuse.

The phrase, used by QAnon believers to propagate its conspiracy, subsequently appeared in the speech.

RELATED: ABC Four Corners episode linking Scott Morrison to QAnon ‘may very well air’

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen said he was “appalled” by the revelations and declared Mr Morrison had “very serious questions” to answer.

“I thought and believe that Four Corners has provided a compelling case that the Prime Minister has engaged in a shocking lack of judgment in relation to QAnon,” he said on Tuesday.

“The Prime Minister is entitled to personal relationships, and he’s not accountable for the political views of his friends. He is accountable for allowing his friends to have input to important government statements as Prime Minister of Australia.”

Mr Bowen said Four Corners had established Mr Stewart impacted the speech, describing the presence of the phrase as an “amazing coincidence”.

“They provided text messages, they provided enough evidence to show that the Prime Minister has very serious questions to answer. No politician of any side should have any truck in any dealings with QAnon,” he said.

“If the Prime Minister of this country has allowed a discredited conspiracy group … to have input to government statements, then that is a matter of the most serious grievance.”

Labor senator Penny Wong has repeatedly grilled government officials over Mr Morrison’s links to Mr Stewart and, by extension, the QAnon conspiracy.

Mr Bowen said the government “has failed on every single occasion to provide proper answers” and continued to do so.

NCA NewsWire has contacted the Prime Minister’s office for comment.

In a statement before the program aired on Monday, a spokesman for Mr Morrison dismissed the allegations as a “politically motivated slur” against the Prime Minister and his family.

“Four Corners … is already facing serious questions about the accuracy, bias and credibility of its journalism, that is now giving credence to irrational Twitter conspiracy theorists and raising the profile of what the Prime Minister clearly deems a discredited and dangerous fringe group,” they said.

In his only public comments on the matter, Mr Morrison flatly rejected “deeply offensive” attempts to link him to QAnon.

“I find it deeply offensive that there would be any suggestion that I would have any involvement or support for such a dangerous organisation. I clearly do not,” he said in June.

“It is also disappointing that Four Corners in their inquiries would seek to cast this aspersion, not just against me but members of my own family. I just think that is really poor form.”

The program was initially slated to run a week earlier but was upwardly referred to ABC managing director David Anderson, who suggested “concern over some areas” and elements “to be strengthened within the story”.

Mr Anderson said the program was not referred to him “with concern” and backed the “outstanding” Four Corners team, led by Walkley winners Sally Neighbour and Louise Milligan.



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