A furious Ray Hadley has broken from his summer holidays to suggest summer fill-in radio presenter Joe Hildebrand’s job is at risk – after he repeated the commonly held medical wisdom that Australians shouldn’t fear Omicron.
The veteran broadcaster is holidaying on the Gold Coast in Queensland but took time out to call into the 2GB drive show on Wednesday, where Channel Nine news reporter Chris O’Keefe was filling in for regular Jim Wilson.
While speaking to O’Keefe, Hadley attacked Hildebrand, who is filling in on the station’s afternoon shift for Deborah Knight over the Christmas-New Year period, over an interview with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.
Hadley, who is a Covid doomsayer, slammed the NSW leader as ‘arrogant’ for dropping major Covid restrictions just in time for the Christmas holidays – and was equally scathing of his own colleague.
Radio host Ray Hadley (pictured with his wife Sophie) has launched a furious tirade at Dominic Perrottet accusing him of being ‘arrogant’ while defending his decision to drop major restrictions
‘As someone who’s led the station for the last 18 months to make sure that the Covid message got out there, the last thing I need is a fill-in getting on-air and telling people, ‘Oh it’s no worry.’
‘The last person to say that, Joe, was Alan Jones… have a look where he’s currently employed.’
Jones currently runs a digital TV show on Facebook.
Hadley said he would be having ‘a private word’ with Hildebrand.
‘For god’s sake, use a bit of a common sense. Don’t offer any support to the anti-vaxxers by simply saying, oh no, look, there’s no problem here, 60,000, 600,000, it doesn’t matter, we’ll all get through this.
‘We’ll get through it, yes, but we need a more measured approach than we have at the moment and we can’t have the Premier of the state coming on our radio station saying, ‘I’m going to dispel the myths.’
‘I listened to the interview and there were no myths dispelled, it was all piss and wind.’
‘I have nothing but kind words to say about all my beloved colleagues here at 2GB,’ Joe Hildebrand laughed when contacted by Daily Mail Australia
Joe Hildebrand declined to comment on Hadley’s remarks when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.
‘I have nothing but kind words to say about all my beloved colleagues here at 2GB,’ he laughed.
It’s understood Hadley has not yet contacted Hildebrand directly about the interview.
Hildebrand denied that he was at odds with Hadley’s support for Covid restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
‘The only message I’m promoting is the message of the NSW government, the federal Government and the national chief medical officer,’ he said.
‘I’m triple-vaxxed myself. I’ve been incredibly critical of anti-vaxxers. I wrote somewhere that people who aren’t rushing to be vaccinated could no longer be considered decent members of society.
‘Australia’s higher vaccination rate is one of the great success stories of the pandemic and why we’ll be able to weather the latest outbreak.
‘I would welcome any discussion with any of my colleagues.’
Hadley didn’t hold back when he called in to discuss the NSW Premier’s bold decision to drop mask-wearing and QR codes just in time for the festive season.
Following a surge in Covid caseloads caused by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, these health measures have already made a swift return in NSW.
Hadley told co-host Chris O’Keefe he nearly ‘fell out of his chair’ when the premier announced plans to ease additional rules following an emergency cabinet meeting, and later insisted he had no regrets despite the Christmas chaos that ensued.
‘All of us make mistakes particularly under pressure,’ the radio host said.
‘And to say yesterday that he would do nothing different means there’s an arrogance of touch to this premiership, which is almost breathtaking.’
He claimed the 70,000 odd active cases in the state could be tripled or even quadrupled given most NSW residents had almost given up trying to get tested.
Requirements for a test to travel interstate, for close contacts and for people experiencing Covid symptoms has overwhelmed testing facilities and caused wait times of up to six hours over the festive season.
This is despite the same number of tests, and sometimes fewer, being conducted in the last week as during the winter lockdown – pointing to an issue with staffing over the Christmas period.
‘This is all on the back of this bloke deciding that on December 15 that we open the floodgates. Everything is hunky dory,’ Hadley said sarcastically.
He said that for Mr Perrottet to tell his co-host Joe Hildebrand the day previously he didn’t regret dropping restrictions when he did was the ‘definition of insanity’.
The state leader has repeatedly defended his decision to relieve residents of tough restrictions and reopen the state, recently encouraging New Year’s celebrations.
Following a surge in Covid caseloads caused by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant measures like masks and QR codes have returned to NSW (pictured, revellers in Sydney after restrictions lifted)
Mr Perrottet has cited the number of ICU admissions as evidence the Omicron variant is not as severe as previous strains, and said hospitals were coping well.
There are 746 Covid patients in hospital as of Thursday, rising from 347 a week ago – an increase of 115 per cent in just seven days.
While a much lower percentage of Omicron patients seem to end up in hospital compared to those with Delta, due to Omicron’s much higher transmissibility there are many more people infected – meaning even if a smaller fraction are hospitalised, it may lead to greater numbers overall.
Typically, increasing case numbers are not reflected in hospitalisation rates for around two weeks, meaning the true extent of this new wave may not been seen until well into the new year.
In a quick u-turn on December 23, Mr Perrottet announced masks would be required in indoor settings and reintroduced the two square metre rule in venues.
Mr Perrottet (pictured) has repeatedly defended his decision to relieve residents of tough restrictions and reopen the state, recently encouraging New Year’s celebrations
Radio host Ray Hadley didn’t hold back when he called in to discuss the bold decision to drop mask-wearing and QR codes before Christmas (pictured, a shopper checks in with a QR code)
‘Yes ICU (admissions) are down, but big deal,’ Hadley said.
‘The economic cost because the boy Premier decided he knew more on December 15 and a week later, what did he do?
‘Seven days after he made the decision, he reversed a decision he should never have made in the first place.
‘I know one thing: this will cost him the premiership in 2023.’
The premier has defended his decision to axe QR codes as as part of the state’s plan to ‘learn to live alongside the virus’ and said use of the measures would ‘dissipate’.
It comes as Mr Perrottet confirmed PCR tests would be scrapped for rapid antigen tests would be scrapped to ease ‘substantial pressure’ on the state’s testing system.
‘From our state’s perspective, to move away from overseas travellers requiring to be PCR-tested on return – we’ll move to a rapid antigen test there,’ told 2GB.
Currently in NSW people travelling from overseas must receive a PCR test within 24 hours of their arrival and self-isolate until they are notified of a negative result.
Mr Perrottet has cited the number of ICU admissions as evidence the Omicron variant is not as severe as previous strains and said hospitals were coping well (pictured, shoppers in Sydney)
AUSTRALIA’S NEW COVID RULES
Who should get a PCR test? Anyone who has symptoms or who has got a positive rapid antigen test
New definition of close contact: Someone who has spent at least four hours in a household or a care facility with a positive case. Workplaces do not count.
New isolation period: Positive people and close contacts must isolate for seven days or 10 in SA. This is regardless of whether the close contacts test negative or not
Timing: NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT will implement the changes at midnight.
Tasmania will follow on January 1 while the Northern Territory and Western Australia will not adopt the scheme until they get more Covid cases in the weeks ahead.
Meanwhile, Covid-positive patients and close contacts will only have to isolate for seven days after most state premiers agreed to new rules on Thursday.
Across most of the country, a close contact will now be defined as someone who has spent at least four hours in an ‘accommodation setting’ such as a household or a care facility with a positive case.
Close contacts with symptoms must have a PCR test but if they have no symptoms they can use a rapid antigen test.
They must isolate for seven days since their contact with the positive person – even if they test negative – and can leave isolation on day seven if they test negative on day six.
If a workplace, such as an office has a positive case, the contacts don’t need to isolate, just monitor symptoms.
All Australians, whether they have come into contact with an infected person or not, are still encouraged to get a PCR test if they develop any Covid symptoms.
The new rules will also be welcomed by employers, especially hospitality venues, who are finding it increasingly hard to find staff because of the growing outbreak.
Covid-positive patients and close contacts will only have to isolate for seven days after most state premiers agreed to new rules on Thursday (pictured, bar-goers in Sydney)
NSW recorded 12,226 new Covid cases on Thursday, up from 11,201 on Wednesday, with 746 people currently hospitals and 63 patients in ICU (pictured, revellers in Sydney)
NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT will implement the changes on Friday morning at midnight.
South Australia will adopt the new close contact definition – but keep a 10-day isolation rule in place.
Tasmania will adopt the new rules on January 1, while the Northern Territory and Western Australia will not adopt the definition until they get high Covid caseloads.
‘I am confident that this is the best way to manage the Omicron pandemic,’ Mr Morrison said.
NSW recorded 21,151 new Covid cases on Friday, up from 12,226 on Thursday, with 832 people currently in hospital 69 patients in ICU and six deaths in the past 24 hours.
Source: Daily Mail