19/12/2008: 15/09/2008 NEWS: Broadcaster Alan Jones returns to Radio 2GB after undergoing prostate surgery. Pic. Stephen Cooper
19/12/2008: 15/09/2008 NEWS: Broadcaster Alan Jones returns to Radio 2GB after undergoing prostate surgery. Pic. Stephen Cooper

‘Appalling’: Jones slams billionaire Twiggy

Broadcaster Alan Jones has made a blistering attack on Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest saying the billionaire must apologise to the nation.

Jones said Mr Forrest's "stunt" with a Chinese official at a press conference had angered Australians.

The 2GB presenter devoted more than 15 minutes in an excoriating summation of Mr Forrest's alleged actions surrounding Wednesday's conference with Victoria and Tasmania consul general to China, Long Zhou.

At the conference, attended by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, Mr Zhou spoke about how China had shared information about coronavirus in an "open, transparent and responsible manner".

Describing Mr Zhou's speech as "spilling propaganda", Jones criticised Mr Forrest, saying he had "blindsided" Mr Hunt by giving Mr Zhou the podium "without permission".

"This is appalling stuff," Jones fumed.

"Enough is enough of this grandstanding. What could prompt Andrew Forrest to do what he did?"

Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and consul general Long Zhou at the Melbourne press conference on Wednesday. Picture: James Ross
Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and consul general Long Zhou at the Melbourne press conference on Wednesday. Picture: James Ross

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Jones quoted a press release from Mr Forrest's office which said: "Let's show support for China."

"Support for China?" Jones asked.

"When they are responsible for telling lies about infecting three million people around the world, responsible for a quarter of a million deaths."

The press conference at which Mr Zhou spoke took place in Melbourne to announce the fact Mr Forrest was donating 10 million coronavirus testing kits he had bought from China to Australia's states and territories.

After playing a portion of Mr Zhou's speech on air, which included the words, "We're all in this together," Jones said, "This bloke's kidding isn't he?

"And Greg Hunt and us had to listen to this crap.

"Millions of people have tested positive, a quarter of million have died.

"And I might add while all this is going on, while this blabbermouth in Melbourne, there's Beijing in the middle of a global pandemic trying to exert unilateral control of areas in the south China sea disputed by others.

Jones claimed Mr Forrest had ‘blindsided’ Health Minister Greg Hunt (left) by giving Long Zhou (right) the podium. Picture: James Ross
Jones claimed Mr Forrest had ‘blindsided’ Health Minister Greg Hunt (left) by giving Long Zhou (right) the podium. Picture: James Ross

"All of this with Andrew Forrest beside him. 'We're all in this together.'

"Of course it's a wonderful market for Andrew Forrest's iron ore exports."

Jones also cast doubt on whether the testing kits purchased by Mr Forrest "actually pass muster".

"There are very significant international concerns about whether they meet the requisite standard," he said.

Jones exhorted Mr Forrest to "start telling China the truth and speaking on behalf of angry Australians, and people are angry".

The letter he read out from a listener accused Mr Forrest of "talking through the lens of his own business interests and to that end just revealed himself to be another Sam Dastyari".

Sam Dastyari is the former senator who resigned in January 2018 amid a Chinese-related donations scandal.

Mr Forrest has denied blindsiding Mr Hunt with Mr Zhou's introduction to the podium.

candace.suttton@news.com.au

Originally published as 'Appalling': Jones slams billionaire Twiggy

Broadcaster Alan Jones slammed Andrew Forrest and said he should apologise to Australia for the press conference. Picture: Stephen Cooper
Broadcaster Alan Jones slammed Andrew Forrest and said he should apologise to Australia for the press conference. Picture: Stephen Cooper

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