Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison would like the world to know that he didn’t shit his pants at McDonald’s after attending a rugby match in 1997. Why would Morrison bring up such a thing? It’s better than talking about the covid-19 situation in Australia right now.
The Prime Minister’s alleged pants-shitting incident became a meme in 2019 and street artists had a field day, even putting up a commemorative plaque at the McDonald’s location in Engadine, New South Wales where it supposedly happened.
But the Prime Minister told an Australian radio show on Thursday, Kyle and Jackie O, that he never soiled himself in a McDonald’s. As the Australian newspaper notes, the discussion was largely about typical stuff you might hear from a politician on the radio before things started to get weird.
“Can I clear up one thing?” Morrison asked the hosts before referring to the incident as the “biggest urban myth ever.”
“The Macca’s thing?” one of the radio hosts asked, using Australia’s slang term for McDonald’s.
“That you pooed your pants at the Endagine McDonald’s...” the other host helpfully chimed in.
“It’s complete and utter rubbish. I found the whole thing incredibly amusing, and we’ve always joked about it amongst our team here as we’ve driven by it, asking ‘Do you want to pop in for a Big Mac?’,” insisted Morrison, a man not known for his sense of humor.
Meanwhile, Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are now in lockdown over a surging coronavirus pandemic and low vaccination rates against covid-19. After long stretches with virtually no covid-19 detected in the country, the state of New South Wales is currently reporting between 50-100 cases of coronavirus each day, a nightmare for residents who understand exponential growth can make those numbers become even more substantial in the coming days and weeks.
Sadly, Australia’s ballooning coronavirus infections can largely be blamed on the federal government’s completely botched vaccine rollout. Morrison’s government planned on three vaccines for Australia: One developed locally at the University of Queensland, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which was to be used primarily for health care workers, and the UK’s AstraZeneca vaccine for the general population. But it all went to shit.
The University of Queensland’s vaccine gave trial participants false positives for HIV tests, there wasn’t enough Pfizer to go around, and Australia’s version of the FDA warned that AstraZeneca sometimes (although rarely) caused a blood clot disorder in younger people that could be fatal. The condition was extremely rare, but it still scared enough Australians that few people can get vaccinated right now. Morrison simply didn’t order enough Pfizer for every Australian.
Which brings Australia to where it is today, with just 9% of its population fully vaccinated—the worst vaccination rate among wealthy countries in the world. Compare that with over 48% of Americans fully vaccinated, and over 52% of British people.
No wonder Prime Minister Morrison would rather talk about allegedly shitting his pants. It’s less embarrassing than his vaccine rollout.