One of ABC’s best known presenters has apologised to Daniel Andrews‘ devoted fanbase after they called for him to be sacked over a question he asked. 

ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland became the story on Monday morning when he asked the Victorian premier ahead of the state election on November 26 if he was worried voters wanted to ‘punish’ him for the pandemic.

Melbourne endured the world’s longest lockdown after spending a cumulative 262 days, or almost nine months, under stay-at-home orders between 2020 and 2021. 

‘Do you accept there are voters out there, possibly a lot of voters and possibly a lot of voters in Labor-held seats, waiting with their figurative baseball bats wanting to punish you for the lockdowns and other Covid measures in Victoria?’ said Rowland.

Daniel Andrews (pictured right with his wife Catherine) faced some tough questions on ABC on Monday morning

The ‘baseball bat’ reference is a common political term that started in 1996 when then-Labor prime minister Paul Keating led his party to a landslide loss at the federal election, when voters said they had been ‘waiting for him with baseball bats’.

Despite the common term and fair question, the premier’s staunch supporters took to Twitter to vent their anger on Monday, with some even demanding that Rowland be sacked for daring to question Andrews in that manner.   

‘Another ABC show that is unwatchable. Michael Rowland – what in the hell happened to your soul,’ one wrote.

‘It is a sackable offence and he should be terminated immediately,’ said a second.

‘Kinda sad when the media talks about baseball bats for lockdowns, when so many other people accepted that strong health measures were necessary (even if unpopular),’ a third wrote.

Another was so outraged, she called on Rowland to ‘just f**k off’.

‘You guys are no better than 7 and 9 and 10 would be if 10 had a breakfast news show. Pathetic,’ she wrote.

The abuse seemed to have become too much for Rowland to bear, and at 6.15am on Tuesday he took to Twitter himself to back away from his interview.

‘Good morning! Thanks for the impressive amount of feedback yesterday,’ he wrote, accompanying the sentence with a sarcastic wink emoji.

‘On reflection, “baseball bats” wasn’t the best way of describing some of the voter anger in Victoria. 

‘It has been a common political expression but one that’s worth retiring. The campaign is ugly enough!,’ he wrote. 

ABC’s Michael Rowland (pictured) has been lambasted for his questioning of Daniel Andrews on Monday

Rowland’s efforts to take the heat out of the debate got more than 1,300 likes within a couple of hours, but some commenters were still not happy with him. 

‘The only people making it ugly are the media and you just piled on,’ one responder said. 

‘Shame on you treat your listeners with more respect and stop blaming them when you don’t get the results you want gutter journalism so sick of it.’

Another said simply ‘Yes and you attempted to make it uglier.’

ABC's Michael Rowland took to Twitter very early on Tuesday morning to roll back on his comments to Daniel Andrews that infuriated the Premier's supporters

ABC’s Michael Rowland took to Twitter very early on Tuesday morning to roll back on his comments to Daniel Andrews that infuriated the Premier’s supporters

But some were willing to forgive, with one saying ‘At least you admit your hypocrisy  after being critical of all the dirty and misinformation the media are piling on’.

Mr Andrews hit back at the ‘baseball’ question on Monday, saying he had made the ‘right’ decisions for Victoria.

‘Well, what I accept, Michael, is that I have a responsibility as the leader of this state not to do just the popular things, but to do the things that are right,’ he said.

‘And that meant that there were some very challenging decisions that had to be made. 

‘But people’s opinions, people’s views – that’s what elections are about. People will cast their votes … My job is to put forward a positive and optimistic plan. That’s what we’re doing.’

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (left) and and wife Catherine speak to the media on Friday, November 4, 2022. Victorians go to the polls on Saturday, November 26

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (left) and and wife Catherine speak to the media on Friday, November 4, 2022. Victorians go to the polls on Saturday, November 26



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