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PM Denies His Government Has A Problem With Islam

Despite both having tickets to the AFL on Thursday night, Scott Morrison and Waleed Aly made time for a pre-match verbal stoush.

In an uncommon journalistic move, Aly intially allowed the PM to freely take the microphone for a two-minute spiel.

The Gold-Logie winner then cut to the chase with what he felt was the heart of the debate.

"Does Australia have a problem with Islamophobia?" he asked.

"I don’t know if Australia understands Islam very well, and that can often lead to fear of things you don’t understand. That doesn’t always translate into extremism," Morrison replied.

Aly then asked if Scott Morrison's Coalition government had a problem with Islamophobia.

"No I don't believe the Liberal party does... I can't speak for the National party," he said.

IMAGE: Morrison and Aly discussing Islamophobia

"Our party is made up of a lot of individuals and in our party, individuals have a lot more freedom to say what they thin than a lot of other parties. And it is not for the party to answer for every single member on every single occasion.

"The best way for me to address any problem is to lead by my own example."

The Prime Minister then did some of his own cutting to the chase.

"Waleed, the other night you were very emotional and I'm sure you may have said some things about me that, based on our conversations since, you think may have been a bit over the top."

The journalist did not deny or accept that statement, moving on to grill the PM about his preferences at the upcoming Federal Election.

Aly asked how closely the Coalition will align with One Nation given Pauline Hanson said Islam is a "disease" that Australia needs to "vaccinate".

"Will you at the very least commit in every seat to putting them below Labor and the Greens?"

"We are going to make these decisions at the time nominations close and we will apply those decisions at that time as a party organisation," Morrison said.

Aly asked again.

"All I'm saying at this stage is that we will never do a preference deal with One Nation, and that we will settle those matters at the time of the nominations closing when we know who all the candidates are."

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The 30-minute back and forth, ironically aired on Harmony Day, was just the first of two big interviews for Aly in the wake of the Christchurch atrocity.

Aly's interview with the New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern will air on the Project on Monday.

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au