The Prime Minister has been pushing for action on wildlife wet markets because of their potential to be the source of disease outbreaks.

“I think everybody is extremely sensitive at the moment about the pandemic. We are all going through our own crises in trying to deal with COVID-19, so in that regard some of the unfortunate rhetoric that’s going round I don’t really think is helpful.”
US intelligence officials said a scientific analysis had ruled out the virus was man-made but they were continuing to investigate its exact origins, including whether it had been released from a research lab, which Mr Trump and other senior administration officials have speculated on.
Most scientists believe the virus crossed over from animals to humans in a Wuhan wet market, where live exotic species are sold alongside domesticated animals for human consumption. Mr Morrison has been pushing for action on wildlife wet markets because of their potential to be the source of disease outbreaks.
Speaking following Friday’s national cabinet meeting, Mr Morrison said his proposed inquiry would address the conjecture over the source of the virus but there was no hard evidence to back up the lab theory.
“There is nothing we have that would indicate that was the likely source,” he said.
“We can’t rule anything out in these environments. We know it started in China. We know it’s started in Wuhan. The most likely scenario that has been canvassed relates to wildlife wet markets, but that’s a matter that would have to be thoroughly assessed.”
Earlier, Mr Morrison chided Mr Forrest after the mining magnate blindsided Health Minister Greg Hunt at a press conference on Wednesday by inviting the Chinese consul-general for Victoria, Zhou Long, to attend and speak.
“When it comes to foreign affairs advice, I’ll take my foreign affairs advice from Foreign Affairs officials,” Mr Morrison said.
“The Consul was not invited by the Commonwealth to that press conference.”
While senior ministers and backbenchers have been furious over the stunt, Mr Forrest issued a statement on Friday denying he had hijacked or ambushed Mr Hunt.
“I have a long and collaborative relationship with many ministers, including Minister Hunt who knew that I wanted a representative of China to be at the event,” he said.
“When given the choice on the day, the Minister agreed the Consul General could speak. Minister Hunt is a decisive leader, and this was not a pressured environment.”
Mr Turnbull said if the business community could not publicly support the Australian government, at least it should pass on its advice privately.
“Being out there publicly in effect taking China’s side in a diplomatic dispute, all it does is encourage China to say, ‘Yeah we just stand up there and we threaten trade consequences. The Australian business community fold. That’s terrific’. They would be very gratified to see that result,” he said.
“If you are simply just an echo chamber, a sycophant, you will be taken for granted. It will win you no respect. When you get into a dispute like this a bit of solidarity is really appreciated.”
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox also criticised Mr Forrest’s stunt.
“To have the Chinese ambassador making the bellicose statements that he did about Australia is quite frankly laughable and does him no credit and to have Chinese envoys invited on to the stage with Australian ministers is sadly opportunistic,” he said.