Prime Minister Anthony Albanese under fire for spending more time at the Australian Open than in Alice Springs amid crime crisis
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was believed to be “chugging beer” and enjoying the Australian Open final after traveling to crime-ridden Alice Springs for a short trip.
Mr Albanese spent the weekend in Melbourne attending three nights of tennis in a row, enjoying Friday’s semi-final, Saturday’s women’s final and Sunday’s men’s final.
In contrast, the Prime Minister spent just four hours on the ground in Alice Springs last Tuesday, where rising youth crime has made national headlines.
Paul Fletcher, manager of opposition business, criticized the timing of Mr. Albanese’s tennis trip is in question due to the pressing issue of rampant crime in the Northern Territory.
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“It’s a perfectly reasonable question. The prime minister has spent a lot of time at the tennis … but there are pressing issues relating to the safety of Indigenous Australians in Alice Springs,” he told Sky News Australia on Tuesday.
“Let’s see some focus from the Prime Minister on this pressing issue of public safety.”
Melbourne radio presenter Neil Mitchell was even scathing as he interviewed Labour’s Bill Shorten, comparing the behavior to that of his predecessor’s terribly timed trip to Hawaii.
“I’m not denying he should go to tennis, it’s a good thing. But three days and a few hours in Alice Springs. We have a real crisis there,” Mr Mitchell said on 3AW on Tuesday.
“The prime minister must do something and he must be seen to do something. At least ScoMo paid his own way to Hawaii, we paid for Albo to go to tennis.”
Meanwhile, Senator Jacinta Price told The Herald Sun she found images of Mr. Albanians “chugging beer” and eating ice cream at the Australian Open an “insult and a kick in the gut”.
“For the people of Alice Springs to see the Prime Minister spend more time relaxing and sipping beer back at the tennis than he did on the ground in Alice Springs,” she said.
The Prime Minister was not the only famous face to attend Sunday’s spectacular Djokovic v Tsisipas final, with opposition leader Peter Dutton, Bill Gates and former pie boss Eddie McGuire also in the crowd.
Public Services Minister Bill Shorten defended Mr Albanese, saying he was a hard-working prime minister with his focus on Alice Springs.
“He is one of the hardest working guys I have ever met. He was working on Saturday, Lunar New Year celebrations in Box Hill. On Sunday he was in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, yesterday in St Kilda,” Mr. Shorten told Sky News Australia.
“It’s cheap politics. The main game is Alice Springs and that’s the prime minister’s priority.
“But the problems in Alice Springs are 25 years in the making and we take them seriously.”
After community outcry and national coverage, Mr Albanese visited Alice Springs on Tuesday afternoon and threw his support behind a number of government measures in the Northern Territory.
The pressure led to the re-introduction of a ban on the sale of takeaway alcohol on Mondays and Tuesdays over the next three months, as well as the restriction of transactions for customers.