Anthony Albanese has been slammed for spending three days ‘chugging beers’ at the Australian Open with his partner Jodie – after spending just hours in the lawless Outback town of Alice Springs.
The Prime Minister spent three nights in Melbourne last week – attending the tennis on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to watch the men’s final, the women’s final and a semi-final on Friday.
Mr Albanese flew in to Melbourne after spending just half a day in Alice Springs, in the red centre of the Northern Territory, on Tuesday – leading to him being slammed as the ‘FIFO (fly in, fly out) PM’.
The town has been grappling with a devastating youth-fuelled crime wave for weeks after the alcohol ban on the city was lifted.
Northern Territory Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who served as the former deputy mayor of Alice Springs, slammed the prime minister on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the tennis with his partner Jodie Haydon at the men’s singles final on Sunday
Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price said seeing the PM at the tennis was a ‘kick in the guts’ to Northern Territory locals
‘It’s an insult and a kick in the guts for the people of Alice Springs to see the PM spending more time relaxing and chugging back beers at the tennis than what he did on the ground in Alice Springs,’ Senator Price told reporters.
‘The threats and mayhem haven’t stopped.
‘We locals are subject to no longer being able to shop after 7pm as our shopping centres and town goes into lockdown.’
Warren Mundine, a former Labor Party national president and Liberal candidate, said he felt ‘really, really sick’ about seeing Mr Albanese at the tennis.
‘You’ve got all these people who are being abused … assaulted in the Northern Territory, and he (Albanese) spent three days lounging around the tennis courts, drinking beer and having a great time with mates,’ he said.
Both Senator Price and Mr Mundine called on the PM and Linda Burney, the minister for Indigenous Australians, to return to Alice Springs.
Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley said Mr Albanese spending ‘just four hours’ in Alice Springs but days at the tennis ‘didn’t pass the pub test’.
Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley said Anthony Albanese at the tennis ‘didn’t pass the pub test’
‘You don’t get to be a part-time prime minister,’ she said.
Their comments come as Twitter users took aim at the prime minister after he was photographed sitting next to former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello at the Australian Open women’s final on Saturday night in Melbourne.
Mr Albanese and Mr Costello looked very relaxed in each other’s company as they watched Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka win her first major against Elena Rybakina.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured right) and former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello were spotted sitting together at the Australian Open on Saturday night
Mr Costello and Mr Albanese appear to be earnest conversation during the Australia Open women’s final
Twitter users were anything but relaxed about the situation.
‘Reports of Albo cosying up to Peter Costello at the tennis makes me really uncomfortable,’ one wrote.
‘Look I’m cracking the sh**s because he was sitting next to Peter Costello,’ another said candidly.
‘You know what? I’m unsurprised. It makes me feel more than uncomfortable; it makes me feel nauseous,’ said another.
‘Your skin would crawl,’ another wrote.
Quite a few harked back to an old quote of Mr Albanese’s that he likes ‘fighting Tories (conservatives). That’s what I do.’
‘Albo sitting with Peter Costello at the tennis. This is what fighting Tories looks like, I guess?’ one Twitter user sarcastically noted.
The Prime Minister showed himself to be a dedicated tennis fan as he attended the Australian Open for three nights including Sunday night’s final where he pictured between partner Jodie Haydon (left) and Tennis Australia Chair Jayne Hrdlicka
Mr Costello was back at the tennis on Sunday night but this time sitting with Opposition Leader Peter Dutton
A few were quick to read political significance into the seating arrangement.
‘More proof Labor has become LNP lite…Also why was Albo sitting next to Peter Costello at the Women’s tennis final?’ one wrote.
Some tried to rationalise Mr Albanese’s actions.
‘My mother always said ‘Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer’ I like to think this is what he is doing,’ wrote one Twitter user.
Mr Albanese enjoys a beer with Ms Hrdlicka (middle) while at the Australia Open on Friday night for the men’s semi-final
A number of people noted that Mr Costello, who was treasurer during the Howard government from 1996 to 2007, still holds important positions such as chair of Australian Open broadcaster Nine and also the publicly owned Future Fund.
Mr Albanese, who is a keen social tennis player, was back at the Australian Open on Sunday night for the men’s final along with his partner Jodie Haydon.
Mr Costello was back as well but this time he sat next to Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, while Mr Albanese was flanked by Tennis Australia Chair and Virgin CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.
It was the third night that Mr Albanese had taken his place in the stands of Rod Laver as he attended Friday night as well for the men’s semi-final between American Tommy Paul and eventual tournament winner Novak Djokovic.
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