A photo of Scott Morrison shooting some pool in a Tasmanian pub has divided Australians, with some questioning why he was not instead addressing the nation’s most pressing issues, while others said it made him ‘relatable’.
The prime minister visited Sporties Hotel in Launceston on Saturday night to re-open their billiard area after it had been shut down curing Covid-19 restrictions.
In a post on Facebook Mr Morrison shared images of himself christening the new felt, playing a game against Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein and a local called Johnsy who he met during his 2019 campaign trail.
‘Caught up with my mate Johnsy last night for an important pool rematch,’ Mr Morrison wrote.
A photo of Mr Morrison opening a pool table (pictured) at a Tasmanian pub has divided public opinion online
‘Can report he’s still a bit of a pool shark and was too good for me again last night, although I gave him a bit of a scare. Was a great night though, lots of fun and a good way to celebrate the reopening of the pool table for the first time since Covid.’
The laidback affair delighted some Australians who commended the nation’s leader for mingling with different echelons of society.
‘How fortunate are we to have a PM who has the ability to relate to all levels of society. We need more of him. Thank you Scott for the passion you have for Australia and its peoples,’ one woman commented.
A man added: ‘A PM in a pub with normal, down to earth people. More of that won’t hurt anyone.’
‘In what other country, anywhere around the world, could a PM do this on a Saturday night? [I] love being Aussie,’ another wrote.
But others were not impressed by the prime minister’s use of his time while the country faces a series of crises.
Mr Morrison reopened the table after cue sports had been shut down in the bar amid the pandemic (pictured with the Tasmanian premier)
Mr Morrison poses for a photo with Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein at Sporties Hotel on Saturday night
‘Vaccine rollout in shambles, Ms Higgins’ alleged rapist still at large, refugees still in limbo, homelessness at all time highs, wages going backwards, Australia going backwards on climate action, corruption and debauchery in Libs growing and Morrison opens a pool table,’ Belinda Jones tweeted.
‘Won’t advocate for aged care workers to get a pay rise. Won’t raise the minimum wage. Won’t make billionaires pay back Jobkeeper. Finds time to open a pub pool table. Morrison’s government is a joke,’ Ben Davidson wrote.
‘Just want the borders to be open and our families to be together. Don’t want to see anything else,’ someone else said.
‘The most important thing Scott Morrison can imagine to do is cut a ribbon on a pool table. That’s not even a thing. He’s worse than a joke,’ a fourth wrote.
A woman who grew up in Launceston said the prime minister has ‘bigger jobs’ than playing pool in her home city.
Mr Morrison said he rematched local, ‘Johnsy’, (pictured centre) who he met at the establishment two years ago
Meanwhile, some declared the gesture a publicity stunt ahead of the 2022 election, while several others pointed out that the prime minister and those at the event did not appear to be maintaining social distancing.
‘So hand shaking is in again? And social distancing is out?’ One woman said.
‘Socially distancing I see!’ A man added sarcastically.
It is not the first time Mr Morrison has come under fire for taking a break during a national crisis.
During the devastating 2019-2020 bushfire season, the prime minister left the country to holiday with his family in Hawaii while swathes of Australian land burned and thousands of people lost their homes.
The move sparked widespread outrage online, with a petition launched to have him removed from office by the Governor General attracting more than 70,000 signatures.
In response to the backlash, Mr Morrison apologised ‘for any offence caused’ during an interview with 2GB, stating: ‘But [Australians] know I don’t hold a hose mate.’
Mr Morrison is currently facing mounting pressure to bring Australians stranded abroad home and to speed up the Covid vaccine rollout, which will prove vital to reopening the country’s international border.
There are also growing calls for Mr Morrison to take urgent action on climate change, after the government announced it would spend $600million on a new gas-fired power station.
Thousands of school children took to the streets of every capital city’s CBD on Friday to demand change, including calls for the government to investment in renewable energy.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Prime Minister’s Office for comment.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison pictured with ‘Johnsy’, a local at Launceston’s Sporties Hotel, during his 2019 campaign trail