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Bizarre furore erupts over Scott Morrison visiting the site of Tasmanian jumping castle tragedy 

Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny have bizarrely come under fire from Twitter users – including prominent left-wing commentators – for visiting the site of a jumping castle tragedy that left six children dead. 

The Prime Minister and his wife were pictured laying flowers outside Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, northern Tasmania, on Saturday – two days after a freak gust of wind blew the bouncing house 10 metres into the air.

Mr Morrison comforted Mrs Morrison as she broke down while paying tribute to Addison Stewart, 11, Zane Mellor, 12, Jye Sheehan, 12, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, 12 and Peter Dodt, 12. 

The following day, Tasmanian authorities announced 11-year-old Chace Harrison as the sixth victim. 

The Morrisons’ visit attracted the attention of journalists who were already parked at the scene, prompting well-known commentators – including Wallaby and veteran journalist Peter FitzSimons – to question whether the visit was a political move.

Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny have paid tribute to the children who were tragically killed in a freak jumping castle accident in Tasmania this week

Chase Harrison (pictured, bottom right) died in hospital on Sunday. Zane Mellor, Peter Dodt, Addison Stewart, Jye Sheehan, and Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones (pictured left to right, top to bottom) died on Thursday

Chase Harrison (pictured, bottom right) died in hospital on Sunday. Zane Mellor, Peter Dodt, Addison Stewart, Jye Sheehan, and Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones (pictured left to right, top to bottom) died on Thursday

Wallaby and veteran journalist Peter FitzSimons questioned whether Mr Morrison's visit was a political move (pictured)

Wallaby and veteran journalist Peter FitzSimons questioned whether Mr Morrison’s visit was a political move (pictured)

‘To me this seems to be more a matter for the Governor-General to arrive expressing the nation’s grief and shock, rather than the PM?’ Mr FitzSimons tweeted. 

Former Labor Senator Doug Cameron also accused the Prime Minister of turning a press conference about providing financial support to the victims of the tragedy ‘into a partisan political advert for Liberal politicians’. 

Some left-leaning members of the community lashed out at the Morrisons in the comments.

‘I felt the PM should go as our rep, but only if he visited privately and didn’t turn it into another media circus/campaign speech,’ one man wrote.

Another user accused him of ‘using this tragedy for political gain’. 

Tasmanian ABC journalist Monte Bovill – who has covered the tragedy day in and day out – hit out at the bizarre criticism, pointing out it was not a staged media event. 

‘For everyone replying to this. You weren’t there,’ he said.

‘There was no media opportunity, no political or campaign announcements in the north-west. The media were already at the school. You are using this to fit your own narrative. Five kids died and you make this about politics?’ 

Mr Morrison solemnly knelt for a minute of silence to pay respect to the young victims

Mr Morrison solemnly knelt for a minute of silence to pay respect to the young victims 

Tasmanian ABC journalist Monte Bovill said that criticising Mr Morrison was unfair (pictured)

Tasmanian ABC journalist Monte Bovill said that criticising Mr Morrison was unfair (pictured)

Peter Ford said Scott Morrison also would have been berated if he didn't visit the site (pictured)

Peter Ford said Scott Morrison also would have been berated if he didn’t visit the site (pictured)

Entertainment reporter Peter Ford pointed out that Scott Morrison likely would have been attacked on social media whether he visited the site or not.

Mr Ford asaid it was ‘odd’ that Mr FitzSimons ‘previously sung the praises of Jacinda Ardern for her compassion and care during times of tragedy in NZ’, including after the Christchurch massacre. 

‘Gee Twitter at its finest criticising the PM for visiting Devonport,’ he said.

‘Reckon the same people would be on the attack if he didn’t. 

‘Maybe if it made a grieving family, or local community, feel important and comforted for a few minutes it’s worth it?’

Seven News reporter Nick McCallum agreed and said it was ‘entirely appropriate’ for Mr Morrison and his wife to visit the scene.

‘It was respectful … low key … showed emotions we all feel. No-one we spoke to in Devonport, including victims’ families, indicated they had any problem with it,’ he said. 

The bouquets were left with a handwritten note which read: 'In loving memory of these beautiful children who are no longer with us...' (pictured)

The bouquets were left with a handwritten note which read: ‘In loving memory of these beautiful children who are no longer with us…’ (pictured)

Education minister Sarah Courtney (pictured) was visibly emotional as she delivered a bouquet of flowers to the memorial on Saturday

Education minister Sarah Courtney (pictured) was visibly emotional as she delivered a bouquet of flowers to the memorial on Saturday

Mr Morrison left a handwritten note for the victims: ‘Our hearts break for the families and the community left behind. Thinking of you all. With love and sympathy, Jen, Scott, Abbey and Lilly.’ 

He solemnly knelt for a minute of silence before reading some of the cards left by members of the community. 

Speaking in Hobart later that day, the Prime Minister promised $800,000 to fund trauma counselling for families, first responders and the Devonport community.

‘I want to extend our deepest sympathies to the five families in particular who have lost those precious young ones, and we think also of the families of the three who are still in a terribly critical condition,’ he said.

‘We think of the entire community that is just heaving with sorrow. 

‘There are no words, only prayers, for our fellow Australians in Tasmania, and for the community that will carry this burden.’

The package will be provided over 18 months to assist with ongoing support. 

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said the state government pledged $500,000 for counselling in the region.

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