‘Chalk and cheese’: PM photo divides
A SIMPLE photograph of Prime Minister Scott Morrison drinking what appears to be a beer in the stands at a rugby league match in Fiji has descended into a slanging match that now involves the daughter of the late Bob Hawke.
Mr Morrison was in Suva on Friday for a whirlwind meeting with Fijian leaders. He took a break from the stiff diplomatic stuff, donned his Australian rugby league polo shirt and, at one point, even took off his shoes to be the water boy.
But it was this photograph that got chins wagging.
The photograph received some criticism on social media where it was labelled "embarrassing".
One tweet, which went so far as to call the PM a "bogan", was retweeted dozens of times, but ABC News reporter Matt Bevan was one of many who came to the PM's defence.
Bevan wrote on Twitter: "Come on guys if Hawkie was doing this we'd all be cheering just chill out a bit."
Later, he doubled down on his comparison between the Morrison photo and the late former prime minister Bob Hawke, who famously skolled more than a few beers in public.
"All I'm saying is if you don't like Scott Morrison just say that," Bevan wrote.
"Your beef is with him, not the concept of a PM drinking a beer at a rugby match. But please continue shouting at me by all means."
Many pointed out that Hawke never drank beer in public during his time as prime minister. But those same people ignored the double standard from Labor leaders who have been guilty of drinking on the job.
Even Hawke's eldest daughter, Sue Pieters-Hawke, felt the need to put distance between her father and the picture of Mr Morrison.
"Comparing them is like chalk and cheese, to put it mildly," she tweeted.
"Can you imagine Scomo campaigning against apartheid or for higher wages, for starters?"
The back-and-forth between the two continued after that.
My day on Twitter— Matt Bevan 🎙 (@MatthewBevan) October 13, 2019
Me: Scott Morrison drank a beer. Bob Hawke used to drink beer. Both are fine.
1500 people: Hawke didn’t drink as PM and how DARE you say Hawke and Morrison are the same person?!
Me: I’m just saying that it’s ok to drink a be-
1500 people: DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT
Hey it’s not about the beer..agree some of the stuff is a tad hateful. But you did sorta step in it...— Sue Pieters-Hawke (@SuePHawke) October 13, 2019
Mr Morrison's trip to Fiji also took him to the Blackrock military training camp on the other side of Fiji's main island where he met with local and Australian troops.
The Australian Government has already signed off on $25 million for initial works at the Blackrock site.
Mr Morrison emphasised that his visit - his second this year - was to forge personal ties with Fiji.
"It's all about keeping the whole region safe and stable and secure," he told reporters at the site.
"At the end of the day, that's why we're here."
Mr Morrison's ties with the church have been well received in Fiji, a predominantly Christian nation.
- with AAP