Scott Morrison has been bundled away by security after a former diplomat attempted to approach him at an election campaign event.
Scott Morrison has been shot out of an event in Tasmania after a voter attempted to confront the Prime Minister.
Mr Morrison was visiting Ashgrove Cheese Dairy Door in the seat of Lyons on Thursday afternoon when the incident occurred.
As the Prime Minister was walking through the crowd, former Australian diplomat Trevor Sofield, 78, made an attempt to speak with Mr Morrison, a move that members of the Australian Federal Police acting as security for the PM quickly attempted to block.
Mr Sofield, one of the first Australian High Commissioners to the Solomon Islands, told the media that he only wished to tell Mr Morrison that he had lost his vote.
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The situation spiraled when Mr Sofield once again attempted to speak with Mr Morrison as he was hit out of the venue and into a waiting car.
“Don’t Assault Me!” Mr Sofield yelled as staff attempted to block him from following Mr Morrison.
The 78-year-old was pushed aside as the Prime Minister was bundled into the car.
Speaking to the media afterwards, Mr Sofield said he had voted for the Liberal Party in 2019 but would not be doing so this year.
“This government has lost my vote,” he said, citing their handling of Australia’s national security as one of the big reasons behind the change.
“I was a high commissioner (in the Solomon Islands) for four years, I think I have an insight into the way in which we have totally mishandled this particular aspect of our foreign policy,” he said.
He branded the handling of the situation in the Solomon Islands as a “strategic blunder” on the government’s behalf.
He claimed he was “manhandled” for simply trying to speak with the PM.
“I attempted to speak with the Prime Minister and simply say to the Prime Minister you have lost my vote,” Mr Sofield said.
“I was physically manhandled.
“This is an election, surely you must be able to get access to the two candidates
“I expect this sort of thing in China.”
Mr Sofield, who was visiting the cheese factory with his wife, said he had no idea the Prime Minister would be visiting the business.
China’s new security pact with the Solomon Islands has been a major issue throughout the election campaign, with Mr Morrison repeatedly criticizing the move.
He said any attempt by China to build a naval base on the Solomons would cross a “red line”.
“We won’t be having Chinese military naval bases in our region on our doorstep,” Mr Morrison said in April.
News that the deal had been signed came in the early stages of the election campaign, despite both Australia and the US raising concerns about such a security pact.
Originally published as Federal election: Scott Morrison hit from event after approach by former diplomat