Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull gets the finger for committing the ultimate Australian pub sin

Police said a ‘man became abusive to a group at the bar due to [Turnbull] being served before him’

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 May, 2018, 4:10pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 May, 2018, 4:10pm

Did Malcolm Turnbull commit the ultimate Aussie pub sin and jump the queue?

One Brisbane man certainly thought so and allegedly unleashed a torrent of abuse – and the finger – at the prime minister and his companions, at a politics-at-the-pub event in Brisbane’s eastern suburbs on Thursday night.

But the 27-year-old Carina man did not even realise who he was flipping the bird to – he was just inflamed by the wait at the bar.

“Police will allege the man became abusive to a group at the bar due to the group being served before him,” a Queensland police spokesman said of the incident at the Carindale hotel. “He was immediately arrested and escorted from the hotel.”

The man has been fined for failing to leave the premises, and was reportedly remorseful about his actions.

The early evening event continued as planned and on Friday morning Turnbull described it as having gone “very well”.

“A very, very warm reception in every respect, it was great to be there with [local MP] Ross Vasta,” he told Brisbane reporters.

“We had a great visit. It was a very warm welcome, an open session and there were a questions on a whole range of topics,” he said. “There was one gentleman there who clearly had had, err, a few drinks too many.”

“I think he was, ahhh, he was assisted in making an early return home,” Turnbull said. “Which is probably where he should have gone earlier in the evening, as I’m sure he’s worked out by this morning.”

Bill Shorten had some sympathy for Turnbull when asked about the incident but also offered some advice.

“No one should abuse anyone – it does not matter if it is Malcolm Turnbull or somebody’s grandmother,” he said on a visit to Western Australia.

“I also have to say, if you are a politician who does not expect a bit of free advice from the cheap seats, you are dreaming. I know I started off doing these town hall meetings, and I notice Mr Turnbull has adopted a similar style, so perhaps he would be better off to turn the alcohol off,” Shorten said. “It’s probably best not to serve alcohol during your political events.”

Both leaders will continue the unofficial super Saturday by-election campaigns before returning to Canberra for the resumption of parliament on Monday.