Aussie PM under fire for billionaire BBQ escape amid crisis

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is under fire for attending a five-hour barbecue with Victorian Premier Dan Andrews at the seaside estate of one of the country's wealthiest businessmen, Lindsay Fox, during a national crisis.

Aussie PM under fire for billionaire BBQ escape amid crisis
@AlboMP / Twitter
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews have come under scrutiny for attending a five-hour barbecue at the seaside estate of one of Australia’s wealthiest businessmen over the weekend.

The event, which was held at the mansion of Lindsay Fox in the Mornington Peninsula town of Portsea, was attended by the two leaders on Saturday afternoon.

According to The Nine newspapers, the Prime Minister was flown to the event in Fox's private helicopter. While the Prime Minister has shirked from detailing the topics discussed at the barbecue, he stated at a press conference on Wednesday, “I have private meetings all the time. And I have private meetings which are private meetings”.

The Fox family own Melbourne’s Avalon Airport, which they have openly spruiked as a quarantine site in the past and also as a transport hub for more efficient routes between Australia and south-east Asia.

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley has criticized the Prime Minister for prioritizing “a billionaire’s barbecue” over the “desperation that flooded communities are facing in Western Australia”.

Ms Ley also criticized the Prime Minister for not disclosing the gift of a private helicopter ride and called his actions “clever political trickery” and “obfuscation”.

She said, "We now know while emergency services were flying in to support the people of Western Australia the Prime Minister was taking a private helicopter ride to have a barbecue with billionaires. What does that tell you about the Prime Minister's priorities when there is a national crisis?”

For his part, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has shrugged off questions about the matter. At a press conference on Thursday, he told journalists they should “seek an interview from the gas bottle” used to power the barbecue. The premier’s office confirmed he had attended the barbecue, but said he had instead driven to the event in Portsea.

It should be noted that in the midst of Andrews’ successful re-election campaign, Lindsay Fox’s Avalon and Essendon airport businesses contributed $1799 and $4038 respectively to the Victorian Labor Party. Andrews has been criticized for his close relationship with the Foxes in previous years and was grilled in parliament last year over several proposals pitched to the government by the family.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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