Morrison slaps back at ‘narcs’ in storm over welding attempt



Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slapped back at his critics after video emerged of another pre-election campaign stunt at the weekend.

Mr Morrison shocked many when he filmed having a ham-fisted crack at welding during a visit to Alice Springs at the weekend.

His technique sparked alarm, as he was shown raising his face shield through the sparks and blinding light.

“OK, on the tools once again,” Mr Morrison is heard saying, before he lifts the visor.

“Is this it here?” he says as sparks begin to fly.

Later in the video, Mr Morrison pulls the visor back down.

Eye damage is a huge risk from welding and safety precautions to prevent it are generally treated very seriously.

The clip – which follows Mr Morrison strumming a 1970s hit on a ukulele during a 60 Minutes interview and washing a woman’s hair at a Melbourne salon – sparked plenty of criticism.

On Monday, Mr Morrison hit back, saying those things were “not my day job”.

“If people want to have a crack me about that they can … I’ve got a lot to learn if I wanted to do those jobs,” he told 2GB.

“I just think our apprentices and the small businesses that are giving them a go are fantastic.

“If all the narcs in the bubble want to have a crack at me, well, they can – but what I’m doing is showcasing the great work of our apprentices and small businesses.”

Mr Morrison continued his pre-election campaign blitz in marginal seats in Tasmania on Monday.

He used the visit to announce an $86 million grant for the state’s forestry industry, pledging 150 million new trees.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese was in Sydney, although he was expected to also head to Tasmania on Tuesday.

Mr Albanese used a radio interview in Sydney to attack Mr Morrison’s recent TV and live appearances.

“If you want a guy to shampoo your hair and weld without a mask on and all that, then play a ukulele, kind of, then Scott is your guy,” he said.

“People are wanting him to do his job, and his job was to order enough vaccines.”

The Tasmanian electorates of Bass and Braddon are must-hold seats for the government, with both being on slim margins.

The Coalition holds Braddon by a little more than 3 per cent, while the margin is even narrower in Bass, at just 0.4 per cent.

The Labor-held seat of Lyons, which sits at just more than 5 per cent, also remains in play at the upcoming federal election.

Mr Morrison said Monday’s visit would be one of many to Tasmania before voters go to the polls.

Despite incumbent Bass MP Bridget Archer crossing the floor earlier this month to vote against parts of the government’s religious discrimination bill, Mr Morrison said she still had his support ahead of the election.

“In our party, we don’t throw people out because we don’t always agree on everything, that’s the nature of the Liberal Party,” he said.

“Bridget is passionate, has come with life experience to our team that I greatly value and I greatly respect.”

Both leaders campaigned in the Northern Territory during the week. The NT seat of Lingiari is winnable for either following the retirement of long-serving Labor MP Warren Snowdon.

The election must be held by May 21 at the latest, with the date likely to be finalised following the federal budget in late March.

However, business and community groups want the May election to be fought on more than just national security, particularly after two years battling the coronavirus pandemic.

“After an unprecedented two years, the nation faces major challenges,” Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said.

“Record numbers of Australians cannot afford a home. People out of work are struggling to make ends meet. And the climate crisis looms large as we face more extreme weather.”

Anglicare has “five ideas” it wants tackled by the major parties – a basic income, a jobs guarantee, a community climate fund, a home for every Australian, and governing for all, which includes an inquiry into COVID-19.

-with AAP

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