Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison accidentally knocked down a child Wednesday afternoon during a campaign event at the Devonport City Soccer Club in Tasmania. Doing so, he lived up to his nickname “bulldozer.”
Morrison had given himself the name during the campaign trail, when he acknowledged that he could have demonstrated more empathy in the past, saying, that he could be a “bit of a bulldozer” at times, The Guardian reported.
The premier was visiting the home of the Devonport City Strikers in Braddon when he was invited to join a training match for children under eight, The Guardian reported. Braddon is a marginal constituency Morrison’s Liberal Party holds.
Videos circulating on social media showed Morisson walking about the field, trying to join in the game. Soon, he began to become more involved, performing a successful tackle on one boy.
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But just as the 54-year-old politician began to get more active, he lost his balance and fell toward Luca Fauvette, one of the players nearby.
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“A bit of rugby tackle,” Morrison was heard saying in a video of the incident after knocking Fauvette over and patting him on the back.
Fauvette quickly got up and returned Morrison’s high-five when the premier asked him if he was “all good.” He “jumped up with a big smile and kept playing,” Fauvette’s coach Keegan Smith told The Guardian.
Later in jest, Morrison would ask, “Where’s Luca? Please tell me he hasn’t gone off to the hospital.”
“A shout out to young Luca for being such a good sport. You may have seen we had a bit of a collision at club training tonight at the Devonport Strikers Football Club in Tasmania,” Morrison wrote in a Facebook post later that night.
“Great to be able to have a good chat to him about his love of football and to hear he’s had three hat-tricks in his budding career already,” the premier wrote.
Morrison was in Braddon to rally support for his coalition government as it faces off the Center-Left Labor Party.
Braddon’s Liberal MP Gavin Pearce said Tuesday that the government would be offering a $3.5 million grant to the Strikers’ Valley Road facility. The grant would cover a new grandstand.
Australia will choose its next government May 21.
COVID-19’s economic impact on inflation, economic growth and wages have proven to be major challenges for the incumbent Morrison government as it seeks a third term.
Left-leaning opposition leader Anthony Albanese put the blame on Morrison’s government for the nation’s economic woes as wages struggle to rise quickly enough to keep up with inflation.
“Australian workers are paying the price for a decade of bad policy and economic failures while Scott Morrison says he should be rewarded with another three years because he is just getting started,” Albanese said, according to Reuters.
According to recent polling reported by Reuters, the gap between the Labor and Liberal-National coalitions remains narrow, with the race tightening as May 21 approaches.
Labor is currently leading between 51-49 percent whereas the Liberal-Nationals are at 48-46 percent. The race has become too close to call, Reuters reported.