Anthony Albanese attended a Gang of Youths concert at Enmore Theatre in Sydney on Monday night, and while many cheered him on, others online have criticised his appearance at the music event.
Video taken at the event shows the prime minister — sporting casual attire in a Joy Division T-shirt — downing a beer as he sat in the crowd alongside his partner Jodie Haydon, 43, and Labor frontbencher Tony Burke who was close by.
"Albo is at the Gang of Youths concert in a Joy Division shirt and chugged a beer for the crowd," journalist Soofia Tariq tweeted post-event.
While Rhanna Collins, Head of Indigenous News & Current Affair at NITV, said she was "quietly enjoying" the sight.
Footage captured the PM sitting in the front row of the dress circle with the entire theatre turned to face him as they applauded and cheered.
The crowd was apparently chanting "Here’s to Albo," the Sydney Morning Herald reported, as they urged him to down the beer he was holding.
Mr Albanese is seen skulling the remainder of his drink before standing to address the enthusiastic crowd, reminiscent of former Labor PM Bob Hawke who skulled a beer at the Sydney Test cricket to please the crowd on several occasions.
But the move polarised people online with some questioning his decision to attend.
— Rhanna Collins (@rhanna_collins) August 22, 2022
Albanese's move criticised: 'Superspreader event'
On Twitter some were quick to point out that no one was wearing masks, despite the country still facing the threat of Covid-19.
"Nice! …except for the total lack of masks," one person Tweeted. "Oh good, Albo's at a superspreader event," another criticised online, claiming the prime minister is doing nothing about Australia's current covid infection rate.
"This is obscene," another agreed. "People died today and he is chugging beer in the middle of a pandemic," they added.
Another said he should "act his age."
— David Matthews (@dmatthewsact) August 22, 2022
Others drew comparisons to Finland's prime minister Sanna Marin, 36, who was recently shown partying with her friends in leaked video footage that was heavily criticised.
"Interesting, because this is apparently thought to be a sackable offence for the female PM of Finland," one person pointed out.
'Refreshing' to see PM as a 'real person'
But the PM's casual appearance was praised by many who said it was "wonderful" Mr Albanese can show he is a "real person" and not a "marketing ploy."
"Amazing stuff!! Wish I was there," one person wrote on Twitter after seeing the footage.
"I'm also glad he relates to that age of voter," another said.
Others said it was "so damn cool" to see the Prime Minister of Australia mingling in the crowd, with some adding it's "so refreshing."
The reaction to Mr Albanese's concert visit comes as recent polls show a huge surge of support for the Albanese government since the election three months ago.
The federal government has a strong lead against its opposition, with 55 per cent preferring Mr Albanese as PM compared to just 17 per cent choosing Peter Dutton, according to the survey conducted by Resolve Strategic for Nine Newspapers.
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