Radio host Jackie O has joined leaders to slam “disrespectful” tennis fans after Anthony Albanese was ruthlessly booed at the Australian Open.
The Prime Minister was heckled by a packed crowd at Rod Laver Arena during the trophy presentation after the Australian Open men’s final on Sunday night.
Mr Albanese drew heat from the 15,000-strong audience at Melbourne Park who gathered to see 22-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner claim his first grand slam title, beating Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Jackie O, who was present in the audience, slammed attendees’ behaviour on the Kyle and Jackie O Show on Monday.
“You were the only one cheering when Albo showed up, all the rest of the Melbourne elite were booing,” her radio partner Kyle Sandilands said on-air.
“Yeah, I protested because I don’t like that. I don’t think we should boo our prime minister. I just think it’s really disrespectful,” Jackie O said.
Earlier, Independent senator Jacqui Lambie lashed out at the “rich” attendees who she said were bothered over Mr Albanese’s revamped stage 3 tax cuts.
“Where are our values? Honestly, what are they booing him for?” Senator Lambie told Nine.
“Because well, we’ve got a heap of rich people over there watching the tennis finals and they’ve had a bit of their tax taken off them to pay it forward, to give to those who are less fortunate. For God’s sake, I don’t have a problem with that.
“They just don’t like him. They want the Liberals in … I’m not sure it’s any better. The grass isn’t any greener on the other side to be honest with you at this point.”
Mr Albanese is in the midst of a political firestorm over tax reform after he slashed Labor’s stage 3 tax cuts for higher income earners, redistributing it to workers earning under $150,000,
Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan said Mr Albanese’s frosty reception was triggered because he “lied” to the public about the policy.
“I think sadly we’re going to see more and more of this,” Mr Tehan told Sky.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said people shouldn’t read too much into it.
“I think it’s a well-worn Australian tradition at sporting events for that to happen,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Laughing off the incident, Mr Albanese said booing the prime minister at the tennis was a “great tradition”.
When asked if he thought the incident was driven by anger over changes to tax reform, Mr Albanese stressed that lower and middle income earners were under financial pressure and said he had a responsibility to act.
“They’ve been the ones who have found the inflationary pressures of the economy more difficult,” he told Nova FM.
Despite the booing, Mr Albanese made it clear that he enjoyed the sporting event, with a courtside chat with Australian actor Eric Bana among one of the highlights.
He didn’t ask the star for an autograph.
“I have done the odd selfie,” Mr Albanese said.