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Prime Minister Scott Morrison was rushed away from a campaign event and his security team was forced to intervene after a man approached him wanting to talk.
Mr Morrison was visiting a cheese producer in Tasmania when the man – who later identified himself as the nation’s second High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands – tried to speak to him.
Trevor Scofield said he wanted to talk about Australia’s failure in regional security, saying the government had “completely lost the plot”.
A scuffle broke out, before the Australian Federal Police physically dragged the 78-year-old by the elbow off the property.
"All I want to do is talk to the prime minister. I was mishandled, I was pushed, I was shoved," he told journalists at the event.
"What sort of election and what sort of country you've got when a personal citizen can't talk to a prime minister who is meant to be on a goodwill visit to meet the electorate.
"I'm denied the opportunity and I object very, very strongly."
He said it showed democracy to be in a pretty poor state.
The PM’s security detail have prevented a member of the public from attempting to talk to the Prime Minister at a stop at a dairy door in the seat of Bass. The PM was rushed away from the venue. The man tried to talk to him several times #auspol pic.twitter.com/4bIyrWzDox
— Lanai Scarr (@lanai_scarr) May 12, 2022
"I was physically touched, and the owner wrapped his arm around me as I tried to go up to the prime minister," Mr Sofield said.
"He came out here and just simply pushed me out of the way.
"What the heck is going on? It's a free country, I'm in a public space where the public are invited."
Mr Sofield, who was the High Commissioner for four years in the 1980s, said he overheard one of the security members telling the business owner to remove him.
Mr Morrison was hurried off into a car out the front of the venue before being driven away.
Mr Sofield said the signing of the security deal between the Solomon Islands and China amounted to a failure in foreign policy by the Morrison government.
He also blasted the government for not sending Foreign Minister Marise Payne to the Pacific country when it found out the deal was in the works.
Mr Sofield said the Morrison government had lost his vote over the inking of the security pact.
- with AAP
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