Turnbull Gets A Hostile Welcome At A Local Pub
"Ruthenberg, where's your medal?"
It's one day to the Longman by-election, and a largely safe and by-the-numbers campaign has come alive as several voters savaged Malcolm Turnbull and the seat's Liberal candidate over a scandal around military medals.
Trevor Ruthenberg, referred to by all, including the Prime Minister, as 'big Trev', has been embroiled in a minor scandal in recent weeks after he incorrectly claimed to have won a medal that he never was awarded.
The candidate, who seems on the verge of reclaiming Longman from the Labor party, claimed he had been awarded the Australian Service Medal. In fact, he won the Australian Defence Medal, recognised as a lesser honour.
The scandal has been smoothed over in recent days, but it came back up when Turnbull and Ruthenberg visited the Sandstone Point Hotel on the campaign trail. Walking through the pub and glad-handing patrons, the pair came upon a woman sitting outside, who initially looked pleased to shake the hand of the PM -- then laid into him.
"I'd like to ask you why Scott Morrison is spending $20 million on a statue of Captain Cook?" she asked, referring to an expensive memorial to be built in Sydney's Botany Bay.
Turnbull countered her questions and brought up his government's record on job creation.
"OK, new jobs. Were they full time jobs? You sure? I don't think they were. You're cutting penalty rates mate," the woman responded.
The encounter went on, as Turnbull bantered with the woman, while more people gathered in the background to yell questions about the ABC.
"Rubbish. The ABC will be publicly owned forever," Turnbull said, as a men yelled "Ruthenberg, where's your medal?"
"If you were a defence force person, you would know. My son is a defence force personnel and he knows," another woman said.
Turnbull continued his conversation with the first woman seated at the table, and then moved to speak to others. The woman then turned her sights on Ruthenberg.
"You sir, what member of the defence department doesn't know what medals they have and what medals they don't have?" the first woman said.
Ruthenberg attempted to explain what medal he had and how the confusion had occurred, but the woman was not interested.
"Bullshit!" she yelled.