June 4, 2020 / 6:30 AM / a month ago

'Get off the grass!' Australian PM told to move on during stimulus announcement

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A media conference by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to announce a new stimulus package briefly turned comical on Thursday when he and reporters were told by a homeowner to get off a newly reseeded lawn.

Morrison travelled to a housing construction site in Googong, 28km (17 miles) south of Canberra to announce his government would spend nearly A$700 million ($480 million) to support an Australian construction sector hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

But as he spoke about the package supporting the “Australian dream” of home ownership, he was interrupted by a local resident.

“Can everyone get off the grass please,” an unnamed local shouted at Morrison and the travelling press contingent. “Come on, I’ve just reseeded that.”

Morrison quickly obliged, giving the man a thumbs up and an “all good”.

Australia has suffered far fewer coronavirus cases than most other nations but its economy is facing its first recession in almost three decades despite billions of dollars in government support.

Morrison’s handling of the pandemic has helped his popularity soar, according to a Newspoll survey conducted for The Australian newspaper released last month.

($1 = 1.4491 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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