Premier’s absence noted during PM’s visit, cafe catch-up follows | The Examiner

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The absence of Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein during the prime minister’s first visit to Launceston ahead of the upcoming federal election prompted questions about the state of the two leaders’ relationship on Monday. Prime Minister Scott Morrison touched down in Launceston this week to help spur the Liberal Party’s election push in the key seats of Bass and Braddon. READ MORE: Prime Minister, Treasurer in Tasmania’s North for forestry announcement The prime minister began the day in Relbia with a tour through Josef Chromy Wines, a business Mr Morrison expects to benefit greatly from the influx of tourists heading through the nation’s now-open borders. Alongside the prime minister were treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Liberal candidate for Lyons Susie Bower, Bass Liberal MLC Bridget Archer and senators Claire Chandler and Wendy Askew. Meanwhile, Premier Gutwein was engaged in Bell Bay with Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm. When queried, Mr Morrison downplayed the relevance of the premier’s absence. “We hopefully will catch up when I’m here. Not on every occasion that I’m here do we get a chance to catch up but we do speak regularly,” he said. READ MORE: Why a Tasmanian’s High Court battle could be far-reaching “We both have our jobs to do. I don’t agree with the implication of the question,” he added. Likewise, at his own press conference 50 minutes away, the premier denied claims that he was avoiding the prime minister. “We’re busy people and we’ll catch up in the next day-and-a-half while he’s in Tasmania […] I’ve got a very busy schedule, he’s got a very busy schedule,” Mr Gutwein said. Less than an hour after the questions were asked however, both the state and federal leaders were on their way to Launceston’s Inside Cafe. The meet-up at the cafe – which is owned by the premier’s wife – was not flagged before the questions surrounding the premier’s absence were asked. Despite the concerns, however, it is not unheard of for Mr Gutwein to be absent during a state visit by the prime minister. While the pair did appear together during the Devonport tragedy in December, as well as at the Trevallyn power station in 2020, the premier did not attend an event at Hillwood Berries with the prime minister in May last year. Mr Gutwein’s affiliation with the prime minister wasn’t the only relationship questioned during the whirlwind visit. When asked, Mr Morrison reiterated his support for Ms Archer, despite the pair publicly clashing over the the Religious Discrimination Bill, which was indefinitely shelved last week. READ MORE: South Launceston’s old Peters ice cream factory could get new use “Bridget I know is passionate. She’s come with life experience to my team that I greatly value and greatly respect,” he said. The questions follow multiple polls over the last month noting a drop in Mr Morrison’s approval rating. What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor:


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