Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has savaged Australian Open fans for booing the president of Tennis Australia after she mentioned coronavirus vaccines.
Jayne Hrdlicka was making a speech following Novak Djokovic’s win in the men’s singles finals when the crowd because restless.
When Ms Hrdklicka spoke about vaccines, the crowd unleashed a chorus of boos.
“I think it was rather disgusting behaviour,” Mr McCormack told reporters on Monday.
“I don’t like booing at any event, and certainly any sporting event.”
Ms Hrdlicka was booed again after thanking the Victorian government.
She had to pause repeatedly to let the crowd settle down.
“Well that’s not Australian. I’m sorry, that is just un-Australian,” Mr McCormack said.
“This vaccine is going to get our country back to some sort of pre-COVID normality.”
The deputy prime minister said Ms Hrdlicka had done great things for Australia during the pandemic, both in her role at the tennis governing body, and as managing director of Virgin Australia.
Mr McCormack’s views are directly at odds with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who had his own brush with booing crowds at the Australian Open.
Mr Morrison described booing the prime minister at sporting events as a “great tradition” after tennis crowds jeered him in 2019.
The prime minister joked the crowd was probably protesting a line call when an image of him on the big screen at Rod Laver Arena drew verbal volleys.
“It’s a great tradition. I would be disappointed if they didn’t,” he said at the time.
“Bob Hawke and everyone else got the same treatment at games.”
In his twilight years, Mr Hawke was immensely popular at the cricket, with the SCG crowd cheering his beer-skolling antics.
AFL supporters also tackled the prime minister at the MCG in September 2019, giving him a vocal kicking at a Richmond-Hawthorn qualifying final.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott was given a frosty response when introduced after the 2014 NRL grand final between South Sydney and Canterbury.
But it’s not just conservative PMs who feel the wrath of sporting crowds.
Kevin Rudd was booed at an NRL game in Canberra in 2010, with Raiders’ fans having a crack at the Brisbane supporter.