Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wasn’t able to resist a potshot at Collingwood fans alongside Opposition Leader Peter Dutton while appearing at the annual North Melbourne Grand Final Breakfast.
Speaking at the now-iconic Breakfast, Albanese lined up his opposite number for a crack about comments he made about Melburnians in 2018, and got Pies fans with the drive-by in the process.
Dutton claimed five years ago that Melburnians were scared to go out amid a threat of “African gang violence”, blaming immigration and political correctness for an apparent wave of youth crime.
Albanese used the remarks to hit back at Dutton, and threw in a jibe at Magpies fans on the way through.
“I remember a few years ago you said that the streets of Melbourne were so dangerous that people were afraid of going out to dinner,” Albanese said.
“Well, if the Pies win today, you might finally be right about that.”
Much of Melbourne’s African diaspora, the main community blamed for the late-2010s wave of youth crime, is based in Melbourne’s north, where Collingwood’s historical supporter base is.
The comments come after Albanese, who declares himself a Hawthorn supporter despite having been photographed in Swans and Geelong scarves in recent years, was pictured in a Collingwood scarf the day ahead of the Grand Final.
The Opposition Leader returned serve alongside a shot at the AFL and the recent draft assistance package provided to North Melbourne.
“There’s no doubt, though, that you’re on the up,” Dutton said of North Melbourne, rocking a Brisbane Lions scarf.
Dutton was born in Brisbane, and represents the seat of Dickson in the city’s northwest.
“There’s also no pressure, of course, because after you’ve received an AFL assistance package that makes Albo and Alan Joyce’s deal for Qantas over Qatar look like a rounding error, we want to see some finals action by the Kangaroos next year.”
The jibes were flying from all directions, with North Melbourne president Dr Sonja Hood taking the chance in her speech to lay into outgoing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and CEO-elect Andrew Dillon.
She described Dillon as “Prince Charles of the AFL, just waiting for mum to go so he can modernise the monarchy.”
Of McLachlan, Dr Hood said: “We are going to miss you. I’d say more but I made my goodbye speech to you this time last year when you were just six months into your world record farewell tour.”
McLachlan announced his departure from the role in April 2022, and Dillon announced as his successor in May 2023, but McLachlan has stayed in the job and will stay until the conclusion of the 2023 season.