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Australian PM knocks over child playing soccer at campaign event

By Reuters - May 18th 2022
Australian incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during the second leaders' debate of the 2022 federal election campaign at the Nine Studio in Sydney, Australia May 8, 2022. [Reuters]

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison knocked a boy over and fell on top of him while playing soccer at an election campaign event on Wednesday, before quickly rolling over and checking on the child, television footage showed.

The boy got up and exchanged a high-five with Morrison, the footage showed.

Last week, Morrison said he had been a "bit of bulldozer" as his unpopularity became an election issue. 

"No one is safe from the bulldozer," Labor politician and campaign spokesman Jason Clare said on Twitter with a link to the footage.

Opinion polls show Morrison's conservative coalition trailing the Labor opposition ahead of the general election on Saturday, though the margin has narrowed this week.

Australians will vote for a government on Saturday, with recent polls showing Morrison's Liberal-National coalition on track to lose to centre-left Labor, which would end nine years of conservative government. 

Morrison's Liberal Party formally launched its campaign in Brisbane last Sunday, with Morrison detailing his housing policy at the event in a last-ditch appeal to voters.

The policy aims to encourage older Australians to sell their family property, Morrison said. It would enable those aged over 55 to sell a home and invest up to A$300,000 ($200,000) in a superannuation fund outside existing caps.

The policy is an effort to put downward pressure on high house prices in an election campaign that has been dominated by cost-of-living concerns, national security and climate change.

Morrison said a re-elected coalition government would allow first home buyers to use a "responsible portion" of their superannuation savings to buy a house, calling it a "a game-changer" for thousands of families.

The campaign launch comes after Morrison vowed on Saturday to be more empathetic if he wins re-election, after conceding he could be a "bulldozer" and promising to change. 

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