SYDNEY – An intruder who climbed on stage with Australia’s next prime minister Tony Abbott and his family on victory night is an anti-coal activist who calls himself Twiggy Palmcock, reports said Sunday.
The young man joined Abbott, his wife Margie and their three daughters after the Liberal leader had given a triumphant speech at a luxury Sydney hotel following Saturday’s national polls.
Dressed in a suit and with the aid of a faked media wristband, he managed to shake Abbott’s hand and pat the arm of daughter Bridget before the family grouped together to block him out and he was tackled by security.
“I just walked through the front door with my yellow wrist band,” Sydney’s Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying, adding that he had fashioned the band from candy wrappers.
He said he had been having “a private chat” with Abbott about whether he could run in a Sydney seat at the next election before he lingered on stage with the new first family for about a minute in what was described as a security breach.
“After a small chat with Tony, they respectfully escorted me off stage,” he said. Footage of the incident however showed him being grabbed and shouting as he was dragged off.
The man said his name was Twiggy Palmcock – a combination of the name’s of the country’s best known mining magnates Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart of Hancock Prospecting.
He managed to address the crowd through the platform microphone, shouting in an exaggerated Aussie twang: “I just wanted to say a big thank to Tony too” and claiming to be an MP.
The Business Insider website named him as Fregmonto Stokes, and said he was a 25-year-old playwriting student originally from Melbourne.
He told the website that he had been trying to draw attention to “the increased coal activity and mining under an Abbott Government.”
Senator Mathias Cormann, from Abbott’s Liberal Party, said the incident was “weird” and concerning.
“He shouldn’t have been there, it looked as though he was there officially, obviously he wasn’t, that was a bit of a worry,” he said.