Australian PM Morrison egged on election campaign trail

Egg appeared to strike Morrison on the back of the head then bounce off without breaking.

    Australian PM Morrison egged on election campaign trail
    Australia's PM has called a May 18 election that is being fought on issues including climate change, asylum seekers and economic management. [Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images]

    Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison was hit on the head with an egg during a protest ahead of a general election next week.

    The egg appeared to strike Morrison on the back of the head then bounce off without breaking as he spoke to voters at a hall in the regional town of Albury on Tuesday

    Security guards grabbed a 25-year-old woman who is accused of throwing the egg and carried her outside.

    Morrison later suggested the protester was part of a movement that raids farms that it accuses of cruelty to animals.

    The young woman was reportedly protesting the Morrison government's harsh asylum seeker policy but refused to give any comment on the incident when asked about it by reporters outside the venue.

    "I don't want to give a report, no thank you. I've got to go to work. No comment," she said, according to the AAP news agency. 

    She denied egg-smashing was violent, saying it was "the most harmless thing you can do".

    New South Wales police said they had taken a "25-year-old woman into custody following an incident involving the Prime Minister in Albury".

    It was not yet clear whether she would be charged.

    Opposition leader Bill Shorten condemned the protest as "appalling and disgraceful behaviour".

    "In Australia, we have violence-free elections," Shorten told reporters. "People are allowed to protest peacefully, but anything approaching violence is unacceptable." 

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    Morrison was campaigning in an electorate held by his conservative Liberal Party. The party fears that an independent candidate could win the seat at the election on May 18.

    The incident followed a highly publicised assault of far-right politician Fraser Anning, who had an egg smashed on his head during a press conference.

    His teen attacker had been protesting comments Anning made blaming the massacre of 51 Muslim worshippers in two Christchurch mosques on immigrants to New Zealand.

    Australia goes to the polls on May 18. While Morrison's conservative coalition is seeking a third three-year term, he is the third prime minister to lead a divided government in that time, having been in the post since last August.

    Opinion polls suggest centre-left opposition leader Shorten will become the eighth prime minister since the country plunged into an extraordinary period of political instability in 2007.

    SOURCE: News agencies