Some Australians have sent a resounding message to Prime Minister Tony Abbott: wait in the car.
On Tuesday night, the hashtag #waitinthecar was the second most popular in the nation following a report that Mr Abbott snubbed the gay partner of Australia’s ambassador to France Stephen Brady in April.
According to the Fairfax Media report, Mr Abbott’s staff told the diplomat’s partner Peter Stephens not to be present when the Prime Minister touched down in Paris on Anzac Day.
The report was labelled a “disgraceful smear” by Mr Abbott’s parliamentary secretary Alan Tudge, who said it was usual protocol for the PM to be greeted alone when he was travelling on his own.
The “wait in the car” reference quickly gained momentum however, with Twitter users using the hashtag to criticise the Abbott government’s opposition to legal gay marriage.
Independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich tweeted: “72% of Australians don’t want same-sex couple [sic] to be told to #waitinthecar for #marriageequality”.
On Wednesday, Mr Abbott brushed off the allegations, telling the media he “didn’t concern himself with trivia”.
“My understanding is that there was some sort of issue at the level of junior officials and I don’t concern myself with these things,” he said.
“All I want to say is that he’s a fine servant of Australia. He’s a friend of mine – always has been, and as far as I’m concerned, always will be.”
Gay, lesbian, women, refugees, workers, unemployed, sick, poor, students, elderly, youth, disabled, ex-soldiers told to #waitinthecar
— Jim Pembroke (@Jim_Pembroke) May 5, 2015
— Kiera (@KieraGorden) May 5, 2015
— Alex Greenwich MP (@AlexGreenwich) May 5, 2015
Poor people can’t #WaitInTheCar because they don’t drive, they don’t have cars.
— Dame Queen Christina (@ChristineEwing7) May 5, 2015
— Chris Chamberlin (@popculturechris) May 5, 2015