Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has hit out at Matthew Guy, implying the opposition leader was trading tragedy for votes in relation to the Bourke Street terror attack.
Speaking in Clyde on Sunday, Mr Andrews confirmed he had shared a private coffee with staff at Pellegrini’s Cafe on Thursday night, almost a week after much-loved owner Sisto Malaspina was stabbed to death.
“There were hugs, a few tears as well – I didn’t go down there with cameras because I don’t think it is a campaign stop,” Mr Andrews told reporters.
Mr Andrews said he also met privately with the police officers involved in apprehending attacker and other victims slashed by Hassan Khalif Shire Ali.
“That’s what leadership is about – not taking advantage of tragedy or trading tragedy for votes,” Mr Andrews said.
“I’m very comfortable with the way I have discharged my duties. I wonder whether others might be able to say the same.”
Last Tuesday, Mr Guy and Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed their sympathies to staff at Pellegrini’s.
They were joined by a huge press pack including television cameras, reporters and photographers.
After visiting the cafe, Mr Guy held a press conference and he thanked police for their quick response to the attack.
“Enough is enough for our city. We will not accept whether it’s terrorism or violent crime, that this is going to be the norm for a city of five million-plus people,” he told reporters.
Mr Morrison later denied he was politicising a tragedy, saying he was there to pay his respects.
Mr Andrews and Mr Guy will face off in a “people’s forum” on Wednesday, televised by Sky News.