$500 fine for calling PM a ‘f****** Muppet’
An insult you can level at a prime minister: calling them the C-word. An insult you can't level at a prime minister: calling them a "f****** Muppet".
That appears to be the conclusion after a court in New South Wales' central west fined a man $500 for behaving in an offensive manner towards Scott Morrison last month.
Allan Maccaul, 26, of Berriedale, close to Jindabyne, levelled the puppet-inspired insult at the PM at the Bathurst 1000 event.
NSW Police tended facts to the court that Maccaul and Mr Morrison's paths crossed on October 7 when the PM paused to chat to racegoers and pose for photos.
Maccaul approached the PM and began shouting, saying: "You're a f****** Muppet", several times.
Police warned Maccaul about his language but once again he repeated the insult, reported the Western Advocate.
Maccaul was then placed under arrest and, during a search of his bag, Police said they found a quantity of cannabis.
"It's just enough for a joint, I was going to smoke it while I watched the race," Maccaul was reported as saying. As officers continued to search Maccaul's bag police found five tabs of LSD.
Maccaul failed to turn up to court where he was convicted of behaving in an offensive manner, for which he was fined $500, and two counts of possess a prohibited drug which led to fines of $400 each.
Mr Lim, who is well known in inner Sydney for holding up a colourful sandwich board with various political statements and emojis on it - usually accompanied by his dog Smarty - found himself on the wrong side of the law in 2015 when he took aim at Mr Abbott.
A banner he was holding said "Peace smile. People can change. Tony you can't." However, the "a" in can't was overturned so it resembled an insult.
Like Maccaul, Mr Lim was fined $500 for offensive behaviour. But the conviction was overturned in 2017 when Judge Andrew Scotting declared "wording alone" was not offensive.
"While the conduct was inappropriate and in poor taste, I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt it was offensive," he said.
"The front of the sandwich board was capable of being construed as being clever or light hearted (while) also capable of being read as the word 'can't'.
"The language used was clearly a play on words".
The judge essentially told politicians to toughen up and ridicule was par for the course.
Indeed, since Mr Morrison ousted Malcolm Turnbull for the top job Mr Lim has been back on the streets and has used the same play on words to refer to the current prime minister.
But woe betide him should he call the PM a Muppet.