Australia Day turned ugly in Canberra yesterday after comments by Tony Abbott incited Aboriginal Tent Embassy activists to protest at an event attended by Abbott and Julia Gillard, resulting in a dramatic exit of the leaders executed by the PM's security detail. But the ensuing media coverage has been just as sensational.
Earlier in the day, Abbott was questioned by a journalist on whether the Tent Embassy was still relevant or needed to move on. Abbott replied
"I think the indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held by every Australian and, yes, I think a lot has changed since then and I think it probably is time to move on from that."
Abbott and Gillard were attending an Australia Day function just a few hundred metres away from the Tent Embassy when his comments were aired on television. Around 100-200 people (numbers in media reports vary) who'd been celebrating the Tent Embassy's 40th anniversary headed over to the glass-walled Lobby restaurant to protest Abbott's comments.
Protesters banged on the glass walls of the restaurant chanting slogans including "shame Abbott shame" and "always was, always will be, Aboriginal land". After PM security staff deemed the situation a rising threat, a rather dramatic escape of Gillard and Abbott ensued, where the leaders were shepherded out surrounded by riot police and put into a waiting car. Gillard lost her shoe in the process. Activists promised to sell it on eBay to raise money for the tent embassy, but now say they will return it
A look at the nation's front pages shows some quite dramatic imagery -- and some even more dramatic headlines: