SPC Ardmona workers crash a press conference held by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the coalition’s candidate for Griffith Bill Glasson.
The coalition candidate in Kevin Rudd’s Brisbane-based seat has had his campaign hijacked by baked bean-wielding workers from SPC Ardmona’s warehouses in Victoria.
Two employees made the 1500km journey from Shepparton on Wednesday to hand the Liberal National Party’s (LNP) candidate Bill Glasson and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull “limited edition” tins of spaghetti, baked beans and peaches.
“Enjoy me while you can … Joe Hockey and the LNP have made sure that I will no longer be made in Australia,” the tins read.
Mr Turnbull was quick to rid himself of the tins when presented with them at a Brisbane shopping centre, passing them off to a LNP supporter.
He was also having none of the workers’ claims, saying SPC was a wholly owned subsidiary of mega-company Coca-Cola Amatil and did not need government help.
“The money, the grant, the handout Coca-Cola Amatil was seeking from the federal government was designed not to turn SPC Ardmona from loss into profit, but to increase Coca-Cola Amatil’s return on its investment by one per cent,” Mr Turnbull said as workers held a protest banner behind him.
“The responsibility for this business and it flourishing is with its shareholder Coca-Cola Amatil, that has overwhelmingly the financial muscle and capacity to make that business work.”
Dr Glasson did not want to answer questions about how Queensland workers would be affected, saying he wanted to focus only on the Griffith campaign.
One of the workers, Michael Cannon, who had worked with SPC Ardmona for eight years, said the beans used by the company hailed from Queensland.
If the troubled cannery was to close, Queensland farmers would be hurt, he said.
“It is very frustrating we have to sit here and this is the only way were going to be noticed,” Mr Cannon earlier told AAP outside Dr Glasson’s campaign office.
“(Prime Minister) Tony Abbott doesn’t seem to care.”
The by-election, which came about after ex-prime minister Kevin Rudd resigned, will be held on Saturday.