Photo of Turnbull cradling granddaughter in one hand, beer in the other sets off minor social media storm

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's picture on his Facebook page which triggered widespread criticism.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's picture on his Facebook page which triggered widespread criticism.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ MALCOLM TURNBULL

MELBOURNE - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has triggered a backlash after he posted a picture of him holding his infant grandchild Alice and a beer while he watched a football match over the weekend.

The picture, posted on Saturday (Sept 9) on his Facebook page alongside the caption: "Multitasking at the footy", triggered some criticism about the post.

Some netizens took him to task for setting a bad example - drinking and grandparenting at the same time - while others scolded him for breathing alcohol-laden fumes near the baby's vulnerable nostrils, reported BBC News.

"Disgraceful holding a child with alcohol in hand!" wrote Marg Walker.

Another social media user wrote: "Does anyone see anything irresponsible with an adult hold(ing) a baby and juggling a beer? And when was drinking while holding a child OK?"

The Australian PM has since broken his silence about the controversial Facebook post, reported Australian media.

He dismissed the "crazy" trolls on Twitter who slammed the photo of him with his granddaughter and a beer at the footy.

"You've just got to be yourself," the Prime Minister told a radio station on Monday (Sept 11).

"You end up being as crazy as the trolls on Twitter if you do anything else," he told Melbourne radio station Triple M.

While many slammed their Prime Minister, others took to social media to defend Turnbull, saying there was nothing wrong with his actions.

Others pointed out that it is common to sensibly enjoy an alcoholic beverage in Australian sporting stadiums, reported BBC News.

Caroline Overington wrote: "This is absurd. The PM is taking good care of the baby. It's a beautiful shot."

One of Turnbull's followers wrote, "To me it's a nice pic of an Aussie Dad at the footy with his grandchild", while another said "good on him for being natural".

"What a beautiful photo. Mr Turnbull has every right to nurse and enjoy cuddling his grandchild," wrote Jan Robertson.

Even opposition lawmaker Pauline Hanson, a fierce critic of the Prime Minister, jumped to Turnbull's defence.

She said "whingers" who attacked Mr Turnbull over the photo should "get a life".

"These people are whingeing over nothing," Senator Hanson told Channel Seven's Sunrise programme on Monday.

"I've spent a lot of time with the Prime Minister, having meetings with him, I've seen him at functions, he is not a man that drinks actually," she said.

"If he had his green tea there, they would be whingeing about that because you are at a footy match with your green tea."

She said it was a "beautiful" photo and the Prime Minister clearly loved his grandchildren.

"This was beautiful and I take my hat off to the Prime Minister," she said.

"Anyone who's whingeing - go and get a life, get over it, move on."

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young - also a strong critic of the Prime Minister - said the photo was hardly Malcolm Turnbull's "Michael Jackson baby over the balcony' moment", reported news.com.au.

"If anything this has made the Prime Minister look a bit more personable to the public," she said.