- August 19 2016
'It was a human reaction': Malcolm Turnbull defends giving money to a beggar
Mr Turnbull was photographed on Wednesday putting a $5 note in the cup of a homeless man as he was arriving to give a major speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.
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Turnbull: 'I felt sorry for the guy'
The Prime Minister defends giving money to a homeless man in Melbourne.
Mr Turnbull was asked by 3AW radio host Neil Mitchell why he gave the man money when people are advised not to do so.
"I know people have got different views on that, but every time I see someone in that situation I always think, 'There for the grace of God go I'," Mr Turnbull said.
"It was a human reaction and I'm sorry if that has disappointed some people. Maybe they think you shouldn't give money to people who are sitting on the street.
"Neil, I felt sorry for the guy and I think that we should all remember, 'There but for the grace of God goes me'."
Mr Turnbull has previously slept outside in the Canberra winter to raise money for homeless services.
The image of Mr Turnbull, who was holding a wad of cash in his other hand, has been widely shared on social media.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull gives a homeless man five dollars. Photo: AAP
Some social media users sharing the photo have criticised Mr Turnbull for being "stingy" while others have defended him and said those criticising him were being petty and mean-spirited.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has repeatedly asked Melburnians not to give money to beggars - and has suggested they give their money to buskers instead.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has advised against giving money to beggers. Photo: Jesse Marlow
"Melburnians are a generous lot, but please don't give money to beggars -
give it to the service providers like The Salvation Army and Melbourne City Mission,"
he wrote in an opinion piece earlier this year.
"If you give money, food, clothing, blankets and other goods to the homeless,
you are entrenching homelessness and making it easier for them to stay on the street."
In a 2013 article he wrote: "My view? Never give beggars money.
"It's no crime to be down on your luck, or homeless, or mentally ill, or suffering from drug or alcohol abuse.
"But in our city, you can always get a good free meal and, usually, a bed if you need one.
"But begging money goes either to scammers or to buy drugs and alcohol.
"It doesn't feed, or clothe, or house."
The Salvation Army said last year that small groups of "professional beggars"
are unfairly fuelling public cynicism towards genuinely homeless people who beg to survive.
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