The Small Business Minister Brendan O’Connor has apologised after a Twitter gaffe where he described volunteer firefighting by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, as “f***ing up” and a “stunt”.
O’Connor retweeted a tweet Abbott sent on Tuesday about the fires – ”I’m now on my way to Sydney to be on standby with my local fire brigade” – and added the hashtag ”#standbystunt”.
He also retweeted tweets from his followers including “Abbott has F**ED UP badly with his latest stunt… most will see it as pure self-promotion” and “Abbott on bike, Abbott on horse, Abbott on beach, Abbott in fire-truck. What’s next? @ABCmarkscott Abbott sitting at desk developing policies?”
But O’Connor quickly deleted the tweets and apologised: ”Apologies for any offence. I respect and acknowledge the critical work of all our volunteer firefighters including Tony Abbott.”
O’Connor who uses the Twitter account @BOConnorMP has over 2,000 followers on Twitter and is a fairly enthusiastic user of the micro-blogging service, having tweeted over 700 times.
The Small Business Minister’s office told SmartCompany he was unavailable for comment.
Bruce Billson, the shadow minister for small business, told SmartCompany O’Connor’s remarks on Twitter were an “unnecessary and unsubstantiated” attack on Abbott.
“It follows a long line of attacks on the Opposition Leader that do nothing to address the issues which confront the country,” Billson says.
“The Minister is right to apologise because he shouldn’t have said anything in the first place.”