Conservative Victorian politician Bernie Finn has taken down an offensive post on social media comparing Daniel Andrews to Hitler in what is the second controversy to hit the Liberal Party within a week.
Despite Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy just last month warning MPs to refrain from posting controversial content online, Mr Finn posted – and later deleted – an image depicting the Premier as the Nazi leader.
“The Despot tells us we’ll be free – then rushes into parliament a Bill giving himself total control over almost everything,” Mr Finn wrote.
“Victorians’ freedom has not been under this sort of threat since World War II.
“It’s time for us all to fight again!”
Mr Finn has become infamous for regularly posting controversial and often offensive content online, with some Liberals worried his online behaviour could bring the party into disrepute.
While other MPs often stir debate on social media, Mr Finn has published “jokes” about Chinese rockets falling on media personalities and politicians. In the past he also posted pro-Trump conspiracy theories, including that the former US president had been improperly removed from office.
Liberal MPs have publicly criticised Mr Finn’s content, which last month prompted a warning from Mr Guy that he would “expel” those taking part in bad behaviour on social media.
Mr Guy on Monday told reporters that he had not seen the post but had been told about it.
“It sounds, from what I’d heard, quite ridiculous,” Mr Guy said.
“People need to focus, all MPs need to focus on their jobs, and bad behaviour from any MP is not what the public respects at this point in time or any point in time.”
The incident is the second controversy to hit the Victorian opposition within a week, with shadow attorney-general Tim Smith resigning from the front bench after he drove drunk and crashed his car into a family’s home on the weekend.
The incident has prompted calls for Mr Smith, who had dreams of one day becoming Victorian premier, to resign from politics completely.
Fronting the media on Monday, Mr Guy said the MP’s fate would become more clear in the coming days.
The party was caught up in another controversy late last month after a recording of an expletive-laden party room meeting was leaked publicly, showing extreme division between MPs over the issue of gay conversion laws.
When asked if it was difficult to focus on the state’s future while constantly having to pull up his MPs, Mr Guy said it was time for them to “focus”.
“It is a gift to be elected as a member of parliament, it’s not a right, it’s an absolute privilege,” Mr Guy said.
“Taking advantage of or abusing or betraying trust is a very substantial problem.”
Mr Guy acknowledged it wasn’t a good look 13 months out from the state election.
“This obviously is not a good circumstance. No one can pretend otherwise, but there’s a lot of Victorians who are hurting,” he said.
“They want an opposition that is focused. It’s about time the state received that alternative, and it’s about time they received it without any level of interruption from poor behaviour.”