The Victorian health minister has been forced to explain himself after he was caught appearing to attack the prime minister on social media.
Martin Foley’s verified Facebook page commented on a post from Scott Morrison that was attempting to sympathise with locked-down Victorians.
Mr Morrison took to Facebook on May 27 to “commend the Victorian Government and the Acting Premier for their efforts, particularly over recent days”.
“Our focus now is working together to ensure Victoria can reopen as soon as possible,” the PM wrote.
“I also want to thank the contact tracers in Victoria for the very difficult job they are engaged in, and the tremendous effort they are putting in to keep Victorians and all Australians safe.”
More than 4500 people commented on the post, with most attacking the prime minister for various reasons.
And one of those 4500 people appeared to be Mr Foley, who penned a furious comment under the post.
“Shame on you! This is on you,” Mr Foley’s verified Facebook account wrote.
However, when questioned about the apparent attack today, Mr Foley said the comment hadn’t come from him.
“I didn’t post that,” he said.
“Fortunately, I don’t have administration rights on my social media channels. I leave that to people under 50.
“I was disappointed that that happened.”
Mr Foley said he had proven during his political career how well he worked with the federal government.
“I think, if any minister from around all the states has demonstrated a capacity to work as cooperatively as possible with the Commonwealth, I might claim that title.”
When asked if the shame post reflected how he truly felt, the health minister issued another denial.
“No, they do not,” he said.
While Mr Foley claimed to be the best minister in terms of relations with the federal government, he doesn’t always avoid attacks on the Commonwealth.
Last month, Mr Foley lashed the federal government for slashing millions of dollars in funding from Victoria’s hospitals in its 2021 budget.
Mr Foley said the federal government had cut an estimated $93 million from the state’s health allocation, leaving services extremely vulnerable.
“It beggars belief that in the midst of a global pandemic the commonwealth would use this as an opportunity to reduce services available to public hospitals,” he said.
“It means less services, less nurses, less doctors and less support at a time when the entire Australian community is placing unprecedented levels of demand on those same services.”