‘Flog’: MP hammered over social post
Liberal MP Tim Smith has been slammed online for calling Swiss tennis star Stan Wawrinka a "flog" as he took aim at tennis stars complaining about their 14-day quarantine after arriving in Australia.
More than 70 players are undergoing a hard two-week lockdown after positive COVID-19 cases were identified on three flights carrying competitors Down Under for the Australian Open, which begins next month.
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After initially believing they'd be allowed out of their hotel for five hours a day to practise and receive treatment, Victorian health authorities have declared anyone on those flights must remain in isolation and not leave their room for 14 days.
The change sparked a furious backlash among players, who claimed the rules had been "re-written overnight".
But few will sympathise with the tennis community, given some healthy Australians are still not allowed to cross borders in their own country while international sports stars are allowed in.
Smith, who was extremely critical of the lockdowns imposed by Victorian Premier Dan Andrews during the height of coronavirus in Melbourne and the rest of the state, reacted to a photo of Wawrinka eating a meal in his hotel room while blowing up about the "double standard" of allowing tennis players into Australia.
"For every Victorian currently in Sydney that is banned from returning home by Daniel Andrews, this obscene double standard, where this flog of a tennis player is allowed in, and our own people aren't, must make so many Victorian families incandescent," Smith tweeted.
"Roger Federer … all class … let's hope he can come back when it's safe to come back and no risk to all hardworking Victorians!"
Smith came under fire because while many players complained, three-time grand slam champion Wawrinka was not one of them and is happy to abide by the quarantine rules - as his post showed.
Unsurprisingly, the internet came quickly for Smith, with his attack attracting nearly 850 comments.
Sports reporter Mark Gottlieb replied: "You're a troll with an MP's salary. Honestly … do you honestly think people will vote for you when you act like this?"
Richard Hinds called it "bizarre" and wrote: "First rule of Flog Club. Anyone who uses the word flog is probably …
"Social media manager might be in for a bollocking tomorrow?"
Journalist Luke Dennehy added: "Whatever you think of the Aus Open going ahead or not, or quarantine issues, borders etc - Stan Wawrinka certainly is not a 'flog of a tennis player'. His post was actually in support of the quarantine system and the fact he is grateful to be here. He was being thankful."
JR Hennessy tweeted: "Point scoring on the Australian Open is just about the easiest political win in the country right now, and you've somehow fumbled it. Very impressive."
Reporter Josh Butler also chimed in, tweeting: "He says he's 'happy to be here' and 'grateful'. Which bit specifically makes him a 'flog'?
Dee Madigan said: "Did you even read his tweet? Or is making a fool of yourself (again) something you enjoy?"
Originally published as 'Flog': MP hammered over social post