A north coast activist who commented on Page MP Kevin Hogan’s Facebook post about the federal government’s free trade agreement with China has been banned from the page because he is ‘not a constituent’, according to the MP.
But the activist, who goes by the name of Sebastian Rooks on Facebook, insists he lives in the Page electorate and has previously commented positively on Mr Hogan’s posts.
In part, Mr Hogan’s post read, ‘The agreement gives local exporters market access to the world’s second largest economy. We export a lot of product from our region and this deal helps them. Whether it be beef, dairy, macas, blueberries, education and health services, the list goes on.
‘This is great news for companies like Mountain Farm Blueberries, Northern Co-Operate Meat Company, Kimberly Kampers and Norco to name a few that will be able to provide more jobs in our region as they continue their strong push into China,’ the post continued.
But Mr Rooks chose to disagree, saying all of the region’s top produce would now be exported to China.
‘We get to export our top quality food to them and we get rubbish in return. With all FTAs the food left in our supermarkets costs more and is lower quality,’ the comment read.
‘Does the agreement have a sunset so if the consumer is disadvantaged we can cancel it? Nup,’ it continued.
Mr Rooks then went somewhat off-topic, adding ‘Aside from the fact that not a single FTA has ever lived up to expectations or provided benefits to citizens of Australia – there is still the ethical thorn in the side of dealing with China – Tienanmen Square, South China Sea aggression and of course this…. Chinese government exposed targeting dissidents and harvesting their organs for sale internationally.’
Asked why the comment had been deleted, Mr Hogan told Echonetdaily, ‘My Facebook page is predominantly a forum for people [who are] living in Page and are on the electoral roll. The “person” Sebastian Rooks is not on the electoral roll nor can he be found in the White Pages.’
Mr Hogan further referred Echonetdaily to his Facebook posting policy, which includes a long list of possible reasons for exclusion, including ‘comments that Kevin or/and his staff deem inappropriate’.
But Mr Rooks says ‘unless I have misunderstood something, nothing has been violated at all. I have to say I am perplexed by this from an elected official. There are numerous reasons why a Facebook user may not be on the electoral role [including] because of previous government interference, one may choose anonymity
In particular, he highlighted congratulating the MP over his stance on same-sex marriage on a recent Echonetdaily Facebook post.