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April 14, 2021

Trade [dis]agreement: MP removes activist from Facebook page

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Mr Hogan's Facebook post.
Mr Hogan’s Facebook post.

Chris Dobney

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.’

Mr Rooks' contratulatory response to Mr Hogan.
Mr Rooks’ contratulatory response to Mr Hogan.

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.


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  1. Hogan’s right…and very astute to have noticed the way his page had been taken over by some activist with a wider agenda. It’s an extremely common tactic for people to ‘commandeer’ or infiltrate someone’s page, or to dominate a social network with idiosyncratic arguments that are more appropriately addressed to the Foreign Affairs Minister or on a relevant website dealing with specific topics.

  2. Please don’t bin this comment because you can’t find me in the white pages.

    Mr Hogan what a load, of codswallop! Tell it like it is. Your party tolerates no free speech if it interferes with/questions the illusion of Chinese Free Trade. I am waiting for the fine print on wages and conditions for foreign workers.

    Another wedge undermining income levels and living standards in this country.

    It might also be helpful for your voters to know what your position is in relation to mining in National parks. Specifically, ilmenite left in the ground by your mates in the sand mining industry.

    But don’t worry. After you have turned this country into a nation of workers wearing reflective vests and struggling on meagre income you can retire to the old country as an ambassador or human rights commissioner.

  3. I am a Page constituent and have been banned from Kevin’s FaceBook page. I commented, without ANY nastiness or abuse, on a Federal Government policy and Kevin’s response last year. I was promptly banned. If Mr Hogan bans everyone, whether they are a Labor, CDP, Greens or kallathumpian member or supporter from making legitimate comment of his social media, which is not in accordance with Mr Hogan’s wishes or LNP policy – then he will have a very boring, stilted and tiny folllowing. Legimate debate is enlightening. Listening only to the those who agree with you 100%, will lead to a very short political life indeed.


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