‘Leave my family out of it,’ says emotional Daniel AndrewsSeptember 15, 2020
An emotional Premier Daniel Andrews has urged civility in public debate after a pair of boots was left at the front of the location of his father's funeral as part of an online campaign to "Give Dan the Boot".
The organiser of the campaign, 19-year-old Liberal Party activist Edward Bourke, apologised for the "unacceptable" use of Mr Andrews' family in political expression but said the Premier may be using the controversy to distract from his government's performance.
Premier Daniel Andrews at his father’s funeral in 2016.Credit:Elenor Tedenborg / Shana Morgan
An online event that more than 65,000 people registered their interest in encouraged Victorians to place a pair of boots at the front of their homes last Sunday and use the #GiveDanTheBoot hashtag to promote the campaign.
Online campaign organiser Edward Bourke sasid the incident was unacceptable. Credit:
Mr Bourke is the administrator of the group. The activist's LinkedIn account lists him as the managing director of a political consultancy called 470 Bourke.
Following Mr Andrews' comments, Victoria Forward released a statement on its Facebook page saying it was unaware a participant in the campaign had taken the photo at the sensitive location.
"Victoria Forward is a champion of free speech and political discourse. However, we do not endorse use of personal tragedy for political point-scoring," the statement said, adding the group had no role in the production of the image.
"Many thousands of Victorians took part in the Give Dan the Boot campaign in a respectful and considered way, and this one intensive action by a rogue third party should not detract from the message those other Victorians sent to Premier Daniel Andrews.
"The Premier may be attempting to use this one, admittedly regrettable image, to distract from the fact Victorians have rejected his leadership and demonstrated in their tens of thousands [at protests].
"Millions are under effective house arrest, hundreds of thousands have lost their job, and Victoria is falling apart. This is what we must focus on."
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