on air now

Deputy health chief deletes Twitter app, gets schooled on social media

Victoria’s deputy health chief has been schooled on social media use and deleted Twitter from her phone in response to her tweet comparing coronavirus to James Cook.

But there is no apology and her controversial tweet has not been deleted.

After a complaint from the state opposition, Victoria’s Public Sector Commission conducted an investigation and found that Dr Annaliese van Diemen had not broken any rules.

But it welcomed news that the doctor had been counselled on social media use and found that “Dr van Diemen is now aware of the potential risks of private social media commentary”.

“The risks of private use of social media when working in the public sector, and in particular when occupying a role that involves high profile public communication, have been discussed with Dr van Diemen,” the report said.

“In addition, the Secretary [of the health department] has advised the Commission that Dr van Diemen recognises the risk of diverting attention from the critical public health messages to the community and has subsequently removed her Twitter account from her phone.”

The report also said the incident would result in a public service-wide update and reiteration of social media policies.

Brighton MP James Newbury, who reported the tweet to the commissioner, described the report as a “thumbs down” to the tweet, and wants Dr van Diemen to apologise or delete the tweet.

“I think a real sign of remorse would be to delete it,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“Victorians shouldn’t be paying public servants to be Left-wing political activists, it’s really that easy.”

Click PLAY to hear the full interview and details