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‘Friendless loser’: Tim Smith defies O’Brien, increases personal attacks in Twitter tirade

Firebrand Liberal MP Tim Smith has ignored his leader’s calls for decorum, launching a bizarre late-night Twitter attack on the Premier.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien has already asked Smith to stop playing the man, but that has clearly fallen on deaf ears.

Smith, unhappy that Victoria’s restaurants and bars are not yet open, called the Premier a “control freak wowser” in the online tirade, as well as “a friendless loser”. He referred to Mr Andrews as looking like “Lurch” and finished with “Dan has no mates”.

The tweet has proved wildly unpopular online, attracting nearly 300 likes from his fans but more than 1300 comments that are largely condemning.

3AW host Neil Mitchell, who has applauded Smith’s strong opposition in the past, today said he thought Mr Smith had crossed the line and may have put Mr O’Brien in a difficult position.

“In my view it challenges, directly and publicly, the authority of his leader, Michael O’Brien,” Neil said.

“I think (Mr O’Brien) will be further frustrated because this is going to get attention on a day Michael O’Brien is launching what looks to me to be a good idea to get Victorian manufacturing going again.

“A sideshow like this can distract from it.”

Click PLAY to hear Neil Mitchell’s full assessment

But Tim Smith, who has has doubled down in defence of his actions, says he hasn’t been reprimanded by Mr O’Brien for the controversial tweet.

“Sometimes you’ve got to use language … to cut through a very cluttered media market, and I’ve done that,” he told Neil Mitchell.

Mr Smith dismissed suggestions he is angling for party leadership.

“I can’t say I will never, never (run for leadership), but I’m certainly not at the moment,” he said.

Press PLAY to hear what Tim Smith had to say.

BACKGROUND

  • Tim Smith last week accused Andrews of acting “loony”
  • Michael O’Brien publicly rebuked that comment
  • Mr O’Brien also privately counselled Smith on the matter, and the fact that that interaction was leaked, seemingly from someone close to Smith
  • Mr Smith refused to apologise for the “loony” comment on 3AW Afternoons
  • Mr O’Brien spent much of Tuesday brushing off questions about whether Mr Smith was angling for the leadership
  • Smith last night upped the personal attacks with a late-night tweet attacking the Premier’s appearance
  • 3AW Breakfast listeners reacted angrily to the latest tirade, with the vast majority of more than 100 comments on social media making their disgust clear
  • Neil Mitchell said Mr Smith had “gone too far” and “challenges directly and publicly the authority of his leader, Michael O’Brien”.

In a schoolyard in the 70’s, the response to this would have been “I know you are, but what am I?” Puerile, I know, but it doesn’t warrant anything more thoughtful https://t.co/pdVfXr0SwN

— Martin Pakula (@MartinPakulaMP) May 13, 2020

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