Former prime minister Scott Morrison’s secret ministerial self-appointments have incited a scathing cascade of criticism, including calls for his resignation.
But shortly after issuing an apology to his former home affairs minister Karen Andrews, who called on him to quit after he shared her portfolio without telling her, Mr Morrison was making jokes about the saga.
On the official page for the Member for Cook, Mr Morrison embarked on a Facebook commenting spree on Thursday night, interacting with dozens of posts — even making his own memes.
The social media flurry led to Mr Morrison copping fresh criticism. He was accused of reducing the seriousness of for health, finance, home affairs, Treasury and resources, without telling the Australian public or most of the ministers concerned.
Scott Morrison: ‘A great opportunity for me’
No job was unattainable for Mr Morrison, who seemed to delight in the trend which placed him in gardening, roof tiling and modelling jobs, to name a few.
“Meet our New Wheel Alignment Tech,” wrote a tyre dealership and repair shop on Facebook. Replying to the post, Mr Morrison said it was “a great opportunity for me”.
A Melbourne tree lopping business posted that Mr Morrison had “just added Lead Climbing Arborist to his portfolio and started working for us without telling anyone.”
Under the post, Mr Morrison joked back.
“What time do you need me for my first shift,” he wrote on Thursday afternoon.
A roof tiling Facebook page also received a response from Mr Morrison who said, “happy to do my bit”.
As did one person who suggested the memes were a product of Mr Morrison having a “taxpayer-funded PR team,” to which he replied: “don’t have one. I’m a backbencher”.
The former leader said it was “starting to get a bit weird”, though, when a clothing store pasted his face onto a woman modelling its sun shirts. Mr Morrison was both the model and photographer, according to the caption from the business.
But the move has seen him draw further backlash. Dispersed between comments commending Mr Morrison for a “sense of humour”, were disparaging remarks.
“You think the running of this country is a joke. Have some humility and say you made a mistake. We don’t need US-style gloating about how badly you behaved in office,” said one person who has since received 1500 likes on his comment.
“It’s almost like he is trying to distract everyone from forgetting something,” another person wrote.
“He has a total inability to tread the mood of the nation,” another comment on Facebook stated.
The criticisms were made under a post where the former prime minister photoshopped images of himself in various groups, including as the head of the NRL’s Cronulla Sharks, the team he supports.
“It’s been fun joining in on all the memes but there are so many now I can’t keep up,” he said in the post to his 788,000 followers.
“As Aussies we can chuckle at ourselves. Have a good evening.”
Mr Albanese was also not impressed by the conduct on Facebook, he said on ABC television on Friday.
“I think this undermining of our parliamentary system of government, of the whole Westminster system, and our democratic traditions of accountability, are things that aren’t a laughing matter,” he said.
“I’m surprised at the response of Mr Morrison to this but, then again, I frankly was shocked by the revelations that he not only was prime minister, but took over responsibility or shared responsibility for five different portfolios as well.”
Responding to the backlash, a spokesperson for the Member for Cook in Sydney told SBS News: “Mr Morrison has always had a good sense of humour.”
“He knows the issues are important, but at the same time he was happy to join in on the joke at his own expense. He saw some of the posts and found them amusing. He did all the posts himself.”
During a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Morrison apologised for “any concern this has caused” to his colleagues.
Earlier in the week, former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull described Morrison’s actions as “sinister stuff”, former Liberal leader John Howard said “I don’t think he should have done that”, and Opposition leader Peter Dutton said he had “made the wrong call”.