Senior Liberal party staffer uses fake account to troll on social media
A chief Liberal adviser used a fake online account in an apparent attempt to have a woman reprimanded by her employer for speaking out about a lack of abortion services in Tasmania.
Premier Will Hodgman’s principal adviser Martine Haley, who is reported to be on a salary of between $190,000 and $220,000, has been using the alias “Alice Wood-Jones” on both Facebook and as an email.
The ABC has seen documents that show the email account was used to send photos of a woman’s comments about abortion on Twitter to her employer.
It’s understood the woman targeted by the fake account suspected the Liberals and contacted the Premier’s office.
A meeting was subsequently arranged and the woman brought Hobart lawyer Susan Fahey as a witness.
Ms Fahey told the ABC the adviser, Ms Haley, admitted to being behind the alias.
“Yes she admitted that she ran the fake account, had a fake email account and a fake Facebook account of the same name and that she had actually sent screenshots to the woman’s employer to draw her attention to the views on abortions,” she said.
“That was done with obviously with the intent to cause trouble with her employer.”
A spokesman for the Liberals said the Premier became aware of the issue yesterday.
“It is entirely unacceptable. Appropriate action is being taken,” he said.
The fake Facebook account has been peddling party propaganda and attacking other political parties for months.
On one Facebook post about Tasmanian Labor’s health policy, the fake account posted:
“Not convinced, it sounds like a rushed, ill-thought-out policy.”
In relation to another policy, the pseudo-account posted:
It also publicly criticised Labor’s gaming policy and individual ALP candidates.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor questioned if the use of fake social media accounts among Liberal staff was common.
“Do all of the Liberal officers have a fake account who will target people to speak up against Liberal policy? It’s disturbing to stay the least,” Ms O’Connor said.
The Premier’s spokesman did not respond to questions about whether any other Liberal staff had access to the fake accounts, or if the practice was widespread.
Ms Haley has been contacted for comment.