A Victorian MP has served up something of a double-fault on social media in an attempt to score political points over the Australian Open quarantine saga.
Several of the roughly 1200 players and staff flown to Melbourne on charter flights for the upcoming grand slam have been told they will be quarantined for 14 days after a number of positive coronavirus cases were detected among passengers on board.
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The news that some players will not be allowed out to exercise and train in the lead-up to the Australian Open hasn’t been well received by some, with Victorian premier Daniel Andrews slapping down various requests from the likes of Novak Djokovic.
The arrival of international players in Melbourne while some Victorian residents remain unable to enter their home state due to ongoing border restrictions has rankled some, with opposition MP Tim Smith taking to Twitter to lash out at what he described as ‘double standard’.
Seeking to make a point about the said double standard, Smith labelled fan favourite Stan Wawrinka a ‘flog’ when he retweeted the Swiss player’s own post about being in quarantine after he was on the same flight as a confirmed positive case.
For every Victorian currently in Sydney that is banned from returning home by Daniel Andrews, this obscene double standard, where this flog of a tennis player is allowed in, and our own people aren’t, must make so many Victorian families incandescent... https://t.co/rNdGhi3mVb
— Tim Smith MP (@TimSmithMP) January 17, 2021
Despite including the hashtags ‘grateful’ and ‘happy to be here’, separating himself from some other players who have complained about the quarantine arrangements, Smith nevertheless targeted Wawrinka for his outrage - a decision which quickly backfired.
“For every Victorian currently in Sydney that is banned from returning home by Daniel Andrews, this obscene double standard, where this flog of a tennis player is allowed in, and our own people aren’t, must make so many Victorian families incandescent,” Smith posted.
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Many were perplexed by the member for Kew’s decision to target one of the few players not to have complained about the quarantine arrangements.
While some players have lashed out against the quarantine protocols, and others have requested private accomodation with access to courts, Wawrinka has been one of a handful to publicly support the Victorian government’s decision.
This made Smith’s decision to label him a ‘flog’ an own goal for many on Twitter.
Point scoring on the Australian Open is just about the easiest political win in the country right now, and you’ve somehow fumbled it. Very impressive
— henno (@jrhennessy) January 17, 2021
he says he's "happy to be here" and "grateful". Which bit specifically makes him a "flog"?
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) January 17, 2021
First rule of Flog Club. Anyone who uses the word flog is probably... https://t.co/X32he7ml0x
— Richard Hinds (@rdhinds) January 17, 2021
Whatever you think of the Aus Open going ahead or not, or quarantine issues, borders etc - Stan Wawrinka certainly is not a ‘flog of a tennis player.” His post was actually in support of the quarantine system and the fact he is grateful to be here. He was being thankful https://t.co/irULuGjZE1
— Luke Dennehy (@LukeDennehy) January 17, 2021
What a disgraceful thing to say to somebody who came as a guest to play in our great city. @stanwawrinka , I apologise on behalf of Victorians for these disgusting comments, he does not represent this nations values or beliefs, he is simply looking to create headlines.
— Spectator (@rrp454) January 17, 2021
It comes after Victoria also announced on Monday that four more Australian Open participants, including one player, have been recorded with COVID-19 infections and more cases may come to light as testing continues.
Health authorities in Victoria have now reported nine infections among passengers that arrived in Melbourne on charter flights.
“All four are associated with the tennis, and they're all tucked away safely in hotel quarantine,” Andrews said.
Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton added: “I think the people who tested positive thus far were probably exposed before they got on the flights.
“But it will be the test results in coming days that will give us a picture of whether anyone's had infection transmitted to them on a flight.
“That's why the rules are extremely strict for these tennis players and their entourage, as much as for any other international arrival.”
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