A social media post about one premier for Father’s Day has been described as ‘nauseating’ and ‘disturbing’, but the man himself has laughed it off.
Premier Mark McGowan has enjoyed rock star status in Western Australia for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and has even been dubbed “state daddy”, but Labor may have taken it too far with its latest social media move.
The party posted on Facebook a link to a website, encouraging people to send Mr McGowan — who is in fact a dad of three — a Father’s Day message.
“Happy Father’s Day to our State Dad, Mark McGowan,” WA Labor wrote.
“Sign the card to wish Premier Mark McGowan Happy Dad’s Day.”
Hundreds of people reacted to the post, with some suggesting Labor had gone too far.
“Creepy. Disturbing,” one person wrote.
A second person said: “This has to have been the worst idea ever! How cringey!”
Another person wrote: “Hard pass. This is nauseating.”
While the majority of people in WA appear to support the state government’s hard border regime, some were critical of the fact they could not see their own dad’s for Father’s Day.
“Thanks for separating us from our real fathers. What a joke,” one person wrote.
But many others were keen to throw their support behind Mr McGowan, with some describing him as “the best Premier” who had “kept our state safe”.
“Hey WA Labor, can you pitch an idea to Mark for me? A McGowan calendar … preferably with the shirt off. I’ll be your number one buyer,” one person wrote.
Another said: “Thank you for having our health as your priority.”
The man himself laughed when he was asked about it on Sunday and said he did not know the party’s plan before it was posted.
Asked if it blurred the line of professionalism, Mr McGowan replied: “Social media is social media. People and organisations do all sorts of things. One of the things I’ve learnt about social media is you can’t control it.”
“I see a lot of cringey things online, including from media organisations — you know, they come and go,” Mr McGowan added when pressed on the issue further.
Asked if it left a sour taste for people separated from their fathers, Mr McGowan suggested the reporter was “over-egging it”.
The Premier said he had not read any of the messages, adding that if he read everything written about him online he would “never get offline”.
“People write all sorts of stuff. Some of it’s very odd,” he said.
“Things happen online. I wouldn’t overplay it.”
Mr McGowan, whose parents live in NSW, posted his own message on Facebook.
“Wishing all dads a very happy Father’s Day, including my own, Dennis,” he wrote.
“Many Western Australians throughout this pandemic have been separated from family and friends in the interest of everyone’s health.
“I know how difficult it can be … being separated on days like today are not easy. I’ll talk to Dad today over the phone, but I miss him a lot.”