ACT Education Minister Joy Burch may go back to the class room to learn about using social media after retweeting offensive comments about her federal counterpart Christopher Pyne.
Ms Burch retweeted, or republished, a November 29 post by the Twitter user @GhostofPJK which labelled Mr Pyne "a c--t" and suggested he was smugly loitering during a press conference by state and territory education ministers on the Gonski school funding reforms.
Ms Burch said she had retweeted the post by accident and had apologised to Mr Pyne.
ACT Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson called on Chief Minister Katy Gallagher to sack Ms Burch.
"It’s unacceptable for Joy Burch to be in charge of schools and the education of children in the ACT," Mr Hanson said.
"This tweet has now been publicised through the national media and threatens the ACT’s ability to negotiate effectively with the Commonwealth."
Ms Burch said she had contacted Mr Pyne’s office to apologise for the tweet.
“I was looking at a picture, I thought I was closing it. It caused offence and I apologise."
Ms Burch said she would consider taking up an offer by the University of Canberra for her to attend a social media course.
“I think there is a lesson for all of us who use social media,’’ she said.
“Once it’s out there, it’s out there. I think it is a lesson for young and old alike to be very, very careful with social media.’’
The Minster Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, said Ms Burch’s behaviour indicated she lacked the judgment required to discharge the responsibilities associated with her position.
"Politics may be a rough game, but there is a basic standard of human decency which Ms Burch seems to lack," Senator Cash said.
The Federal Government’s cybersmart.gov.au website warns young people:
“When you share things online you may be sharing with other people you do not know or trust. Once a message, photo or video has been shared, you won't be able to control where it goes.’’
Ms Burch said she should have been paying more attention.
“It was something that happened that I regret deeply,’’ she said.
“That I didn’t pay more attention, that I haven’t finessed my social skills, my Twitter skills on this.’’
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said she had accepted Ms Burch’s explanation that the retweet was an accident.
“I also believe that she has done the right thing and accepted responsibility for what happened, offered an explanation of how it happened, expressed regret and has offered an apology to Minister Pyne,’’ Ms Gallagher said.
Ms Burch came under fire from the opposition earlier this year for appointing local media and arts personality Jorian Gardner to run the 2014 Fringe Festival.
Mr Gardner lost the role in 2009.
Last month Mr Gardner was fined by a magistrate for drink driving while unlicensed.
Ms Burch has also been criticised for ordering the closure of the Women’s Information and Referral Centre in Civic as part of a restructure of women’s services.
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