Member for Gosnells Chris Tallentire has apologised for any upset caused by a retweet regarding Federal Canning candidate Andrew Hastie but said he had not known the original tweet was a joke.
Mr Hastie, the Liberal candidate for the Canning by-election and former special air service (SAS) soldier, had commanded troops who were investigated for removing the hands of dead Taliban fighters.
One soldier was still under investigation but Mr Hastie was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The story broke in Melbourne’s Saturday morning newpapers.
The same morning Mr Tallentire, also the shadow environment minister, retweeted a post alleging Mr Hastie believed campaigning for solar was aggressive and asking for a show of hands on it.
Mr Tallentire’s upper house colleague, Member for Agricultural region Darren West also retweeted posts that refered to Mr Hastie including the slogan ‘hands of Canning’ and a comment linking former speaker Bronwyn Bishop with Mr Hastie and a ‘chopper’.
WA Labor leader Mark McGowan, a former naval officer, said he had spoken to both politicians and told them the posts were unacceptable and they needed to think before acting.
Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten described the tweets as disgraceful.
Mr Tallentire said today he had not read the story and had not realised the hands comment was a joke aimed at Mr Hastie’s link to the investigation.
“I took the tweet at face value with the common understanding of what that means,” he said.
“I apologise for any upset caused but the fact is that it’s an impossible situation, it’s a common expression in English and suddenly we’ve gone to a show of hands meaning something totally different.
“You can see from my twitter page that I don’t tweet a lot, I’m not a big user of twitter and I don’t think there’s a single tweet there that’s a joke, I just put out what some people might say is earnest, boring, political stuff.”
Mr Tallentire has since removed the retweet from his twitter page.