If tweets are rocking the Indian cricket world, in Australia, a tweet snorting at President Obama has led to the expulsion of a brash young medical student from the opposition conservative party.
Nick Sowden of the Griffiths University has been expelled from the Queensland Liberal National Party after a storm erupted over his offensive remarks on the US President. The Young LNP member posted the tweets while an interview with Mr Obama was being screened on the ABC's the 7.30 Report Thursday night.
Advertisement"I'm not sure why they paid kerry to fly to america, if they wanted an interview with a monkey surely a ferry to Taronga would have sufficed (sic)," one tweet read. (Kerry O'Brien was the interviewer.)
"If I wanted to see a monkey on TV I'd watch Wildlife Rescue."
Mr Sowden appears on a list of Liberals on Twitter. In 2009 he was UQ's student council representative on the National Union of Students. A snap meeting held by the LNP president's committee decided to expel him for bringing the party into dispute.
But the former University of Queensland (UQ) medical student said he made the derogatory comments as a way to make fun of far right-wingers.
Speaking to radio station 2UE this morning, Mr Sowden said his tweets about Barack Obama had been taken out of context.
"It was made as more of a joke against the crazy right-wingers themselves," he said.
"If the internet and the Twitter-verse is going to policed Stasi-style by people and things taken out of context and dossiers made of you, I think that's a bit sad if that's what's happened to free speech in Australia."
Mr Sowden said if people were offended by his tweets then he would apologise.
"But if people are going to get offended by that — there are so many worse things that get said every day about Obama and worse things that happen in the world," he said.
"I don't think Barack Obama's a monkey — you can't be a monkey and be president of the United States."
Now Sowden claims that his tweets about Obama were "taken out of context." But his earlier tweets about Obama, and refugees, are equally outrageous -
- "its not the obama administration, its the obama disaster and it is an affront to freedom and the history of the WHITE house."
- "technically (refugees from the Middle East) aren't people, is there something from the UN on animal rights?"
He called the Prime Minister of New South Wales Kristina Keneally: "stupid .... you're not in the kitchen anymore!"
He had posted other tweets that most would think are much worse than any of the above, for the amusement of his friends, and then quickly deleted them. His facebook page has images depicting Obama as Hitler and photos of himself looking like a goon alongside former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson.
An obviously embarrassed Liberal Party, desperately trying to stage a comeback, quickly got its act together to expel the young Sowden. His Twitter account too has since been closed down.
You can't really delete Twitter messages. You can remove them from your timeline, but there are dozens of automated programs already archiving every non-private tweet posted, the second it's posted, for purposes of future data-mining, or to make up content of sites that, for example, catalogue every tweet posted that contains swear words, points out Darryl Mason, a Sydney based freelance writer.
Every tweet is permanent. Nothing disappears, Mason stresses and thinks perhaps Sowden has already tweeted any potential political career to death.
Actually he has been a bit of a conscientious medical student, involved as he was with health clinic-related work with Aborigines, and the poor of East Timor and Fiji. But it may not help him now one bit. He may have to live down the odium for long and wait for a conservative backlash sometime.
Coincidentally, the US National Library of Congress has announced it will be permanently archiving every public tweet posted. Forever.