Derogatory post claims are fake: Vic Libs

Michael O'Brien says he's loath to use the term fake news but fears this time it might apply.
Michael O'Brien says he's loath to use the term fake news but fears this time it might apply.

Claims some Victorian Liberals anonymously exchanged sexist, racist and homophobic messages have been rejected as fake by party leadership.

It's alleged the messages were sent using the messaging app Jodel in the vicinity of the Liberal Party Victoria Division State Council meeting at the weekend.

According to The Age, messages included: "This safe schooler sounds gay AF (as f***)", "Can we send the Mormons to Indonesia with the rest of our rubbish?" and "I want curries and I want them now" in reference to party member Rampal Muthyala.

The messages come on the heels of recent factional infighting over the direction of the party, including recruiting from conservative religious groups.

But Michael O'Brien, Victoria's opposition and Liberal leader, said he was unconvinced the messages were legitimate.

"There's something that doesn't smell right about this to me. I'm loath to use the term fake news but I think it might be apt in this case," he told reporters at state parliament on Tuesday.

"It's a completely anonymous platform, the terms that have allegedly been used are ones that were basically printed up in The Age a few months ago mentioning some of the same people, it's using a social media hashtag which the party had publicised so there's nothing that says this happened at state council, just in the vicinity of Moonee Ponds."

Mr O'Brien has previously called out inappropriate behaviour within the party and says he would be prepared to do so again with stronger evidence.

The Victorian Liberal party is working to regroup after its dismal performance at the November state election which returned Labor to power with an increased majority.

Australian Associated Press