Victoria’s footy-obsessed Consumer Affairs Minister, Michael O’Brien has been caught out on Twitter making a joke about the Tiger Airways debacle while his department does nothing to support or advise Tiger customers about their consumer rights.
The Shadow Minister for Consumer Protection, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the grounding of Tiger Airways had forced thousands of Victorian families to abandon school holiday vacations and scramble to find alternative travel or seek refunds.
But instead of making sure Consumer Affairs Victoria was acting to support stranded customers, Mr O’Brien was at the football making jokes on Twitter about their predicament.
“Michael O’Brien will soon start to realise his job doesn’t stop when the footy starts,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
“This weekend, while thousands of Tiger passengers were rethinking holiday plans, Mr O’Brien tweeted “Tulla not only place Tigers grounded” – following Richmond’s loss to Carlton.
“The tweet was insensitive and totally inappropriate from the Minister who is meant to protect Victoria’s consumers in situations like this.
“Mr O’Brien needs to understand the confusion and angst the Tiger Airways suspension has caused – not to mention the many thousands of dollars it has cost families.”
Ms D’Ambrosio said in the past, airline disruptions caused a rush of calls to the Consumer Affairs Victoria hotline but there was no information on the CAV website about what Tiger customers should do.
“The Minister has a key responsibility to inform Victorian consumers about their rights, and how CAV will assist them in situations like this,” she said.
“CAV deals with complaints about airlines all the time – and usually these are about refunds policy.
“At a minimum Mr O’Brien must make information available on the CAV website and establish a special hotline to deal with a potentially large number of complaints.
“But instead, all he does is tweet jokes at the footy.”