Unfriended: Australian MP Andrew Wilkie calls biocops on Facebook

While it was an attempt to spread festive cheer, Facebook's floral arrangements ended up breaching Tasmanian biosecurity laws.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Andrew Wilkie and the quarantined flowers

Image: Andrew Wilkie

Tasmanian federal MP Andrew Wilkie has had to zip up a floral arrangement he received from Facebook in a quarantine bag after it was found to be in breach of Tasmanian biosecurity laws.

According to Wilkie, the flowers were an "unprompted promotional floral arrangement" sent by Facebook on Monday, and he was "very concerned" that the delivery had not been given the all clear by Biosecurity Tasmania. 

"It arrived [on Monday] by Australia Post and was apparently sent to all Tasmanian Federal MPs and Senators," he told ZDNet.

"It immediately sparked concerns about implications for the Tasmanian environment and the likelihood of it being a serious breach of Tasmania's tough but entirely warranted biosecurity laws.

"My office immediately contacted Biosecurity Tasmania who were very concerned that the arrangement had not been quarantine cleared and likely contained live seeds and the possibility of serious pests and diseases. I was very pleased to see Biosecurity Tasmania responded quickly and professionally."

See also: Facebook data privacy scandal: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Wilkie made the announcement about the breach initially via a tweet

A Facebook spokesperson told ZDNet that it has reached out to Biosecurity Tasmania to "understand more about what happened here".

"We sent an Australian native wreath to Mr Wilkie to spread some festive cheer and share information about a local business from his electorate that features in our 2019 Gift Guide. The Gift Guide celebrates regional small business owners and encourages Australians to buy to support regional communities for the holidays, especially now in this time when so many are experiencing drought," the spokesperson said.


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