High cost of ‘liking’ Dan
Premier’s Facebook bill
PREMIER Daniel Andrews has spent at least $380,000 of taxpayers’ money hunting for “likes” for his Facebook page and creating videos he starred in that were shared on his social media platforms.
Since coming to power in 2014, Mr Andrews has billed taxpayers at least $98,000 for marketing firms to create such videos.
He also dipped into the public purse for other production costs — including music licence fees, and car and equipment hire.
Mr Andrews has spent at least $284,000 in two years boosting his Facebook posts to push Labor’s message to online audiences.
The greatest video cost was the series of clips — most starring Mr Andrews — used to promote the state Budgets.
Videos for the 2017-18 Budget cost $53,401 and included 15 clips shared on Facebook.
Taxpayers were billed $687.50 for a “Facebook Live Q&A” with Mr Andrews and comedian Corinne Grant about that year’s Budget.
The 2016-17 Budget videos cost $21,368.95 to produce and last April’s 2018-19 Budget videos cost $16,698.
Music licence fees for a oneminute video Mr Andrews’ shared on the government’s rental policy cost the public purse $545.
Another $2730 was spent for a boutique video production house to interview the Premier about how his father’s death shaped his views on vol- untary assisted dying. The $98,857 video production figure, released under a Freedom of Information request, does not include the costs of producing videos showcasing Labor infrastructure projects that Mr Andrews’ social media page regularly shares.
The Premier’s digital team of up to four staff created 20 more videos specifically for his Facebook page.
The Herald Sun revealed last year Mr Andrews was spending six-figure sums on Facebook to “boost” his posts and ensure his 548,053 followers saw them.
He also paid for sponsored posts, which could be targeted to a specific audience and reach them even if they don’t “like” his page.
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said if the Premier were so “desperate for selfpromotion he should go on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here”. “It will keep his ego happy and save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Mr O’Brien said.
The government said the majority of the spending was on producing videos to advertise the Victorian Budget.
It said this was standard practice and not created just for the Premier’s social media pages.
“Social media is just one of the ways we communicate with Victorians,” a spokeswoman said.