New kid on the block: Matthew Guy bars East West Link critics, Twitter users claim

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The Age: New kid on the block: Matthew Guy bars East West Link critics, Twitter users claim. December 18, 2014. Henrietta Cook

It’s the quickest way to silence a voice you don’t like – block them on Twitter.

And Victoria’s new Opposition Leader, and former planning minister, Matthew Guy appears to have taken a liking to Twitter’s “block” function, recently barring a handful of users opposed to the East West Link.

Twitter user Andrew Bullen said he was blocked after saying the comprehensive impact statement for the now-scrapped tunnel project was not comprehensive.

Barred users have started a #blockedbyguy hashtag, with some declaring being blocked by Mr Guy a badge of honour.

Harriet Mantell, a member of Residents Against the Tunnel who helped organise rallies opposing the $6.8 billion road, said she realised she had been blocked a few days ago.

She said the move was not very democratic.

“I think it’s a shame. I think its important for politicians to be inclusive and hear all viewpoints, and blocking should only be for those people who are abusive, not for those people who have a different view to you.”

Ms Mantell said she had included Mr Guy’s Twitter handle in many of her tweets about the East West Link, but was never abusive.

“I don’t believe in being abusive. Critical yes, but not abusive.”

Andrew Kelly has been heavily involved in a range of campaigns opposing the tunnel project and was blocked by Mr Guy and former treasurer Michael O’Brien. He has been a vocal critic of the project but said he had never been abusive.

“They have never ever tried to refute or engage with people who disagree with the project. Their approach is a way of sterilising interaction between themselves and the electorate.”

Mr Guy is an active Twitter user and has more than 5,500 followers.

Mr Guy has been contacted for comment.

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