A Liberal MP’s taxpayer-funded staffer has shared a photo of himself dressed up as US teenager Kyle Rittenhouse for a party last month, which Scott Morrison’s office has condemned as “completely inappropriate”.

Barclay McGain works for federal MP Andrew Laming — who has been embroiled in his own alleged harassment scandals this year — and is the former chair of the Gold Coast Young Liberals.

You’ll remember McGain from *those* fucked up and racist schoolies videos from 2019 in which he asked teenagers whether or not we should ditch the Australian flag. Laming fired him over the viral videos, but rehired him six months later saying he was an important asset for his youth connections.

Rittenhouse is the teenager who travelled to a Black Lives Matter rally in Wisconsin in 2020 with his assault rifle and fatally shot two protestors, but last month was sensationally acquitted of all charges. The decision was meant to set a precedent in the US, but instead it once again protected a violent white man. The trial divided opinions nationwide and the verdict has sparked further protests against the US’s fkd justice system. 

In the photo, McGain posed in a t-shirt and pants, wearing blue surgical gloves and holding a paint ball rifle – the same outfit Rittenhouse wore when he shot three men, killing two and wounding the other.

The photo was captioned: “Kyle Rittenhouse on neighbourhood watch duties in Brisbane’s south tonight … #NotGuilty.”

He’s since defended his decision and then said some BS about how it’s just a costume, likening it to dressing up as Edward Scissorhands (who he calls a child murderer, but I think he means Freddy Krueger???), but it just doesn’t wash with his record of racism and far-right trolling.

He also said that, because Rittenhouse was acquitted of murder, anyone who was offended by his costume of a man who considers himself an anti-BLM militia member needed to “learn to respect the rule of law”.

I cannot.

McGain said he was “not particularly worried” for his employment as the event was outside work hours.

But a federal government spokesperson said on Wednesday afternoon that McGain’s actions were “completely inappropriate and the Prime Minister’s Office has contacted Mr Laming to raise its serious concerns and options for further action”.

We can only hope.

Image: Getty Images / Mark Hertzberg