The day of the 2022 federal election voters were sent a text message from the NSW Liberal Party urging voters to “keep our borders secure by voting Liberal today”. The basis of the message was an asylum seeker boat that had been intercepted that morning.
The message was sent to voters before the operation with the asylum seeker boat had even finished, a report by Labor’s home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil reveals.
O’Neil accused the former Coalition government of having “sabotaged the protocols that protect Operation Sovereign Borders for political gain” in an incident “without precedent”.
Chronology by The Guardian revealed that Scott Morrison was asked about “reports” of an illegal asylum boat arrival, which he confirmed, adding: “I’ve been here to stop this boat. But in order for me to be there to stop those that may come from here, you need to vote Liberal and Nationals today.”
Morrison declined to take follow-up questions about whether the announcement breached protocols not to discuss on-water matters. His answer finished at 1.07pm and the statement went live online at 1.09pm.
The report observed “the information may have made its way to the journalist separate to, and before, the ABF newsroom announcement”.