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Morrison’s election boat scare

by Callum Foote | Sep 27, 2022 | Deceptive Conduct, QED

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”.

What's a rort?

Conflicts of Interest

Redirecting funding to pet hobbies; offering jobs to the boys without a proper tender process; secretly bankrolling candidates in elections; taking up private sector jobs in apparent breach of parliament’s code of ethics, the list goes on.

Deceptive Conduct

Claiming that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down when the facts clearly show otherwise; breaking the law on responding to FoI requests; reneging on promised legislation; claiming credit for legislation that doesn’t exist; accepting donations that breach rules. You get the drift of what behaviour this category captures.

Election Rorts

In the months before the last election, the Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money on grants for sports, community safety, rural development programs and more. Many of these grants were disproportionally awarded to marginal seats, with limited oversight and even less accountability.

Dubious Travel Claims

Ministerial business that just happens to coincide with a grand final or a concert; electorate business that must be conducted in prime tourist locations, or at the same time as party fundraisers. All above board, maybe, but does it really pass the pub test? Or does it just reinforce the fact that politicians take the public for mugs?

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