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Former prime minister Scott Morrison ordered asylum seeker boat alert to go out on election day

How ‘desperate’ Scott Morrison abandoned his own policy to order urgent asylum seeker boat alert on election day – and then texted millions of voters as they went to the polls

  • Former PM Scott Morrison ordered asylum seeker boat alert on election day
  • Text messages then sent to voters in marginal seats on Saturday as polls opened 

Former prime minister Scott Morrison ordered an urgent asylum seeker boat alert on election day in a ‘desperate’ last bid to hurt Labor.

When the Coalition came to office in September 2013, Mr Morrison as a new immigration minister ordered that unauthorised maritime arrivals would no longer be publicly announced.

But on Saturday, that protocol he introduced was politically abandoned as Mr Morrison unsuccessfully tried to win a fourth, consecutive term for the Liberal Party.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison order an urgent asylum seeker boat alert on election day in a desperate bid to hurt Labor

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed his predecessor contacted him on election day with news of the boat arrival off Christmas Island.

‘There was nothing normal about the protocols that were not observed here,’ he told Radio National breakfast broadcaster Patricia Karvelas.

‘We had a circumstance whereby the prime minister’s office contacted my office in the middle of Saturday, and we indicated it would be entirely inappropriate for this event to be politicised. 

‘It’s a clear breach of the caretaker conventions.’

Text messages were also sent out to voters in marginal seats on election day implying only the Coalition could be trusted on border security. 

‘Aust Border Force has intercepted an illegal boat trying to reach Aus. Keep our borders secure by voting Liberal today,’ it said.

Mr Albanese described those tactics as ‘desperate’.

‘This was a decision made by Scott Morrison in a desperate attempt to run a last minute scare campaign,’ he said.

‘It was extraordinary that this statement was made to enable those text messages to be sent to people.’

During the election campaign, Mr Albanese in April declared offshore detention is unnecessary, even though that is Labor Party policy.

‘We’ll turn boats back. Turning boats back means that you don’t need offshore detention,’ he told reporters at Cessnock in the Labor-held seat of Hunter.

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