Anthony Albanese has doubled down on his condemnation of Scott Morrison, calling the former Prime Minister’s announcement of the interceptions of boats on election day a “shameful act”.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has accused Scott Morrison of announcing the interception of a boat of asylum seekers to “facilitate” the sending of campaign text messages on Election Day.
In the middle of Saturday, the then government announced that a boat of asylum seekers carrying 15 people from Sri Lanka had been intercepted by Australian border forces.
The details were later used in a Liberal Party text to encourage Australians to vote for the Coalition to “keep our borders secure”.
Mr Albanese called for a review of the timing of the announcement and the text message that followed and argued the then Prime Minister had been politicizing “on water issues”.
The Prime Minister said his team was contacted about the interception on Saturday but told Mr Morrison’s office that it would be ‘completely inappropriate for this event to be politicized’.
“It’s a flagrant violation of the interim conventions and it’s a government and a former prime minister who stood up and said he would not comment on water issues,” Mr Albanese told AFP on Friday. Sabra Lane on ABC Radio National.
“Clearly this statement was made to facilitate the sending of, we don’t know how many, but potentially many millions of text messages to voters in a last minute scare campaign.
“It was a complete abuse of proper procedures and a disgraceful act by a government that was ready to politicize everything, but sold nothing.”
Border protection became a key issue during the Coalition’s election campaign, but Mr Albanese and Labor have always maintained that it will follow protocols set out by the government of the day.
Mr Albanese said the ‘last minute scare campaign’ showed the Morrison government had ‘really lost perspective’.
“They were ready to politicize anything and everything,” he continued.
“And that was a real light low among many, there was some competition in recent times by the old government. But it was a new low.
Mr Albanese was also asked about the Fair Work Commission’s upcoming annual pay review after the issue was raised as a key feature of the final two weeks of the election.
During the campaign, Mr Albanese said he would “absolutely” support a 5.1% rise in the minimum wage in line with inflation.
The comment was quickly seized upon by the Coalition and employer groups who argued that Mr. Albanese was interfering in the process and that such a hike would create greater inflationary pressures.
Now in government, the Prime Minister has said he will write to the Fair Work Commission on Friday to warn it of Labor’s incoming bid.
But Mr Albanese confirmed that his final bid would not include a specific figure for a pay rise.
“It will be signed today at the Fair Work Commission indicating that we will be filing a new submission on behalf of the Australian Government by June 7, particularly aimed at those earning only the minimum wage,” he said.
“And the submission will be consistent with what I said on the campaign trail, that people who are on minimum wage can’t afford to roll back, can’t afford a real pay cut.
“There will be no number in the submission. What there will be, however, is the belief that we have that people earning minimum wage simply cannot afford a reduction in real wages.