Scott Morrison Has Been Slammed For Releasing An Ad Spruiking The Government’s Bushfire Response

The ad has been described by people like Barrie Cassidy and Todd Sampson as "absolutely obscene" and like "being 'sold to' at a funeral".

Scott Morrison campaign ad

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Scott Morrison decided to post a video boasting about the Liberal Party’s actions during the bushfire crisis yesterday, a day where temperatures soared to 48.9°C in Sydney’s west (a global high!) and at least 200 fires continued to burn across NSW and Victoria.

Since September, 23 people have died in bushfires across the country, and more 6 million hectares of land has burned, the ABC reports.

But remember, now is not the time for politics, so Morrison himself has repeated endlessly.

Set to an upbeat score, the ad plugged the Government’s efforts during the crisis, talking about the work of the Australian Defence Force, money pledged towards renting four new firefighting planes, the availability of face masks for bushfire smoke, emergency payments for victims, and Morrison’s commitment to paying volunteer firefighters.

The minute-long ad has been seen more than 1.6 million times. But it’s attracted plenty of negative criticism, as a misuse of public funds and as an effort to distract attention away from the real issues.

It’s also been called out thanks to the fast-talking closer, “Authorised by S. Morrison, Liberal Party, Canberra”, that we are mostly used to seeing in electoral advertising.

Former Insiders host, political journo Barrie Cassidy described it as “absolutely obscene”.

“They are advertising their responses to the fires – promoting themselves – at the height of the crisis. Their reputation is paramount apparently,” he wrote on Twitter.

Gruen panellist and ex-ad man Todd Sampson described the feeling as being “‘sold to’ at a funeral”, pointing out how the music clashes with the devastating reality of the fires.

While sitting Labor Senators and MPs admonished Morrison, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declared that Morrison is “no longer fit to hold the high office of Prime Minister” after running that ad.

The Australian Defence Association, a non-partisan security and defence watchdog, pointed out that the efforts of the ADF should not be used for political gain.

Better yet, the NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told The Today Show this morning that the first he heard about 300 ADF reservists being sent in to support bushfire effort through the media yesterday. A story Morrison within 24 hours used for his political advantage.

Scott Morrison explained himself at 11.30pm last night, a totally normal time to be defending the marketing ploy you decided to launch in the midst of a national crisis. His defence was that he is legally required to add his authorisation to social media videos.

“The video message simply communicates the Government’s policy decisions and the actions the Government is undertaking to the public.”

But he’s been called out for his explanation, with politics professor and commentator Peter van Onselen, a former Tony Abbott adviser, saying that the legal requirement is only for party political ads.

It’s an astoundingly tone-deaf act from the Prime Minister. He’s been called upon to explain what exactly his government has been doing — not to leverage those sparse acts for political gain.