‘He is not the Prime Minister for anyone’
A video highlighting the role of the Australian Defence Force during the federal government's response to the bushfire crisis shows Prime Minister Scott Morrison is more focused on his own self-interest than the nation, says Deputy Labor Leader Richard Marles.
Mr Morrison defended using the video on social media, saying it was not a Liberal party advertisement and was only used to inform the community.
However, Labor's Defence spokesman Mr Marles said the ADF was above party politics.
"Scott Morrison and the Liberal Party do not own the Australian Army," Mr Marles said.
"We need a Prime Minister who is the Prime Minister for all Australians, irrespective of how they vote.
"But if Scott Morrison can't see himself as being anything more than a Liberal Party agent, then ultimately, he is not the Prime Minister for anyone."
Mr Marles said the enormous loss of homes and lives during the bushfire crisis was an "unprecedented event", and "enormously scary" for the whole nation.
"What we need is a Government which is there providing support for people, providing a sense of comfort, and providing national leadership," he said.
"What this is not about is the popularity of the Prime Minister.
"What this is not about is making a Party-political ad.
"And what this is not about is Scott Morrison's own image."
Unfortunately, the Corio MP said the ADF ad was not a one-off from the PM.
"From the very first moment that Scott Morrison's office lied about his holiday through until this extraordinary advertisement, what we've had is Scott Morrison actually being quite disinterested, really, in the national interest and entirely focused on his own self-interest," Mr Marles said.
"And so, it's not surprising to me that there is an enormous amount of anger out there about the way in which this has been handled, and particularly about that party-political advertisement."
Speaking on Sunday, Mr Morrison stressed that the postings were to inform the community about what the Commonwealth Government was doing.
"As much as we'd all like to only rely on the reporting of the media to get this information out, I will also seek to carry that message directly to the Australian people to ensure they are aware of what we are doing," he said.
Senator Sarah Henderson said the Morrison Government would continue to do what was required to save lives and property and support the recovery and rebuilding of communities devastated by bushfire.
"No-one is interested in bickering politicians and I would encourage Mr Marles to focus on the needs of bushfire impacted communities at this critical time," she said.