Kevin Rudd Says Morrison 'Unfit' To Be PM After Releasing Bushfire 'Ad'
The prime minister is standing by a video that he posted outlining the federal government's bushfire response after it was condemned on social media.
Scott Morrison has defended the video, posted on social media, detailing the government's bushfire response after it was labelled "shameless" and a breach of political advertising rules.
The video, authorised by Morrison and posted on Saturday, describes how the government is deploying up to 3000 defence force reservists in response to the ongoing crisis.
After being posted at 4.24pm on Saturday, the ad has been viewed more than 1.4 million times, as of Sunday morning.
It includes details of the defence ships and aircraft deployed to the response, along with funding allocated for firefighting planes, volunteer firefighters and those who lost homes or incomes.
The Liberal Party also posted details of the government response on its social media channels, following Morrison's announcement of the stepped-up measures earlier on Saturday.
Several former and current Labor politicians quickly slammed the ad, with former prime minister Kevin Rudd one of those to have expressed outrage.
"On a day we have catastrophic fire conditions, in the midst of a genuine national crisis, Morrison, the marketing guy, does what? He releases a Liberal Party ad! He is no longer fit to hold the high office of prime minister," Rudd tweeted.
Former Victorian premier Steve Bracks claimed it was "hard to go much lower".
Former Greens senator Scott Ludlam, who has been a vocal critic of the government for some time and has taken part in environmental activism in recent times, derided the ad as a "Liberal Party infomercial".
The Australia Defence Association, a non-partisan public-interest watchdog, accused the government of breaching rules around political advertising.
"Party-political advertising milking ADF support to civil agencies fighting bushfires is a clear breach of the (reciprocal) non-partisanship convention applying to both the ADF & Ministers/MPs," the association tweeted.
Morrison took to Twitter to defend the video late on Saturday, saying it was a legal requirement in Australia to include an authorisation on all video messages used by MPs on social media.
"The video message simply communicates the Government's policy decisions and the actions the Government is undertaking to the public," he posted in tweets published after 11pm.
"The same practice is rightly employed by the Leader of the Opposition and the Labor Party. This is required and standard practice in Australia."
The prime minister has faced criticism for not acting sooner to bolster the nation's firefighting capabilities, and for going on holiday to Hawaii during the crisis.
His visit to bushfire-ravaged Cobargo made international headlines when locals refused to shake his hand, and heckled his team.