Federal Election Live: Vote count continues as Albanese returns to Australia to finalize first bench

News Breakfast: Anthony Albanese has launched an investigation into the press release issued by Border Force on Election Day about the asylum seeker boat, contrary to all past approaches to asylum seeker boats. As Home Secretary Karen Andrews, did you approve of this press release?

Karen Andrews: The reason the press release was put out and it was a very factual press release that was put out, I think it was a statement, but in any event there was a statement that was made available by that commander. I think it was important given that it was election day and there had to be transparency. There was also an immediate briefing offered to Labor, who was the shadow minister at the time, Kristina Keneally. It was offered right away. There was a lot going on. It went very quickly and we had to be reactive.

NB: The point is, I want to clarify, as this investigation begins, did you first approve this statement?

K.A.: I saw the statement before it was published. There is a secondary problem of texts that have been sent. I have nothing to do with texting. I had no knowledge of them.

NB: Going back to the statement, you saw the statement before it was released. Did you press the button, say “Yes, Border Force, you can publish this statement”?

K.A.: Well, Border Force would have released it anyway, making that statement. I think it was important, given where we were, it was election day, that people actually had a statement that spelled out very clearly what was going on, but in a very operations-oriented statement. It was important.

NB: What did you think of the texts sent by, we assume, the Liberal Party to voters in key seats on election day, talking about this boat?

K.A.: Well, I had no knowledge of the texts. I didn’t know they were being considered. The first one I discovered was when he was raised with me.

NB: Was it a bad move?

K.A.: Look, I think a lot happened on election day. What the party chooses to do is a party matter. This is where you have to ask them the questions. It wasn’t something I approved of, it was something I had no knowledge of.

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