Australian police investigating election text message

A campaign message sent by the main opposition party in Australia has come under scrutiny after it was sent as a text from the government healthcare provider.

The political message on election day Saturday appeared to have come from Medicare, and warned voters that it would be privatised if the Liberal coalition won enough votes to form a government.

Federal police said they would investigate the "receipt of text messages allegedly sent from Medicare."

The Health Ministry office and the department of human services, which is responsible for Medicare, said the messages were fraudulent and had not been sent by them.

The Labor Party’s Queensland branch confirmed it had sent the messages to voters’ phones, urging them not to vote for the coalition, according to local Guardian newspaper.

"The message was not intended to indicate that it was a message from Medicare, rather to identify the subject of the text," a spokesman was quoted as saying.

"The message was consistent with Labor’s message throughout the campaign. There should be no surprise that this was not a government message."

Earlier, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had raised the prospect of the investigation during a post-election speech, describing the text as "an extraordinary act of dishonesty."

He accused the Labor Party of running "some of the most systematic, well-funded lies ever peddled in Australian politics."

"This is the scale of the challenge we faced. And regrettably more than a few people were misled. There’s no doubt about that," he told supporters Sunday.

Last update: Sun, 03/07/2016 - 10:26
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