A number of senior Labor party figures publicly slammed the video, with former prime minister Kevin Rudd saying the promo showed Mr Morrison no longer deserved to be in The Lodge.
“For God’s sake! 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,” Mr Rudd said on Twitter. He was contacted for further comment.
Mr Morrison strongly defended himself when asked about the video during a media conference at Parliament House on Sunday and said the video was providing information the public had been seeking on the government’s response.
“The postings that we’ve made in messages have been to inform the community about what the Commonwealth government is doing.”
“Let me assure Australians, the purpose is to communicate as simply and helpfully as we possibly can about what the government is doing to get resources to get support to those places that need it.
“And overanalysis of these things can create unnecessary anxiety and we’re simply seeking to help people know what we’re doing.”
But Neil James from the Australian Defence Association said the advertisement politicised the defence force.
“The intention of the ad (video), exemplified by its nature & the speed of its production, is a clear breach of the non-partisanship convention,” he said.
“It is also completely unnecessary given the prior departmental and ministerial media releases publicly explaining ADF support to rural fire services,” he said.
Steve Bracks, the former Labor premier of Victoria, said the video was as low as you could get in politics.
“Wow. It is hard to go much lower than advertisements spruiking the Federal Governments response in the middle of the Nations bushfire crisis,” Mr Bracks said in a tweet.
But Mr Morrison defended the ad as simply communicating the government’s policy decisions.
“The video message simply communicates the Government’s policy decisions and the actions the Government is undertaking to the public,” he wrote in a subsequent tweet posted close to midnight.
But Labor MP Brian Mitchell said that was “bullshit”.
“If the video “simply communicates the Government’s … decisions” it should have been a government ad, not a Liberal Party campaign ad,” Mr Mitchell said.
Mr Morrison has been fiercely criticised for his response to the crisis.
He initially resisted but eventually caved into calls to cut short his holiday in Hawaii insisting the response was for the state governments to lead and manage.
Latika Bourke is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in London.