Australian federal police have dropped their investigation into Queensland Labor’s election day “Mediscare” text messages, saying they could not identify any commonwealth offences. The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had blamed part of his shock election result on the belief that many voters had been misled by text messages sent by Labor’s Queensland branch on election day, purporting to be from Medicare. He accused Labor, during his election-night speech, of running “some of the most systematic, well-funded lies ever peddled in Australian politics”.
“There were text messages being sent to thousands of people across Australia saying that Medicare was about to be privatised by the Liberal party and the message – and the message, the message, the SMS message, came from Medicare,” Turnbull said.
“It said it came from Medicare – an extraordinary act of dishonesty. No doubt the police will investigate. This is the scale of the challenge we faced. And regrettably more than a few people were misled. There’s no doubt about that.”
Labor’s Queensland branch later admitted to sending the message to voters’ phones urging them not to vote for the Coalition.