Social Services Minister Scott Morrison is currently in the Torres Strait and far north Queensland with Prime Minister Tony Abbott visiting indigenous communities, but it was an attempt at "humour" about his old portfolio which sparked outrage overnight.
Morrison, the former immigration minister, posted this on Twitter on Tuesday evening:
Enroute to Bamaga from Thursday Island on Border Force One with PM pic.twitter.com/XjDLGkv7K1— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) August 25, 2015
If you're thinking "that doesn't look like a Border Force boat," then you are both strangely knowledgeable about our immigration department's material assets and also correct. It's not an Australian Border Force boat. In fact it's not an Australian boat. Or even pictured in Australian waters.
But why let a 10m wave on foreign shores get in the way of a good Tweet?
A reverse Google Image Search shows the picture Morrison posted appears to have come from here, the website for Safehaven Marine, an Irish boat company which boasts of its "professional pilot and patrol boats, crew transfer, survey and naval/law enforcement vessels." Here's a picture from their website.
And here's a nearly identical picture in seemingly identical conditions on their Facebook page... from August 2012.
And here's a YouTube clip, appearing to show the same boat in the same conditions, "in a big storm with 10m breaking seas off Roches Point, Cork, Ireland 16 August 2012". The pictures on Safehaven's site and Facebook appear to have been taken at the same time as the video.
According to Motor Boat & Yachting magazine -- which posted a story about the Safehaven boat, with another identical picture to the one Morrison posted on Twitter -- the vessel is an Interceptor 38 pilot boat.
"Seahaven boss Frank Kowalski told MBY the conditions 'were pretty extreme'," the magazine reported.
So, why is ScoMo posting a three-year-old picture of an Irish boat in Irish waters? For a joke, it seems.
Some in the twitterati having a bit of a sense of humour failure - cheer up— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) August 25, 2015
He posted that update a few hours later, seemingly in response to a wave of negative comments around his "joke" -- which included many people noticing the apparent Irish link -- and wondering why the lightness of tone about such a serious matter as immigration.
.@ScottMorrisonMP This is truly disturbing. The increasing militarisation of governance in Australia is no trivial matter ...— Evelyn Enduatta (@FF_notes) August 25, 2015