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Sandi's Twitter services no longer required: Coalition

Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman Sandi Logan at the Gov 2.0 Conference in 2010.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman Sandi Logan at the Gov 2.0 Conference in 2010. Photo: CeBIT Australia

The controversial social media voice of the Immigration Department's top spin doctor has been silenced by the incoming Abbott government.

A senior departmental official confirmed in Canberra on Tuesday that the department's tweets would focus on "good news stories" under the Coalition.

The department's national communications manager, Sandi Logan, has been told that incoming Immigration Minister Scott Morrison would "front" for the department and Mr Logan's combative presence on Twitter was no longer required.

The news comes in the wake of Mr Morrison's clampdown on information about boat arrivals and his controversial "turnback" policy being released to the public.

While announcing his controversial new information policy on Monday, Mr Morrison said Mr Logan would be "retiring" his Twitter account, but did not say if the move had been forced on the outspoken spokesman or if it was voluntary.

With the change in name to Immigration & Border Protection, the department account to follow for all your information is @DIBPAustralia.

Mr Logan has been a fiery presence on Twitter for several years, using his account to make announcements, defend the conduct of his department and to clash with journalists and other critics.

His last notable foray onto Twitter came before the election, when he described as "crazy" two foreign journalists who made the journey from Indonesia to Australia on an asylum seeker boat.

But the department's newly appointed social media manager, Prem Vesudevan, told a gathering of public servants in Canberra on Tuesday that Mr Morrison had made it "quite clear" that he would be the official spokesman on immigration matters.

Mr Vesudevan was asked at a seminar of the Institute of Public Administration Australia's ACT division what had happened to Mr Logan's Twitter presence.

"I'm not privy to some of the deep conversations that had been happening in the government space," Mr Vesudevan replied.

"But the minister was quite clear from the onset that they would front, or they would be acting as the spokesman, or the spokespeople.

"Whereas the department would continue using its Twitter presence to promote programs and to promote good news stories and things that we develop from a policy perspective.

"With the recent changes we have updated our handle to @DIBPAustralia, so it's not the DIAC stream any more."

Confirmation of Mr Logan's exit from Twitter came a day after a public affairs officer within the Immigration Department lost her bid to delay her sacking for criticising the agency online.

Public affairs officer Michaela Banerji is fighting the Immigration Department's move to fire her after she tweeted comments that were critical of the government, the department and its spokesman, Sandi Logan.

She applied for a stay on her sacking until her appeal was heard in the Federal Court, but was denied, and will work her last day on Friday.

69 comments

  • Is the Coalition afraid of public scrutiny? Are they afraid that they will not make good on their promises for which they were elected to government?

    Commenter
    Knee Jerk
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    September 24, 2013, 1:36PM
    • They've always been afraid of scrutiny. Now that they're in they will shut up shop and gives us only what they want us to hear. The Libs are lying hypocrites.

      Commenter
      meatatarian
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 1:56PM
    • Stunning arrogance. It's up to the Media to make these facts plain (looks at News, Fairfax, Bauer) well boys? Where's your bread buttered? Are you going to fight the information clampdown?

      Commenter
      Mike W
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 2:06PM
    • You bet they are. The scary thing is, governments restricting news is a very slippery slope toward a kind of society that isn't exactly known for its democracy...but it does help keep the masses ignorant.

      Commenter
      lgrsydney
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 2:10PM
    • "Is the Coalition afraid of public scrutiny?" C'est pour rire, as the French say. One interpretation of that might be "Is the Pope still a Catholic?"

      Commenter
      JohnH
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 2:58PM
    • The Abbott Cabinet is still trying to figure out its six points goal around it, through it, with it, for it, whatever it is and hoping it goes away when everyone stops questioning about it and hoping against all possible hope that silence will mark his mandate in times like the present when he will be remembered through time for all the noise pollution he created before the election so just he can bully us into silence after election.

      Commenter
      Lady Thucydides
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 3:07PM
    • Cutting off the oxygen to the media is no bad thing as politics has been in thrall to the relentless media cycle. Good on the Libs for trying it.. And by the way igraysydney your comment "but it does help keep the masses ignorant" sounds very elitist. Perhaps you mean "keep the masses in ignorance". And meatararian if you thought the ALP told every one everything then you're incredibly naive. Ever see a business plan for the NBN did you? There's a lot that goes on that we know nothing about until 30 years later when the appropriate papers are released

      Commenter
      Ian
      Location
      Fremantle
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 3:13PM
    • Conservatives are always afraid of public scrutiny.

      Commenter
      Mike
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 3:23PM
    • Short answer - yes.

      Commenter
      MJM
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 3:49PM
    • I didn't see the left standing up for free speech when Gillard, Conroy and Roxon tried to stifle it recently. All of a sudden its a matter of urgency now a Coalition government is in charge. Hypocrites.

      Commenter
      Coconutdog
      Location
      Wodonga
      Date and time
      September 24, 2013, 4:10PM

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