Sandi's Twitter services no longer required: Coalition

Sandi's Twitter services no longer required: Coalition

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.

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 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.

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.

Noel Towell

Noel Towell is State Political Editor for The Age

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