By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS
Holt Labor MP Anthony Byrne has defended the use of a photo of him standing in front of a backdrop with Victorian and federal police logos in an election pamphlet.
The authorised pamphlet, which trumpets Mr Byrne’s work as deputy chair of the Federal Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, was “not party political”, a spokesman for Mr Byrne said.
“We have checked the flyer with local police beforehand and they strongly supported this pamphlet.
“The flyer was not party political (no Labor logo) and was aimed at highlighting Anthony’s plan to keep our community safe, which is the main concern facing the local community.
“The feedback our office has received has been overwhelmingly favourable, as one person stated ‘at least our local politician knows what is going on’.”
The photo had been taken during Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to the Endeavour Hills police station with Anthony Byrne at a media event in 2015.
Victoria Police stated it would write a letter in response “highlighting its desire to remain politically impartial”.
“Where we believe political material identifying Victoria Police creates a perception of endorsement. We will take appropriate action.”
An Australian Federal Police spokesman stated that the AFP doesn’t support unauthorised use of its logo but “it is clear that in this instance the use of this image is incidental”.
No follow-up action would be undertaken, he said.
Liberal candidate James Mathias, who initially raised the issue with Star News, said Mr Byrne was “caught red-handed” using the logos for political purposes.
“(Mr Byrne was) trying to pass off the Turnbull Liberal Government’s achievements as his own because he knows Bill Shorten and Labor are weak on border security.”
Mr Byrne is set to advise the two police officers involved in the Numan Haider shooting at Endeavour Hills police station of Mr Mathias’s complaint.
A spokesman for Mr Byrne said: “I am sure that they will be as disgusted as Anthony is that this person has sought to downplay the seriousness of the terrorist challenge to make a cheap political point.”