One of the vile posters of former prime minister Tony Abbott posted around Warringah yesterday. Picture: Tim Hunter
One of the vile posters of former prime minister Tony Abbott posted around Warringah yesterday. Picture: Tim Hunter

Vile posters, Nazi graffiti, online abuse — welcome to the campaign

POLITICS has always been a dirty business, but this election appears to be taking things to a shocking new low.

From Nazi defacement to online abuse to vile posters pasted up in public places, the past few weeks have been filled with worrying levels of hate.

 

In one of the latest incidents, respected economist Brian Fisher's house was egged yesterday after he released modelling detailing the possible costs of Labor's radical climate change policies.

It came after climate activist Simon Holmes a Court tweeted a picture of Dr Fisher's business - which is understood to double as his home - with a link to its address and a caption saying "here's their headquarters". Mr Holmes a Court did not reply to request for comment last night and removed the tweet.

It came in the wake of Warringah voters waking to find their suburb plastered with expletive-ridden signs featuring Tony Abbott's head calling the local MP and former prime a "c…". Others had the word "Pell" on his forehead, including one pasted to a children's daycare centre.

Police are investigating and last night released CCTV of two men they wanted to speak to.

 

Police would like to speak to these two men about the Tony Abbott posters.
Police would like to speak to these two men about the Tony Abbott posters.

"This is a new nastiness in Australian politics," Mr Abbott said.

"I say to all the decent people in Australia: if you want to try to lift the tone of our public life and to lift the quality of our national conversation, don't in any way give aid and comfort to these nasty elements."

Liberal senator Matt Canavan said the group that put up the Abbott signs were "idiots".

"We don't mind a joke but this rubbish is so crude and so juvenile and only funny to a small group of lonely keyboard warriors," he said.

It came less than a week after left-wing activists GetUp! released an advertisement depicting Mr Abbott leaving a swimmer to drown in the ocean.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the posters.

"In our society, we've got to learn to disagree a bit better … I have noticed that there is a bit more of a nastiness that is attached," Mr Morrison said.

 

The billboard put up by the ABC show The Weekly making light of Pauline Hanson's electoral slogan.
The billboard put up by the ABC show The Weekly making light of Pauline Hanson's electoral slogan.

This "nastiness" is affecting both sides of the political divide. The Daily Telegraph can reveal Labor MP Mark Dreyfus suffered a blow from within his own party early in the campaign when it was suggested that he would be stepping down after the election.

The comments were made by fellow Labor MP Michael Danby in an audio recording accidentally livestreamed by Jewish media group J-Wire.

"Don't record me on this but I'll tell you something afterwards … he won't be there for long," Mr Danby says on the recording.

"He's got cancer or something?" the host asks before Mr Danby ends the conversation saying: "Don't ask me on air."

Mr Dreyfus does not have cancer and sources within his office said they were "mystified" at why the comments were made.

Mr Danby last night apologised. "What I said was wrong. In no way do I want it to be suggested that Mark's career might be ending. He'll be an important member of a Shorten Labor government," he said

 

Berowra MP Julian Leeser with one of his defaced signs. Picture: David Swift
Berowra MP Julian Leeser with one of his defaced signs. Picture: David Swift

Meanwhile Jewish Liberal MP Julian Leeser's had a Hitler moustache and Swastikas daubed on his election posters in Normanhurst in Sydney's north. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has also been hit by the same twisted graffiti.

And it is not just the politicians in the firing line.

Liberal candidate Kate Ashmor posted a photo of Labor leader Bill Shorten's wife Chloe alongside an emoji of a pig which was shared widely across social media before an apology was issued.

And even the ABC has got its hands dirty.

This week it put up an anti-One Nation billboard in Melbourne with the slogan "I'm thinking

I can't wait to see the back of Pauline Hanson". The ad was for Charlie Pickering's show The Weekly.

Simon Holmes a Court’s tweet outing the headquarters of BAEconomics. Picture: Twitter @simonahac
Simon Holmes a Court’s tweet outing the headquarters of BAEconomics. Picture: Twitter @simonahac

"The billboard was part of a satirical program that covers issues in a comedic and often provocative fashion," an ABC spokesman said.

Former Nationals deputy prime minister John Anderson said there was no doubt that "tribalising and atomising people and identity politics is dividing us into warring groups seeking power".

"If you want a really stark contrast that really reflects the political malaise that Australia is about then consider the debate over climate change," Mr Anderson said.

"We are simply not seeing a calm, reasoned debate about climate change that allows for the Australian people to make an informed decision and grant consent to one side or the other."

Former Labor senator Graham Richardson said there was "nasty people" in the campaign but did not think things had really got out of hand.

"We actually have quite a high standard and I hope it stays that way," he said.