EXCLUSIVE

Federal election: Pre-poll warning for party volunteers

ELECTION: Liberal and independent volunteers involved in an incident at the Brookvale pre-poll centre. Picture: File
ELECTION: Liberal and independent volunteers involved in an incident at the Brookvale pre-poll centre. Picture: File

POLICE have been called in after an alleged altercation and abuse between two male political volunteers at Brookvale pre-poll centre.

A Liberal volunteer allegedly told a volunteer for incumbent independent MP for Warringah Zali Steggall, to f**k off before adding that he should be stabbed.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said the incident happened around 2pm on Wednesday, and officers were called to the scene.

"Officers attached to Northern Beaches Police Area Command attended and spoke with a 23-year-old man, who was given a move along direction to leave the area. The man left without further incident," she said.

Liberal candidate for Warringah Katherine Deves blamed the abuse on the Steggall volunteer.

"Allegedly the whole incident was provoked by Zali supporters, making racist slurs towards my Indian-Jewish volunteer," she said.

We have already seen some poor behaviour displayed at a number of pre-poll voting centres around the country.

Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers

When asked if the Liberal volunteer had been stood down, Deves declined to comment.

Ms Steggall said the incident was extremely concerning and strenuously denied the allegation of racism."That is an outright lie," she said.

"My understanding is that my volunteer was defending a homeless man who the Liberal volunteer was verbally attacking. My volunteers are a compassionate and caring group."

Steggall said her volunteers have signed a code of conduct to be polite and positive at all times. "I call on Ms Deves to do the same with her volunteers," she said.

Steggall accused the Liberals of bringing in volunteers from outside the area, some of whom were "coming with an attitude that I would say is not really Warringah".

"It's not always respectful so that incident raises concerns that people are coming in with an agenda," she said.

Meanwhile, a string of bad behaviour at pre-polling centres across the country, has resulted in a warning from the Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers.

The Northern Beaches Review has obtained a copy of his directive that was issued to all political parties.

"We have already seen some poor behaviour displayed at a number of pre-poll voting centres around the country," the commissioner said in his alert.

"Unfortunately, we have already also had a number of our temporary staff resign on the basis of party behaviour."

Mr Rogers said it was vital that AEC staff, candidates, party workers, scrutineers and the public felt safe at polling venues.

"I ask that you please encourage your representatives to remain civil and respect those around them while attending polling locations," he asked.

The NBR has contacted the NSW Liberals for comment.

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