Protesters have stormed and trashed the Adelaide electoral office of South Australian senator Cory Bernardi.
The group of students occupied the Kent Town office from midday on Friday, chanting slogans like “racist, sexist, anti-queer, Bernardi is not welcome here,” according to The Advertiser.
The students also reportedly wrote abusive messages towards the senator on the walls and veranda of the office.
Bernardi took to Twitter to call those who stormed the office “cowards.”
“Lefty totalitarians have trashed my office and threatened my staff because their agenda has been exposed. What a bunch of cowards,” he wrote.
Lefty totalitarians have trashed my office and threatened my staff because their agenda has been exposed. What a bunch of cowards.— Cory Bernardi (@corybernardi) March 18, 2016
“Grateful my team are safe and appreciate the efforts of the Police. Unfortunate that I am not in Adelaide to assist my amazing team. Gutless actions like this will never stop me speaking the truth,” he tweeted further.
An image captured by Channel 9 reporter Tracy Alexander shows papers strewn over the floor of the office, and signs branded with “Socialist Alternative” proclaiming anti-racist statements throughout the room.
The storming of the premises seems to have taken place after protesters marched outside the office over the senator’s stance on the controversial Safe Schools program.
“A group of students, including myself, went and protested at Cory Bernardi’s office over his transphobic, homophobic position on the Safe Schools program,” a co-organiser of and participant in the protest, Grace Hill, said.
“Cory Bernardi and his bigoted friends seem to have every platform to attack LGBTIQ people and I wanted us to exercise our freedom of speech.”
The protesters are using chalk to write on the office's external walls. Have now marched inside. pic.twitter.com/W4MH1HwwHL— Leah MacLennan (@lmaclennan) March 18, 2016
Hill said those criticising the damage done to the office should look at the record of the senator.
“I think it’s pretty laughable given Bernardi is actually trashing the lives of LGBTIQ people and his party is trashing the lives of refugees.”
She said that while she belonged to the Socialist Alternative, it was a broad group of students who took part in the protest.
The Safe Schools Coalition had been branded as "bullying" and a "disgrace" by Bernardi and an "in-school gay promotion program" by Family First Senator Bob Day for its goal of supporting young students who identify as queer.
Bernardi has previously hosted a petition asking the government to suspend its funding of the program.
Protesters are chanting 'racist, sexist, anti-queer, Bernardi is not welcome here.' pic.twitter.com/6nhTzbfOXD— Leah MacLennan (@lmaclennan) March 18, 2016
Equal rights protestors storm Cory Bernadi's office over calls to close Safe Schools program. pic.twitter.com/Ahw1qVVdI1— Tracy Alexander (@talexander_9) March 18, 2016