POLITICS

Liberal Candidates In Altercations With Unionists

The weekend seems to be a worrisome time in this election.

18/06/2016 4:33 PM AEST | Updated July 15, 2016 12:54
Natasha Griggs Facebook
Liberal Federal Member for Solomon has been involved in an incident with a unionist.

This election period has been the longest in recent history and was never going to come without its fair share of mishaps.

And if you're a Liberal candidate, it seems a lot of those mishaps tend to happen on the weekend.

Following the resignations of Liberal candidates for involvement in a sex scandal and ownership of a brothel, footage emerged on Friday of Natasha Griggs, the Country Liberal Party's Federal member for Solomon in the Northern Territory, allegedly acting hostile and aggressive towards union campaigners at a community event, according to the ABC.

The footage shows a Save Our Weekend union campaigner approach Griggs wanting to ask a question about penalty rates. The MP approaches another individual requesting not to be filmed and allegedly knocks the phone from their hands.

"She [Griggs] approached the member and pushed the phone down," Chavez said.

"Very unprofessional, very hostile, very aggressive, I've definitely got a different view on Natasha Griggs."

In a statement following the altercation, Griggs labelled the situation as a union setup.

"I put my hand up to block further phone footage being taken [and] without hesitation she dropped the phone to the ground," she said.

"As soon as she dropped the phone her fellow union protesters began chanting immediately against me."

The incident also comes after Russell Matheson, Liberal Federal member for Macarthur in Sydney, was allegedly involved in an incident outside of a community candidates forum in Campbelltown on Thursday where he told a Maritime Union of Australia unionist to "go back to your own country."

Kerry Farrell, union member of the Maritime Union of Australia and local Penrith resident, told the Huffington Post Australia that attendees of the forum in the Campbelltown Arts Centre were told only a certain number of questions would be asked during the event and further questions could be asked afterwards.

"After the forum I walked out and saw Mr Matheson standing outside of the art gallery and I said, 'can I ask you a question?' and he just turned around and smiled and waved and started walking away," Farrell said.

"I approached him again and he turned around and said to me, 'go back to your own country.' I'm 28 years old, I'm born and bred Australian and to be told to go back to my own country is disrespectful and hurtful, it's not right."

In a statement provided to the Huffington Post Australia, the office of Russell Matheson denied the nature of the comments and claimed the Maritime Union of Australia had engaged in smear tactics.

"Last night, a group of MUA unionists drove to Campbelltown and attended a local community forum where they pretended to be local residents. After the forum, Russell Matheson was harassed by these unionists," the statement said.

"As he was departing the venue, he told the group of unionists to go home. It is disgraceful that the MUA is engaging in such underhanded tactics, smear and intimidation."

It looks like it has never been better for Liberal candidates to avoid the weekends.

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