Interview with Tom Elliott, 3AW

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3AW
TOM ELLIOTT
17 NOVEMBER 2017

E&OE

Subjects: electorate office vandalism

TOM ELLIOTT:

Kelly O’Dwyer’s electoral office was vandalised overnight. Someone has graffitied the outside saying “Manus is torture”. Actually misspelt it the first time round, they forgot to put the “u” the first time around, which probably gives you some idea of their mental capacity. And they’ve also written below that, “F the border”. We’re told by the same Word on the Street emailer that the glass door had been smashed as well. Kelly O’Dwyer, the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services and the Member for Higgins joins us right now. Kelly good afternoon.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Good afternoon Tom.

TOM ELLIOTT:

OK so what happened to your office?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well for the third time, my electorate office has been vandalised. This is the third time it’s been vandalised in the time I’ve been the member.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Oh dear.

KELLY O’DWYER:

It’s a cowardly overnight attack by hard-line left-wing activists, who have smashed four of the eight glass window panels in my office. It looks like they’ve taken something like a pickaxe to it. There have been glass shards left on the footpath and also in the office and as you’ve noted, very offensive language has been spray-painted onto the building. It’s language that I obviously won’t repeat on radio, but my office, out the front of it, is a spot where students gather to get on the school bus and they’ve been subjected to this. It’s also right near a tram stop as well and as a result of this vandalism, we’ve obviously had to call out the police, who’ve done forensic…

TOM ELLIOTT:

Oh I understand. And did this happen overnight Kelly?

KELLY O’DWYER:

It happened overnight. It’s cowardly, it’s wrong, it’s clearly a pretty violent action when you take something like a pickaxe to windows to try and attempt to smash them. They’re actually pretty reinforced windows, they’re custom made windows, and this will cost the Australian taxpayer thousands and thousands of dollars.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Is this rising tide of vandalism and militantism, does this mean that the ability for MPs just to sort of function as normal members of the public is gradually disappearing? Do you, for example, now fear for your own safety?

KELLY O’DWYER:

I must confess I think about my staff who work in this office, they sit behind those windows. The vast majority of people, Tom, are very respectful. People can agree to disagree on policy issues. We’ve had a very respectful debate, for instance, on same-sex marriage and we’re able to move forward together as a community. But there are hard-line left-wing activists who are not prepared to listen to their fellow Australians and they’re not prepared to accept the normal conventions of civilised debate. Frankly we should call them out for that.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Have you got CCTV outside your office?

KELLY O’DWYER:

No, we don’t have CCTV outside the office.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Would you think about getting them?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well we’re actually in discussions with the federal police about that.

TOM ELLIOTT:

The previous two times it’s been vandalised since you became the member, has it been about refugees or has it been about something else?

KELLY O’DWYER:

They haven’t always put slogans on the side of the building, sometimes it’s just been pure vandalism after, for instance, an election, where I was re-elected and my opponent at the time was a Green. Somebody didn’t like the result and they went to my office and again, they took what looked like a pickaxe to the office windows and had a real crack. But look, this is where we need parties like the Greens to disassociate themselves from these hard-line activists who would try and pose their views on others in a very dysfunctional, unpleasant and completely morally bankrupt way.

TOM ELLIOTT:

Kelly O’Dwyer, thank you for your time. Kelly O’Dwyer, you can hear the emotion in her voice, she’s upset by this and she’s right to be.

[ends]