Outrage over guard at voting booth
PATRICIA Petersen has been accused of using strong arm tactics to intimidate voters at the state election by hiring a security guard to hand out how to vote cards.
Ipswich councillor Andrew Antoniolli said Ms Petersen, who contested the seat of Ipswich, had had a security guard with her all of Saturday at the Silkstone State School polling booth, and that the guard's presence created "a nasty precedent".
Cr Antoniolli, who was handing out how to vote cards for Rachel Nolan, said the situation "was something that concerned every political party that was there".
"We are not suggesting that we saw that security guard act in an inappropriate manner, or that he intimidated anybody," Cr Antoniolli said.
"We are saying this is a nasty precedent that could put at risk the freedom for people to feel safe when they come and perform their civic duty in voting.
"It does reek of strong-arm tactics in many respects, considering it comes from a certain individual who has made erroneous claims of bullying about other political parties.
"Here she is getting a bully boy security guard to hand out how to vote cards. He was wearing a security uniform with the words clearly all over it saying 'security'.
"He was also wearing a utility belt with an extendable baton, a security radio and what appeared to be mace or capsicum spray.
"We don't want to be like one of these third world countries where you have to go through a line of army guerrillas to make your vote, and feel if you don't mark the card in the right spot you are going to be taken out the back and shot."
Ms Petersen said Cr Antoniolli's comments were "ridiculous" and the security guard in question had "none of those things" on his utility belt.
"He was carrying a mobile phone and standing next to me 99% of the time. Only when I needed to go to the toilet or get some water did I hand him my how to vote cards," she said.
"He is not a tall fellow. In fact, he looks like a Santa Claus in black clothing. But the reason he was there was because at each of the last three or four elections I have been verbally harassed and physically attacked by Labor supporters. I wasn't going to go through it this election.
"If I was going to hand out again, I would ensure I had security with me. And based on how out of control Labor was at the weekend, I would ensure my booth officers have security as well."
Cr Antoniolli said he was going to report the situation to the electoral commission.