A still from the video shared on the Please Explain Pauline Hanson Facebook page.
A still from the video shared on the Please Explain Pauline Hanson Facebook page.

Police called yet again as pre-polling tension peaks

ANOTHER ugly afternoon has unfolded at Maryborough's pre-polling station.

Tensions between conservatives and Labor's red-shirt army peaked with a public slinging match and a now viral video.

It comes after constant complaints from LNP and One Nation ranks about the behaviour of Labor volunteers manning polling stations and vice versa and amid ongoing police investigations into the theft and damage of corflutes.

One Nation's Sharon Lohse also had a meat pie smeared across her car by an unknown person and has maintained Labor volunteers have repeatedly tried to block her signage at the polling station.

The latest drama, an altercation between Ms Lohse and Labor volunteer Craig Smith, was filmed and shared to Pauline Hanson's Please Explain Facebook page.

The caption claims the video is proof of Labor's "stand over" tactics.

"My candidate in Maryborough, Sharon Lohse is tired of the intimidation tactics and this must stop," Ms Hanson says

But Mr Smith said he found the allegation that he had intimidated Ms Lohse "offfensive".

He told the Chronicle he had spoken to Ms Lohse as a veteran of 30 years because he felt it was inappropriate to use the Australian flag as a "tablecloth" on her table outside the polling booth.

The video had been shared 840 times by Wednesday afternoon and received more than 1900 comments.

Ms Lohse maintained the purpose of the interaction was to block her sign.

She said when she asked Mr Smith to move away from her table and he did but he was still blocking her sign.

The video then shows Ms Lohse getting into Mr Smith's space, forcing him to move.

"I stepped right up into his space and kept backing up until I got the space clear," she said.

Police confirmed they were investigating the incident after Mr Smith made a complaint about Ms Lohse's actions.

Ms Lohse said she was frustrated by the behaviour of the Labor volunteers and how many there were.

She said while typically no one else had more than three volunteers, there were often between eight and 13 Labor volunteers at the pre-poll station.

Ms Lohse said when Labor was saying there needed to be social distancing due to the pandemic, it was inappropriate to have so many people there.

She later posted a picture on social media of Mr Saunders and his daughter standing in front of her sign.

"What they want is to smother us out," she said.

Labor candidate Bruce Saunders said his team had been receiving threats as a result of the video.

He said Mr Smith was a war veteran and a respected member of the community.

Police are already investigating an unrelated death threat made to Mr Saunders' office regarding his position on abortion.

Maryborough's LNP candidate Denis Chapman also told the Chronicle he had reported the theft of more signs to police in Maryborough on Wednesday morning.

One person has already been charged over the alleged theft of previous signs. 



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