Sandra Nelson says the wanton destruction of signs and flyers will not put her off her campaign.IS POLITICAL sabotage behind campaign signs around Katherine being torn down, vandalised and smeared with dog faeces?
It is, according to Territory Labor candidate Sandra Nelson, who is at her wit’s end after being the target of what she described as“politically-motivated” vandalism over the past four months.
Ms Nelson, who will battle at least four Katherinites–including incumbent Country Liberal Party MLA Willem Westra van Holthe–for the seat atAugust’s Northern Territory election, has had countless signs and flyers damaged since she announced her candidacy.
Several candidates have signs up ahead of next month’s federal election butMs Nelson is the only candidate aiming for a spot on the fifth floor to have erected them across town.
Despite not having definitive proof, the method by which some of thematerial had been destroyed pointed towards the sole intent of damaging her political aspiration, Ms Nelson told theKatherine Times.
“I do believe it is politically motivatedfor the simple reason that Isee no other candidates’flyers ripped and posted on notice boards,” she said angrily.
“Idon’t see other candidates’signs defaced.”
Candidate’s home targetedMs Nelsonadded that the fact the vandals had set their sights on her home–which is being used as hercampaign office–supported her suspicion.
“Seven weeks ago, I started finding one or all three of my campaign signs off the fencewith the ties cut, and the signs placed on my driveway, or thrown over the fence and into the middle of my yard,” she explained.
“Sometimes, there would be dog faeces on top of the signs.
“Sometimes, the signs would be vandalised.
“When I could,I would just wash off the signs and put them back up again.”
In one of the most blatant examples of vandalism, a penis was crudely scrawled on one of the signs.
“I have three signs that I cannot use again because they have had graffiti drawn on them, andthe torn campaign flyers, Idon’t know how many of those have been ripped,” she said.
”I noticed the tornflyers four months ago.
“Someone has been ripping them and pinning them on notice boards in town.”
People, not politics dirtyMs Nelson is not pointing the finger directly at any of her opponents, but she said it was extremely disappointing that whoever was responsible for the destruction was seemingly unwilling to tolerate varying political perspectives.
“Itis disappointing that a small minority would poorly treat someone who has shown the courage to publicly stand up and say, ‘Icare about my community enough to run for election,’” she said.
“Somepeople like to quote that politics is a dirty game.
“Well, no, it’s not –it’s the people involved that playit dirty.”
Ms Nelson said the interference with her signs had been happening “sporadically” but “no less than twice a week”, and that the malicious actions of those responsible had not lessened herdesire to represent Katherinites in the 13thLegislative Assembly.
Political bullying and intimidation ‘unacceptable’Taking aim at the vandals and anonymous critics on social media, Ms Nelson said she believed no candidate, irrespective of their political persuasion, deserved to be the target of bullying.
“Iunderstand and accept that not everyone is a supporter,or even sympathetic,” she said.
“I also understand that as a political candidate, part of the jobis opening myself to the public.
“I have no issuewith that, however, I do take issue with a small minority that feelsthat intimidation and bullying is the best way for them to get their message across.
“I have tolerated this behavior with good humour, with graceand a lot of patience.
“It’s not about whether I have the fortitude to keep going, asI have overcome far greater adversities in life – this is about saying bullyingandintimidationis unacceptable.”
An earlier version of this article published an image of the election signs in question, this image has since been removed.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.