ELECTION day for Sophie Mirabella got off to a bumpy start this morning amid accusations the Liberal incumbent had plastered campaign material all over polling booths in Wodonga and Wangaratta.
Posters and plastic banners decrying independents were spotted as early as 7pm last night outside Wodonga Secondary College and Wangaratta TAFE, but this morning it is believed Mrs Mirabella was asked to take some down.
Anne-Marie Humphries, a Wodonga Secondary parent, said she was collecting her daughter returning from an excursion late last night and saw a group of Liberal party supporters putting up the banners near the polling booths and right around the school fence.
Mrs Humphries - who disclosed she was a volunteer for independent Cathy McGowan - said one of the other students started to tear down a poster and was approached “very aggressively” by a Liberal supporter.
“I didn’t think it appropriate, nor the signage - considering the school itself has had to cover anything that could be considered party political, and these signs were wrapped for a few hundred metres right around the school,” she said.
A spokesman for Mrs Mirabella said he was present last night, and that accusations of swearing and aggression were “a bald-faced lie”.
He said there was a small “kerfuffle” but that they were clearly working within AEC guidelines.
The AEC says there can be no political advertising within six metres of polling booth entrances.
The spokesman was unaware of Mrs Mirabella being asked to take down any of the signs but said if she had, it would have only been because of this rule, which “officials have different interpretations of (the six-metre rule) at every booth”.
“It happens to every party at every election,” he said.
“If they say to take it down, then of course we take it down.”
Pictures have been circulating on social media of Mrs Mirabella and her husband Greg taking down the posters this morning.