ELECTION day for Sophie Mirabella got off to a rough start amid accusations her Liberal supporters had plastered campaign material all over polling booths in Wodonga and Wangaratta.
Posters and plastic banners decrying independents were spotted as early as 7pm Friday night outside Wodonga Secondary College and Wangaratta TAFE.
Anne-Marie Humphries, a Wodonga Secondary parent, said she was collecting her daughter returning from an excursion on Friday night and saw Liberal Party supporters putting up the banners near the polling booths and right around the school fence.
Mrs Humphries — a volunteer for 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 100 metres right around the school,” she said.
A spokesman for Mrs Mirabella said he was present but there hadn’t been any swearing or aggression, just a small “kerfuffle”.
He said the party was clearly working within electoral commission guidelines.
He said rumours security guards had been hired to protect the signs weren’t true but that he and other supporters had camped out to stop other parties from tearing down the signs.
On the TAFE signs, returning officer for Indi Jenny Essex yesterday said Mrs Mirabella had not been ordered to take down some of the posters at the institute.
Rules ban political advertising within six metres of polling booth entrances and Ms Essex said the Liberals had complied with this.
“The AEC didn’t ask her to take anything down,” she said.
Reports remained on social media yesterday claiming that this wasn’t the case.
Former Labor candidate Zuvele Leschen tweeted: “One of our members approached by AEC official who assumed the banners were ours and ordered their removal.”
A second AEC spokesman, Steve Kennedy, reaffirmed Ms Essex’s statement that Mrs Mirabella wasn’t told to remove posters.