'A New Nastiness': Tony Abbott Targeted With Expletive-Laden Posters
Police are hunting two men over "offensive" posters of Tony Abbott plastered around Warringah.
Expletive-laden pictures of the former Prime Minister appeared in his own electorate of Warringah overnight -- a stunt current PM Scott Morrison called "nastiness" and "extreme activism".
Caricatured heads of Abbott with the words "Pell" and "c***" plastered across the forehead popped up in Manly and Mosman early Thursday morning.
There were two found stuck to buildings visible from the very busy Military Road near The Spit Bridge while another poster was spotted near a childcare centre in Seaforth. Others have been found in Sydney's inner west, far from Abbott's electorate.
NSW Police said on Thursday afternoon they were after two men in connection to the incident.
Abbott has responded to the attack, admitting he had never experienced anything like it.
“I think this is a new nastiness in Australian politics,” he told reporters.
“I’m not for a second suggesting that any of the candidates in Warringah are somehow doing this but it is a fact that there are some pretty nasty people who want change here in Warringah.”
Abbott's political opponent in the Sydney seat, Zali Steggall, was quick to issue a strongly worded statement, denying any involvement in the smear campaign.
"I strongly reject any allegation that the posters have anything to do with my campaign or my volunteers, and call upon anyone suggesting that it does to provide evidence," she tweeted.
Morrison, speaking to reporters in Tasmania, slammed the stunt.
"I said a few months ago at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne, I was speaking at a lunch there, and I said, "In our society, we've gotta learn to disagree a bit better."That doesn't mean we have to agree all the time, but I think we can disagree better than we currently do," the PM said.
He claimed there was "a bit more of a nastiness" in this election campaign so far.
Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has labelled the attack “absolutely disgusting," telling 2GB radio that it's "a new low in political life."
Abbott has issued a plea to who he calls, the decent people in Australia: "If you want to try to lift the tone of our public life and to lift the quality of our national conversation, don't in any way give aid and comfort to these nasty elements."
NSW Police are investigating and have called for anyone with information to come forward.
"As investigations continue, police are searching for two men depicted in the images who are described as being Caucasian in appearance, both aged in their late 20s or early 30s," police said on Thursday.
"One man was wearing a yellow beanie and a white T-shirt with jeans and work boots. He has a tattoo on the inside of his right arm, and a moustache. The other man was wearing a black hoodie with a black peak cap and dark blue trackpants. He has a beard and a moustache."
Just last week activist group Getup! pulled an ad featuring an Abbott impersonator refusing to save a drowning person. The campaign copped a heap of backlash from Lifesavers.
The group admitted it was wrong and apologised for the "insensitivity of the timing and subject matter of our planned ad".
Abbott certainly isn't the only politician who has been in the firing line ever since the starting gun for the election campaign was fired. Among them, Greens co-deputy leader Adam Bandt. He had several election posters vandalised with swastikas in his seat of Melbourne.
Other candidates have ruined their own chances ahead of the election. This week, half a handful have stood down, been dumped or were forced to apologise for social media posts that consisted of homophobic and anti-muslim slurs, rape jokes and strip club incidents.
There is no end in sight to the chaos in the lead up to May 18.