Sex Graffiti Results In Vile Texts And Calls To Former Senator
Lee Rhiannon has been left disgusted by dozens of vile text messages and calls after her phone number was scrawled on the wall of a Sydney bar alongside the offer of "a good time".
Rhiannon, who retired as a federal senator for NSW last year, said she began receiving sexually explicit texts and calls in December, often late at night, on her personal mobile phone.
After fielding dozens of these communications, the Greens stalwart managed to track down where the calls originated from, after asking one caller how they found her number.
It turned out Rhiannon's details had been scrawled on the wall of a popular bar in the Sydney CBD. Alongside her personal mobile phone number, on a wall full of other graffiti scrawled by patrons, someone had written in black pen "call for a good time - Lee" and "call 4 gobbies - Lee".
Rhiannon said she and her partner visited the bar and worked with venue staff to black out her name and number from the wall. 10 daily has chosen not to name the bar in question, but Rhiannon praised staff for their quick action and the respectful apology they gave her.
"The author of these messages is clearly someone trying to cause me harm. Receiving dozens of phone calls and text messages relating to sex was disconcerting. I have found the whole thing offensive," the former senator told 10 daily.
“Whoever put my phone number and a message about sex on the wall of a bar has engaged in a gross invasion of my privacy. It’s an act of harassment.”
It is unclear who wrote the messages on the wall, but Rhiannon wondered whether it may be a political opponent. The bar where her number was scrawled is just a short walk from the NSW state parliament house, and 10 daily understands it is a popular haunt for political staffers.
"We’re still thinking about that. It must be somebody hostile to me. In politics, often people become opponents and sometimes it gets ugly," Rhiannon said.
"I don't know if the person who wrote the messages was from the Greens or another party, but they're an opponent and have engaged in nasty harassment."
Some person or persons wanted to cause me stress, upset and embarrassment. There’s a malicious intent behind it.
Rhiannon, who was a NSW state politician before joining federal politics, was ousted from the top of the Greens' federal Senate ticket in November 2017, after losing a pre-selection battle.
She had been banned from the Greens' federal party room earlier that year after claims she had derailed the party's negotiations with the government regarding a schools funding bill, after being involved with the distribution of leaflets lobbying for the bill to be voted down.
Rhiannon did not speculate on who she thought may have motive to target her in this way, but said she hoped to uncover more information.
"I’ve talked to colleagues about what has happened. A number of people are trying to throw some light on it," Rhiannon said.
"It's close to Macquarie Street [state parliament], so that could be relevant."
"The other thing, it's about harassment of women in politics, and this is a really crude example. It’s kind of belittling."
There were two messages written on the wall, about a metre apart, in what appeared to be similar handwriting.
Rhiannon thought they may have been written at different times, one in December and the other earlier this month, as the content of the messages changed in early January.
"The whole saga has been strange," she said.