Emo­tions high at DV bar­bie

Roberts, men’s group la­bel union mem­bers as ‘thugs’ af­ter gath­er­ing heads south

The Queensland Times - - NEWS - An­drew Korner an­drew.korner@qt.com.au

THE UNION rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the re­ceiv­ing end of a ver­bal tirade from a One Na­tion sup­porter has hit back.

Elec­tri­cal Trades Union or­gan­iser Stu­art Traill led a small group who at­tended a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence fundrais­ing bar­be­cue hosted by One Na­tion Ip­swich can­di­date Mal­colm Roberts at Queen’s Park on Sat­ur­day.

De­spite what amounted to a union and me­dia am­bush of the event, Mr Traill said union mem­bers were in­vited into the gath­er­ing by a mem­ber of ad­vo­cacy group Aus­tralian Broth­er­hood of Fa­thers, to “have a sausage”.

But things turned sour quickly as mem­bers of the me­dia and the ETU and Queens­land Coun­cil of Unions per­sis­tently asked ques­tions re­gard­ing Mr Roberts’ stance on is­sues rang­ing from do­mes­tic vi­o­lence to week­end penalty rates.

While Mr Roberts calmly re­fused to an­swer the bar­rage of po­lit­i­cal ques­tions that came his way, not all of his sup­port­ers man­aged to main­tain the same level of com­po­sure.

As the QT filmed the event, a One Na­tion sup­porter could be seen on cam­era call­ing Mr Traill a pe­dophile sev­eral times, even­tu­ally yelling it into Mr Traill’s face.

“I asked Mr Roberts what he had to say to Ip­swich work­ers who were worse off be­cause of his vote to abol­ish penalty rates dur­ing his time as a Sen­a­tor,” Mr Traill said.

“A bloke started abus­ing me and call­ing me a pe­dophile.”

Mr Trail could be heard re­spond­ing: “You see, that’s what you get with One Na­tion.”

He re­peated those words on Mon­day when asked about the event.

De­spite Mr Roberts’ in­sis­tence that the event was “non-po­lit­i­cal” in na­ture, Mr Traill de­fended his union’s right to be there to di­rect some un­com­fort­able ques­tions at the Ip­swich can­di­date.

“He is run­ning from the me­dia and doesn’t want scru­tiny of his cam­paign or of his record of vot­ing in the Sen­ate,” Mr Traill said.

Mr Roberts, who spent Mon­day morn­ing hand­ing out how-to-vote cards to pre-pollers out­side the Hay­den Cen­tre, said the union bosses were to blame for the event get­ting out of hand.

Mr Roberts said the event was in­tended as a com­mu­nity bar­be­cue aimed at end­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, and it was strictly not a po­lit­i­cal event.

“It was gate crashed by some union bosses who wanted to con­trol it and some oth­ers who just wanted to crash it,” Mr Roberts said.

“Our po­si­tion is that they wanted to tar­nish (an event) about end­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and make it politi­cised and we weren’t up for that. The sec­ond thing is, Ip­swich City Coun­cil made it very clear to us you don’t hold po­lit­i­cal ral­lies in coun­cil grounds so we could not dis­cuss pol­i­tics, and we wouldn’t.

“The union bosses and oth­ers tried to politi­cise it, and we were hav­ing noth­ing to do with it.”

Aus­tralian Broth­er­hood of Fa­thers rep­re­sen­ta­tive Leith Erik­son took to Face­book to vent his anger at the ETU, who he had in­vited into the event when they ar­rived at the park on Sat­ur­day.

In a video post, Mr Erik­son said women and chil­dren felt in­tim­i­dated by the union pres­ence.

He de­scribed the ETU as “thugs”.

“I can’t be­lieve how naive I was to of­fer these men food and drink as the bar­be­cue started, not un­der­stand­ing that they were there to ha­rass and in­tim­i­date the peo­ple of Ip­swich, our vol­un­teers and the women and chil­dren at the event,” he said.

“As soon as Mal­colm Roberts showed up they sur­rounded our mar­quee and made it very clear that they were just there to make a me­dia state­ment. I think it’s just ab­so­lutely dis­grace­ful.”

PHOTO: DAVID NIELSEN

LET­TING RIP: ETU or­gan­iser Stu­art Traill (left) clashes with a One Na­tion sup­porter at Queen’s Park, Ip­swich on Sat­ur­day.

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