“I GOT my first piece of hate mail,” Bayswater council candidate Greg Smith told the Voice—”And they paid a dollar to send it.”
Most of the campaign nark we’ve seen this election has been online, but this week Mr Smith got a genuine Australia Post-delivered envelope telling him he was a “conceited old man”.
It could have been sent from just about anyone: Mr Smith, a town planner, has taken a scattergun approach to telling people he reckons they’ve got it wrong on planning or environmental issues lately.
He’s rubbed a few business owners the wrong way by posting pictures of their shopfronts online and reviewing how good they are for town amenity.
If they have covered windows and no passive surveillance of the street, he rates them “0/10”.
He also hasn’t won many friends at Future Bayswater, since he reckons they’ve “drunk the developer Kool-Aid”, because they want more density in the Bayswater town centre.
He even got into an online argument with former South Perth mayor James Best about the merits of density.
The hate mail contained a copy of Mr Smith’s flyer and called him “too lazy to shave or get a haircut” and it said he had “bogan sunnies” and was a “conceited old man”.
On the other side of the letter they wrote that he should “take the job as Santa”, on account of his snowy hair.
Mr Smith thought the handwriting looked a lot like a kid’s, or someone trying to make it look that way.
“Up until the point they said ‘bogan sunnies’ and ‘conceited old man’, I could’ve thought my own son had done it,” he laughed.
Over at the City of Perth they’ve kept their banter online: Lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi isn’t performing her mayoral duties at the moment while she awaits her appeal over Local Government Act breaches, but she did take some time out to get into an argument on councillor Reece Harley’s Facebook page about the old policy that banned any elected member, save the lord mayor, from publicly commenting their views.
Cr Harley had put up a post reminding voters he was the one who pushed to scrap the gag rule.
Meanwhile over at Stirling, retiring councillor Rod Willox says the flak flying around in the Hamersley and Osborne Wards is making for the dirtiest campaign he’s seen in 25 years on council.
South of the river, the online election abuse has been rough, with one potential Fremantle candidate withdrawing his candidacy in part due to cyber bullying, and other candidates at Cockburn council reporting a brutal reception online.
by DAVID BELL