Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has fought back tears while revealing that his young child has been the subject of a death threat from anti-vaxxers.
The NT government’s widespread vaccination mandate has led to protests in Darwin
The public galleries in the NT parliament were closed this week due to security concerns
Police have confirmed that they are investigating threats against several politicians
During a COVID-19 press conference in Darwin, Mr Gunner was asked if he knew of any death threats against politicians, following this week’s closure of the NT Parliament’s public galleries due to security threats.
“I have [received death threats] on a number of occasions, “Mr Gunner said.
“Not just me, my family.
“I have been told that my child will be laid in a grave.”
Mr. Gunner seemed visibly shaken for about 15 seconds before coming to his senses.
“We have a job and we want to do our job,” he said.
NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker said the threats against Mr Gunner and his family – as well as other politicians – were taken very seriously.
“There are several investigations that we are conducting and will continue to do,” said Commissioner Chalker.
“Once we’ve made a criminal benchmark, you can be very sure we’ll take action.”
Commissioner Chalker said the investigations were complex because some of the threats were made by people intergovernmental and overseas.
“But I would call it what it is: complete, utter cowardice,” he said.
“And that’s how Territory society should deal with this nonsense.”
Commissioner Chalker said he would not go into detail about the threats to prevent copying behavior.
The Gunner government’s decision to issue a vaccination mandate to most workers in the Northern Territory has sparked outrage in some sections of society.
The mandate has led to the firing of nearly 400 civil servants who refused to get a stab while its impact on private sector employment is not yet known.
It has also sparked weekly protests, including a recent week in which The Last Post was played by Darwin Cenotaph
Sir. Gunner said he supported the right of people to demonstrate, but said it was inappropriate to mix soldiers’ victims with questions raised by people who oppose vaccination mandates.
Protesters’ actions last weekend were also condemned by local veteran Sam Weston.
“Do not compare your case with the freedom we fought for,” he wrote on Facebook.
He later wrote that his comments had brought out the “angry demons” and the “keyboard warriors”.
Mr. Gunner said he could have empathy with the veteran.
“We are dealing with people who have unfortunately gone down into a rabbit hole,” Mr Gunner said.
“The water show they buy into is extraordinary.
“And they can be both offensive and violent in what they say.”