Finance Minister Simon Birmingham slams ‘harassment’ activism after SA MP Nicolle Flint announces decision to quit politics
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has called for a safer and more respectful political debate after South Australian Liberal MP Nicolle Flint revealed her intention to quit politics.
Ms Flint announced she won’t recontest the next election in an email sent to her constituents last night.
No reason was given by Ms Flint as to what prompted the surprise move out of politics, but speaking today Mr Birmingham implied that ongoing “harassment and bullying” faced by Ms Flint led to her decision not to face another election campaign.
“She faced a very bitter election campaign last time, that she saw appalling behaviour against her,” he said.
A fellow South Australian, Mr Birmingham said he and the Prime Minister had worked to support Ms Flint during the harassment, “unfortunately, we can’t control the actions of the political campaigners”.
The Liberal MP has had her offices repeatedly vandalism with offensive language and has been harassed on social media by GetUp, Extinction Rebellion and other left-wing groups, Mr Birmingham said.
In one incident during the bitter 2019 election campaign which Ms Flint later described as “the scariest of her life”, the police became involved after she was stalked and photographed by a man and had her office vandalised with graffiti calling her a “prostitute”.
As recently as earlier this year, Ms Flint’s South Australian offices were again graffitied.
“I think that the Extinction Rebellion activists and others who have continued attacks on Nicolle and others should have thought about the consequences of their actions,” Mr Birmingham said.
In announcing her plans to leave politics, Ms Flint said she plans to continue advocating for the people of Boothby until the next election and will support her successor.
“I will work to support the candidate who is pre-selected by our Liberal party members to ensure we return a Liberal government, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to guide our nation to out of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond,” she wrote.
Ms Flint was first elected to Government in 2016 for the seat of Boothby and just scraped through with re-elected in 2019.