MP receives death threats over fluoride
June 22, 2009
Police have taken the unusual step of patrolling a Victorian government minister's house after a row over fluoride in drinking water erupted in death threats and a bomb threat.
Anti-fluoride extremists have threatened to kill state Labor MP Lisa Neville "slowly" and blow up water treatment plants, because the regional city of Geelong is to add fluoride to its water.
Police are investigating numerous threats against Barwon Water and government officials, but the local anti-fluoride lobby group says it's not responsible.
In the latest incident, a death threat was scrawled on a Barwon Water bottle left on the front verandah of Ms Neville's Geelong home.
The message read: "Thanks for the poison bitch ready to kill you slowly."
Ms Neville said she and her 12-year-old son were shaken when they found the bottle after returning home on Saturday night.
The local member for Bellarine contacted police who are examining security at her home.
"They will be undertaking a safety audit of my own home to ensure myself and my son can be safe there," Ms Neville said.
She said police would regularly drive past her home.
"Extremist behaviour like this is completely unacceptable and we would expect that Victoria Police would use all the force of the law against these people," she said.
Threats have also been made against the Department of Human Services (DHS).
South Barwon Labor MP Michael Crutchfield has upgraded security at his electorate office on advice from police and has urged other Geelong MPs to follow suit.
He said local residents would be aghast at the threats, which he labelled "health terrorism".
Last week, a radical green group threatened the boss of Victoria's Hazelwood power station in a letter hand-delivered to his home.
Geelong Police Acting Senior Sergeant Tony Francis said a team of detectives was working to identify the source of the threat.
"We treat any threat of this nature as serious ... and we'll conduct a full investigation into each and every one of them," he told AAP.
Barwon Association for Freedom from Fluoridation (BAFF) has condemned the threats and says its 200 members are not involved.
President Keith Oakley said it was possible the pro-fluoride lobby was responsible.
"I've often worried if someone is trying to do it on the pro side to discredit us," he told AAP.
"People are angry, but the way to go through it is through appropriate court action."
Ms Neville said she had no doubt the threats were the work of anti-fluoride extremists, who had warned recently that they would ramp up their campaign.
But the incident would not stop fluoridation beginning in Geelong on Monday, she said.
Geelong Mayor John Mitchell, who personally opposes fluoridation, said protesters should accept the decision and move on.
"I'm disgusted by it. Everyone has the legal right to protest and vent their views in accordance with the law," he told AAP.
"This is, obviously, not in accordance with the law."