Shocking footage is circulating showing a former university lecturer spitting at a man at a Voice to Parliament Yes campaign event – further illustrating the division and anger growing as the referendum date approaches.
The Yes supporter – believed to be a former professor at the Australian National University in Canberra – is seen on video spitting at campaigner Andrew Thaler at an event in Cooma, southeastern New Zealand. South Wales, Sunday afternoon.
The professor’s online profile was removed from the university’s website on Thursday.
A school spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia they were “investigating and will take appropriate action if necessary”.
“This video has just been brought to the attention of the university. Emeritus professors are not paid staff members,” the spokesperson said.
Mr. Thaler, the man at the center of the clip, claims he approached the Yes23 tent during a campaign event at Centennial Park when the activist tried to stop him from approaching.
Mr Thaler, a well-known campaigner, told Daily Mail Australia the tent housed a petting zoo with lambs and he believed it was a ploy to attract children and families to discuss Voice.
He hoped to take photos of the lambs “to show that they (the Yes campaign) would do anything…even exploit the animals”, but this decision “led to an altercation which took place at the time where he started filming.
It’s unclear exactly what was said in the exchange before the camera started rolling. One campaigner said the professor was “absolutely provoked.”
In the video, Mr. Thaler tells the teacher that she is a “stupid b**ch” and asks her to “step aside.”
The woman retaliates by moving closer to the camera, which appears to be held right in front of her body.
“Don’t… don’t you dare call me that,” she said.
Immediately afterwards, she leans forward and spits at the camera, before returning to the crowd of Yes23 activists under their tents.
Woman leans forward and spits on camera
The man behind the camera, Andrew Thaler, encourages the teacher to call the police, reminding her again that she had just spit on him, which she denied.
Mr. Thaler follows her into his group, describing her as a “crazy bitch” and demanding to know her name.
He tells her that she could be “convicted of assault” for spitting on him.
‘Don’t stalk me. Go away, she said. “I call the police.”
Mr. Thaler encourages the teacher to call the police, reminding her again that she had just spit on him, which she denied.
“I didn’t,” she said.
He later told the Daily Mail that Australian police arrived at the scene around 2 p.m. and were currently investigating the incident.
A NSW Police spokesperson confirmed an investigation was underway.
Andrew Thaler, the man at the center of the clip, claims he approached the Yes23 tent during a campaign event at Centennial Park in Cooma on Sunday afternoon when the professor tried to block him.
“Officers from Monaro Police District were informed that three people had been involved in a physical altercation,” the spokesperson said.
“No injuries have been reported and police are investigating the incident.”
Mr. Thaler has sparked controversy over the past year. He was recently branded a “parasite” by 2GB presenter Ben Fordham after speaking on behalf of the family whose grandmother, Claire Nowland, was fatally tasered in a care home.
He repeatedly attempted to run for political office at different levels of government, and in 2022 pleaded guilty to intimidation of a Rural Fire Service staff member four years earlier. He avoided conviction.
These shocking images further illustrate the division within the community as the campaign intensifies on both sides of the debate.
No advocates have warned that the referendum will do anything other than cause friction within the community, while recent polls show support for the proposal is plummeting.
The most recent Resolve Political Monitor survey showed that 43 percent of voters supported a plan to enshrine Voice in the Constitution, a drop of 20 percentage points from last year.
The percentage of Australians in favor of the referendum has fallen for the fifth consecutive month and since the last poll, Victoria has moved to a No majority, leaving Tasmania the only state remaining in the Yes camp.
The incident took place during one of several Yes23 events that took place in Australia (unrelated Yes23 event pictured)
For Voice to succeed, the Yes campaign needs more than 50 percent of the vote across the country and in four of the six states.
The latest incident comes just days after protesters called No voters “racist dogs” after disrupting a No campaign rally.
Liberal senator Alex Antic filmed a crowd of protesters as he entered the convention center, many of them shouting expletives at him.
“Fuck you, you racist dog!” we shouted.
“Racist pig!” » shouted another. “Crazy whores!” »
Mr Antic shared the video on social media saying: “Is this the ‘unity’ that the Australian Labor Party promised us with its referendum?