Some of Altone ward candidate Mani Singh’s election signs have been graffitied with phallic symbols and abusive language.

Police investigate defaced election signs

A former mayor says the defacing of another candidate’s signs could have be an attempt to set him up.
September 28, 2023
Anita McInnes

KIARA Police are investigating after an Altone ward candidate reported his damaged election signage, which contained phallic symbols and abusive language.

WA Police would not confirm if they had received any CCTV in relation to Altone candidate Mani Singh’s damaged signage but said the first sign was defaced sometime between September 9 and September 17.

Police did however confirm that in a separate incident two men have been charged after allegedly stealing election candidate signage in the City of Canning.

Up until September 26 Brabham resident Mr Singh – one of six people standing for the Altone ward – has had five signs defaced and had a lot of his signs in Beechboro and Kiara taken.

Part of the graffiti on his damaged signs included the message Vote 1 Kevin Bailey Mayor.

Mr Singh, who is from India but has lived in Australia since he was a teenager, said the incident had not put him off trying to become a councillor and he wanted people to know his background.

“The same as other migrants we all worked really hard and I bought a house over here by myself and I’ve got a family over here now,’’ he said.

“Then I was like Australia gave me a lot now it’s time to give something back to the community.

“That (led to me) making the decision to run in the election.’’

He said the community and other candidates had been really supportive, including former mayor and 2023 mayoral candidate Kevin Bailey.

Mr Bailey said he has had lots of signs pinched and some with phallic symbols and that kind of stuff on it.

His signs with phallic symbols on them had quickly been removed.

He believes the defacing of Mr Singh’s signs could have been  an attempt to set him up.

“Once they wrote all the graffiti every one of them had at the bottom right hand corner Vote 1 Kevin Bailey Mayor and then I had a corflute next to it so it was a set up and I explained to him and we had a good chat,’’ he said.

“I explained, look Mani this is not against you – this is not a racist thing – it’s disgusting there is no doubt about it and I don’t condone it – but by putting my name to it they’re trying to make out like one of my supporters did this, which is just absurd we’re not even competing against each other in any way shape or form.’’

Mr Bailey said the poor behaviour so far on display during this local government election was some of the worst he had seen and he thought the introduction of preferential voting could be a factor.

Also of concern he said were some of the comments on social media.

“Of course the new structure of the popularly elected mayor has added another level of complexity to the election,’’ he said.

“Whereas previously we went in there and we worked out who was going to lead the show and that was it.”

Mr Bailey is married to Pearce ward councillor Cate McCullough who is running for both the Pearce ward and as a mayoral candidate and some people have commented on their relationship.

“It’s never been a secret – we’ve been married for nearly four years now and like everyone says ‘so what’,’’ he said.

In an interview the other day he was asked about his wife running for mayor.

“I said why shouldn’t Cate run she’s an experienced councillor, she’s a community leader, she’s passionate and we have different profiles and appeal to different demographics.

Echo News asked if that could help either of them from a preferential sense.

He said they were trying not to play the preferential game too much but it is happening with people saying they’re getting “two votes for the price of one” and  “even if Bailey doesn’t get in he’ll still be controlling the show – what a stupid comment”.

“So we’re just quietly saying to people just make your own decisions, vote for your best candidate that you believe in, which they should do anyway.’’

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