Several packages containing white powder and addressed to the Australian Christian Lobby have been discovered at Australia Post’s mail centre in Canberra, sparking an evacuation of the building.
An Australia Post spokeswoman said hazmat and ACT Emergency Services conducted tests this morning and operations had now returned to normal.
ACL managing director Lyle Shelton said he had been told by Australia Post that six items of mail address to the organisation contained white powder, which testing had found to be harmless.
He claimed the incident was part of a pattern of intimidation over the group’s stance against same-sex marriage.
“We are very disturbed about this. It feels like there are people trying to intimidate us into silence,” he said.
“Our staff have had to endure death threats, we’ve had a car bombing, we’ve had eggs thrown at the office, as well as packages of glitter that keep arriving which our staff don’t open.
“What we are seeing in this debate over same-sex marriage is there are consequences for people who hold a different view to those who are seeking to change the law.
“My concern is that if this is the sort of intimidation that people get now, what will it be like if the law is changed?”
Mr Shelton said the ACL office had enacted new security measures to keep staff safe.
“This is not the Australian I grew up in,” he said. “I didn’t expect when I went to work for a public policy advocacy group that we would have to take these sorts of security measures
“I’m disappointed that public debate and discourse in Australia has come to this.”
Mr Shelton has previously raised concerns over the police handling of an alleged attack by a gay activist on the ACL headquarters in Canberra in December last year.
In court this month, police alleged Jaden Duong targeted the ACL office by ramming it with a burning van laden with gas bottles, after searching online how to make plastic explosives and a pressure-cooker bomb.
The 36-year-old, who has pleaded not guilty on the basis of mental impairment, allegedly told police he disliked the ACL because of its “position on sexuality”.
The white powder incident comes after anti-gay marriage signs were put up in Melbourne this week that falsely claimed most same-sex couples abuse their children.
The signs urge Australians to “Stop The Fags” and claim that 92 per cent of children raised by gay parents are abused, 51 per cent have depression and 72 per cent are obese.Share