MP Reacts to Death Threats

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTHEA GLEESON anthea.gleeson @thechronicle.com.au

TOOWOOMBA politicians are ramping up security measures as more of their angry constituents resort to death threats.

Federal Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane said over the past 10 years, he has tolerated a barrage of death threats, verbal and written abuse - even a home invasion.

"It is part and parcel of public life," Mr Macfarlane said yesterday.

"Ninety-nine per cent of the time, the threats are verbal, in letters or down at the pub after a few beers, but you have to be careful," he said.

"You have to weigh-up the risks associated with the job and decide what is acceptable.

"I guess you would say that I'm not reckless, but, at the same time, I'm not paranoid.

"The former Prime Minister, John Howard, used to say that if someone wanted to get you, they would find a way."

In 1999, Mr Macfarlane's family - his wife Karen, and daughters Kate and Laura - was faced with an intruder in their Toowoomba home.

The intruder made threats and local police were contacted.

"When we had our first security incident, I was advised to take steps to ensure our safety," Mr Macfarlane said.

"Some people may think that the steps we have taken are extreme, but I think they are necessary to protect the family.

"I was advised by the Australian Federal Police to stop publishing my diary and to ensure that all family members carried a mobile phone. …