25 March 2023

Murray on a knife edge as Dalton wields scissors and the Nats cry foul

| Chris Roe
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Helen Dalton

The Nationals have posted video of Helen Dalton handing scissors to a volunteer and allege she cut down their sign. Photo: Supplied.

On polling day in Griffith where the battle for the seat of Murray has been fierce, Independent MP Helen Dalton has been caught on camera with a pair of scissors as a Nationals staffer accuses her of cutting down their corflute signs.

“Did you just take down our corflutes?” asks the voice behind the camera as Ms Dalton steps away from a primary school fence where a poster lays facedown on the pavement.

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“No!” Ms Dalton interrupts handing a pair of scissors to a volunteer.

“You just pulled it down on the fence,” the Nationals staffer insists.

“I dunno whose corflute,” Ms Dalton says with a shrug as she turns away.

The volunteer with the scissors steps forward to cover her retreat, adding, “yeah, dunno what happened there”.

“Oh really?” the Nationals staffer asks as the camera pans down to the unattached poster and a snipped zip-tie on the ground.

The argument continues in a second video as the staffer accuses Ms Dalton’s volunteer of harassing her.

His reply begins with comments about Nationals challenger Peta Betts’ behaviour before telling the staffer “take your shirt off and I’ll stop harassing you,” in reference to the staff member’s yellow Nationals campaign t-shirt.

“Please leave me alone, I’m feeling very uncomfortable,” she insists before he turns to join Ms Dalton a few metres away.

The video is the latest in a string of confrontations throughout a curious and, at times, acrimonious campaign.

Ms Dalton, formerly of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, holds the seat by a margin of just 2.8 per cent and is standing against nine other candidates.

While a large number are ‘ghost’ candidates, they all serve to dilute the voting pool and the Nationals in particular have focused their attention on unseating the feisty and popular Independent through Edward River Council Mayor Peta Betts.


Nationals Murray candidate Peta Betts and MLC Wes Fang. Photo: Wes Fang MLC.

The Nationals have repeatedly complained of aggressive and harassing behaviour from Ms Dalton and her team and there have been confrontations at candidate forums, pre-polling and at hospitals in the electorate.

Ms Dalton has responded with her own claims of harassment and says that she has been ejected from public health facilities over her harsh critique of Griffith Hospital and the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) and her campaign to form a separate health service for the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA).

When Region spoke to Ms Dalton’s team today, they rejected the Nationals’ claim that she had used scissors to cut down corflutes, countering that Ms Dalton has been targeted by Nationals staffers seeking to provoke her in the hope of filming her reaction.

Helen Dalton MP.

Helen Dalton has made a dramatic entrance as she arrived at polling booths in Griffith. Photo: Helen Dalton MP.

Ms Dalton celebrated the day by arriving at polling booths on a carriage decked out in her signature pink and calling on voters to “keep Murray moving”.

With the polls closing at 6 pm and counting soon to get underway, the outcome is expected to be close. While Ms Dalton is widely tipped to retain her seat, the Nationals are hoping that their campaign may have tipped the balance.

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