Brawl allegations ‘a beat-up’

The president of the Bowen Turf Club, Cyril Vains, has accused Whitsunday Mayor Mike Brunker, who is contesting the marginal seat of Dawson, of punching him after a dispute over election signage on the weekend.

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But Mr Brunker says it was he who was the victim of an unprovoked attack from Mr Vains and fought back to defend himself.

He says the incident will not affect his chances of winning the seat.

“Again the only beat-up at the racetrack was the media circus that followed the event,” he told ABC Radio on Monday.

“If this was in a fortnight’s time or if there was no election, it wouldn’t have even made the Bowen rumour mill.”

He accused the turf club of exaggerating the incident.

“Unfortunately the people involved at the turf club chose to sit there all afternoon and ring national media to make an issue of it to obviously hit where they think it’s going to hurt.”

The ALP says Mr Brunker won’t be disciplined over the incident because he was defending himself.

“There was an attack on Mr Brunker, he was defending himself – there’s eyewitnesses that verify this account,” ALP state secretary Anthony Chisholm told the ABC.

Mr Chisholm denied claims by Liberal National Party (LNP) state director Michael O’Dwyer and Labor had set up “shock squads” to provoke opposition supporters.

Mr O’Dwyer on Monday cited a number of run-ins on the campaign trail and blamed the shock squads for stirring things up.

The LNP has claimed a campaign worker was provoked into a fight with a Labor volunteer on Saturday in the marginal seat of Longman north of Brisbane, being contested by LNP candidate Wyatt Roy.

Mr O’Dwyer said he wanted a fair and decent campaign.

“We see the Labor party and the union movement out there with their shock squads and they’re harassing innocent campaign workers – this is not the Australian way,” he told the ABC.

Mr Chisholm said the LNP’s claims were nonsense.

“The Labor campaigners were not doing anything inappropriate what-so-ever, they were out there highlighting Mr Roy’s inexperience – that is a legitimate form of campaigning,” he said.

“Mr Roy’s campaign just lost the plot and attacked the Labor party campaigners that were there.”

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