Suspicious object clears WA Premier’s office

Mark McGowan’s electorate office in Rockingham has been evacuated after a suspicious item was thrown inside.

Emergency services descended on the electorate office of West Australian Premier Mark McGowan after a suspicious object was thrown inside, just days before the state election.

A police spokesman confirmed officers responded to an incident at the Labor leader’s Rockingham office on Tuesday afternoon, which prompted an evacuation.

Mr McGowan was at the ABC studios in East Perth at the time and told the broadcaster an item wrapped in aluminium foil was “thrown under the window at the front of the office at the staff … People sometimes act a bit strangely, so you’ve just got to be careful for that”.

The Railway Terrace office and surrounding businesses were cordoned off, and staff sat outside on chairs as fire crews, police and officers from the ChemCentre’s Hazmat team assessed the scene.

Paramedics also stood by and a staff member who complained of a sore throat after the incident was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Also on Tuesday, Nine News reported the Premier was the subject of a death threat at Hillarys on Monday, with a man at an early voting centre saying he had a gun and would shoot Mr McGowan.

Meanwhile, a billboard of Mr McGowan was defaced, with the vandal daubing a Hitler-like moustache on his top lip and a Communist sickle symbol nearby.

The Premier went from the studios to his electorate office, and spoke with authorities and media.

“We don’t actually know what’s in the package but because of some concern what was in it, they (the staff member) are being treated by the ambulance officers,” he said.

“It’s obviously a very heightened environment at the moment and I’d just urge everyone to behave appropriately … not do things like this.”

The state election this Saturday follows a presidential-style campaign heavily featuring the hugely popular NSW-born 53-year-old, who lives in his electorate with his wife Sarah and three children, and has been widely praised for his handling of the pandemic.

Newly minted Liberal leader Zak Kirkup tweeted: “Any attempted violence or threats like this towards the Premier, his office or any political candidate is abhorrent”.

“The beauty of our democracy is that elections are peaceful – this is a dangerous trend we are seeing worldwide and I condemn it wholeheartedly.”

Mr Kirkup has conceded his party cannot win as Labor sails into a second term.

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