Son of retiring Port Stephens Mayor Bruce MacKenzie involved in election altercation

Tensions ran high at Port polling booths with police continuing investigations.

There was not one or two but three incidents, brought to the attention of police.

Robert MacKenzie, the son of retiring Port Stephens Mayor Bruce MacKenzie, was involved in a scuffle near a polling booth in Fern Bay on Saturday.

Fairfax Media understands Mr MacKenzie – who had been handing out how to vote cards for a number of candidates throughout the day – became involved in an altercation with another man. Witnesses gave conflicting accounts. 

Mr MacKenzie told Fairfax he had been “harassed” and “picked on” by another man who had grabbed him and “thrown me around like a rag doll”.

“I didn’t touch him, I didn’t do anything,” Mr MacKenzie said. 

“This bloke came over to me ranting and raving, and eventually he’s grabbed hold of me.”

But other witnesses said Mr MacKenzie had reacted after being questioned by the man about his role in the 2012 election result which saw his father win an unbeatable majority on the council.

One person said Mr MacKenzie had charged at the man “like a bull”, and that the two men became involved in a physical tussle. 

But Mr MacKenzie denied that.  

“He threw me around like a rag doll. If you’d seen the size of him there’s no way you’d be asking me if I charged at him.”

Fairfax understands that Labor made a complaint to the Returning Officer because Mr MacKenzie remained at the polling booth after the incident.

Port Stephens police said the Fern Bay Public School matter remained under investigation on Monday.  

Police have spoken to witnesses and inquiries are continuing.

There was more ugly behaviour reported at Medowie on Saturday afternoon.

Raymond Terrace Police are investigating an alleged assault at a polling station. 

It is alleged a male was assaulted at a polling station at the Wirreanda Public School in Medowie about 5.45pm.

A third incident is under investigation from Thursday, during pre-polling.

Police are investigating an alleged assault against Giacomo Arnott, who is likely to be declared a west ward councillor.

It’s understood Mr Arnott confronted a man who was placing unauthorised election material under car windscreen wipers in Raymond Terrace.

Mr Arnott photographed the man, who then tried to photograph him back.

It’s alleged that when Mr Arnott tried to cover his face with his shirt, the man attempted to grab him.

Any person witness to the events, who has not yet spoken to police, should contact Raymond Terrace Police Station on 4983 7599.