A man has been charged with threatening Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce’s security officer on the side of a regional NSW road.
The 52-year-old was arrested by an Australian Federal Police task force, with the help of NSW Police, following an investigation into the incident on a highway between the regional cities Armidale and Tamworth on Friday.
Police will allege the man verbally threatened an AFP officer, who was providing security to the deputy prime minister, and adopted a fighting stance during the stoush.
He was refused police bail and will front Tamworth Local Court on Monday, facing charges of threatening to cause harm to a Commonwealth public official and failure to comply with bail conditions.
The man was arrested at his NSW home on Sunday by officers from Operation Wilmot, which has been set up to ensure the security of parliamentarians and candidates during the federal election.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Jeremy Staunton said the arrest should send a strong message to the public.
“The AFP supports political expression and freedom of speech,” he said.
“However, when it leads to disruption, harassment, intimidation, threatening behaviour and damage to property, it can reach the threshold of a criminal offence.
“Politicians, candidates and the people who work with them should be able to do their jobs safely and we will not tolerate criminal behaviour.”
The man faces a maximum of five years’ jail.