A 32-year-old Blacktown man has been charged over a spam email campaign against the Labor candidate in the Eden-Monaro by-election, Kristy McBain.
The Australian Federal Police arrested the man during a raid at his house and later conveyed him to Parramatta Police Station. He was charged with one count of using a telecommunications service to menace, harass or cause offence, contrary to section 474.17 (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The man was released on police bail and is due to appear before the Blacktown Local Court on 2 September 2020.
The AFP launched the investigation following a report from the Electoral Integrity Assurance Taskforce and the Australian Electoral Commission on 10 June 2020.
The spam emails, which appeared to be from legitimate sources, had been sent from an unidentified user to the Australian community and various organisations, and were assessed as offensive and harassing in nature.
The AFP investigation identified that a number of telecommunications services had been subscribed to using suspected fraudulent identification documents. Investigators will allege in court that these activities were linked to the 32-year-old man.
The AFP investigation remains ongoing.
The bizarre emails targeting Ms McBain claimed that God had forsaken Eden-Monaro and linked her to the prosecution of Cardinal George Pell. The latest one said Ms McBain had withdrawn from the race because she had contracted COVID-19.
All the major candidates and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference condemned the emails.