Former councillor Vicki Curran says she was targeted by a “hate flyer” taking aim at her pro-marriage equality stance in the lead up to Saturday’s election.
Ms Curran says the print out was placed next to church bulletins at St Therese, in West Wollongong, leading up to the election.
Printed in colour, it states “Do not vote for Vicki Curran in the upcoming ward 2 council elections. She hates Christians and anyone that is against same sex marriage”.
Ms Curran’s face has been crossed through, with a quote from her about supporting marriage equality below the picture.
While Ms Curran does not blame the flyer for her failure to be re-elected, she said her votes were down in some central Wollongong areas.
At the St Therese polling booth, she received 36 out of 770 votes – the same amount as Christian independent candidate Andrew Anthony.
A Catholic, Ms Curran also said the flyer had caused “distress” after the election.
“I don’t hate Christians, I practise Christianity every day and I feel like this has shut me out of my community,” she said.
She said she approached West Wollongong parish priest Father David O’Brien when she was alerted to the hand out last week.
Fr O’Brien said a parishioner told him about the flyers on September 3, and he was “disgusted and immediately threw it in in the bin and instructed the concerned parishioner to remove any remaining copies from the church”.
“I have absolutely no idea who left the flyer on the resource table. All I can say is that no one approached me asking if they could, and I would never endorse any material attacking a person’s character in such a way.”
He said he apologised to Ms Curran and said it did not represent the church.
“At masses the following weekend, I made an announcement that disgusting material had been left on the resource table the week before,” he said.
“I reminded those present that nothing is to be ever left there without my express permission.”