Australian Federal Police have charged two people over threats allegedly made last year via a social media messaging service to senator Kristina Keneally.
Court attendance notices have been served on a 29-year old man from Harrington Park and a 41-year old woman from Maitland in New South Wales, and both are expected to face the Sydney Central Local Court on April 13.
The man was charged with threatening to cause harm to a commonwealth public official, with a maximum penalty for that offence being seven years’ jail time.
The woman was charged with the offence of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence. The penalty for that offence is five years behind bars.
“It will be alleged in court that the man and woman were responsible for sending two separate threatening messages on 23 November 2021, which threatened or advocated violent acts,” the public statement issued by the AFP said.
The charges were laid following the execution of search warrants at the man’s Harrington Park home. A mobile phone was taken for further examination.
Keneally confirmed she was the senator referred to in the AFP media release and that she was unable to say much more given that the matter is before the courts.
“I would like to publicly thank the Australian Federal Police who, in all matters relating to MPs and senators, take their responsibilities seriously,” Keneally said.
She said it goes to a broader issue that is impacting political discourse in Australia.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing an increasing trend towards extremist views and threats of violence,” Keneally, a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, said.