No campaigner Andrew Thaler claims he was assaulted at rally after being spat on by ANU professor
A man whose phone was spat on by an academic and Yes23 campaigner claims he was attacked by another Voice lawyer immediately afterwards.
Andrew Thaler, who describes himself as a community advocate, spoke at a rally against Indigenous Voice at Parliament in Sydney’s central Hyde Park on Saturday.
At the event, an electronic billboard displayed the message ‘No Spitting’, referring to the confrontation that took place at Cooma’s Centennial Park in southern NSW last Sunday between Mr Thaler and ANU Emeritus Professor Denise Ferris.
He has since claimed that he was pushed and punched by another Yes voter after the incident.
Andrew Thaler (pictured) has claimed he was attacked by another Voice lawyer just moments after being spat at by a Yes23 campaigner
“It’s going to take more than a few punches and a spit to put me down,” Thaler told the crowd of about 1,000 at the event hosted by Liberal Democratic NSW House of Representatives MP John Ruddick.
As Mr Thaler spoke, a video screen behind him played the image he captured of Professor Ferris spitting at his phone as the pair engaged in a heated confrontation.
The professor was until recently listed as head of the ANU School of Art and Design in Canberra.
Mr Thaler jubilantly noted that Professor Ferris’ profile had been removed from the ANU website.
“If ANU has been trending on Twitter for several days because they are involved with a professor spitting on people, that is not a good look for the university,” he told Daily Mail Australia.
Professor Ferris denied spitting at Thaler in a statement that day and on Thursday.
Mr Thaler said police are now investigating footage of an alleged attack that took place immediately after the spitting incident.
Mr Thaler claimed he was attacked by a man who was in a Yes23 tent just moments after being spat at by ANU academic and Yes23 campaigner Professor Denise Ferris (pictured)
Professor Ferris (pictured), who until recently was listed as head of the ANU School of Art and Design in Canberra, denied spitting on Mr Thaler after the pair were involved in a heated verbal altercation at an event in Cooma , in southern NSW. east on Sunday
“A guy in the Yes tent started pushing me and bumping into me,” Thaler said.
‘He started hitting me hard and took the phone out of my hand a few times. There were plenty of witnesses.’
Mr Thaler said police had asked him not to show footage of the incident until they completed their investigation.
He said if police don’t charge the man, he will “do it himself” as “a regular informant.”
Regarding last Sunday’s incident, Mr. Thaler said he had gone to the Yes Labor party tent to take a photo of lambs in a petting zoo.
“I was just about to take a picture of the lambs,” Mr. Thalers said.
“They used that to attract the kids and bring the parents along.
‘It was a cheap stunt, but the lambs were in the sun all day.’
In the video, Mr. Thaler can be heard calling Professor Ferris a “stupid mole.”
Professor Ferris has claimed that the argument had nothing to do with the Voice and that she felt targeted by Mr Thaler, which sent her into a panicked state of ‘fight or flight’.
Professor Ferris (pictured) said she felt she was being aggressively confronted by Mr Thaler, causing her to react in a panicked state of ‘fight or flight’.
Mr Thaler claimed the confrontation was provoked by their differing positions on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, which will be voted on in a referendum on October 14.
‘She was wearing a Yes t-shirt, she had a Yes badge on her hat, she was in the Yes tent, she came to us to give us a hard time from the Yes tent and went back to the Yes tent,” he said. .
Professor Ferris has said she was merely trying to “block” Thaler’s camera “without engaging in physical contact.”
She said she “felt intimidated” during the heated ordeal because Mr. Thaler held the camera “like a gun pointed at me.”
“Out of nowhere, Andrew Thaler came up to me and filmed me with his iPhone out,” she wrote.
Professor Ferris (pictured), who has denied spitting on Thaler, said the heated verbal exchange between the pair was not about the Vote to Parliament.
“I was beyond terrified, he was literally in my face, I had a visceral reaction, a panic attack, fight or flight,” Professor Ferris said.
‘I didn’t spit on him. I wanted to block his camera without making physical contact. Flight? Should I turn my back on him? Definitely not too scared of his actions, it was so traumatic.”
The professor, who holds an unpaid position at the ANU, also accused Mr Thaler of heavily editing the video and setting “a trap” for her because he was a “professional full-time provocateur”.
A spokesperson for the ANU told Daily Mail Australia they were “investigating and will take appropriate action if necessary.”
‘This video has just been brought to the attention of the university. Emeritus professors are not paid employees,” the spokesperson said.
The professor’s online profile was removed from the university’s website on Thursday.
Mr. Thaler is no stranger to controversy.
He was branded a ‘parasite’ by 2GB presenter Ben Fordham after claiming to speak on behalf of the family whose grandmother, Clare Nowland, 95, was fatally tasered at a Cooma nursing home on May 17.