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Australia On Edge: Bomb Squad Responds to 'Suspicious' Pro-Marriage Letter Containing Glitter

Australia On Edge: Bomb Squad Responds to 'Suspicious' Pro-Marriage Letter Containing Glitter

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Police, firefighters, a hazmat team, and even the bomb squad responded to defuse the situation.

Staffers for an Australian politician opposed to marriage equality called out the big guns when they got a pro-marriage letter that had glitter inside.

Get Up, a pro-marriage equality organization, sent letters to all members of parliament that oppose the push for same-sex marriage. A staff member for Liberal minister Craig Laundy, who had recently gone through security training, became alarmed when he could feel "a powder-like substance inside," according to Laundy.

The staffer called the police. Police called the fire department who called in a hazmat team. The hazmat team then called the bomb squad.

In a Facebook post, Laundy praised the emergency responders for taking control of the situation quickly and chastised Get Up activists. "6 police cars, 6 fire trucks and 1 Hazmat unit" responded, he wrote. "The emergency response today when my staff found a suspicious package in our PO Box was tremendous."

"It has since been discovered that it was a stupid stunt by GetUp," he continued. "I'm all for organisations making contact with me, but to send any undeclared substance through the mail to the office of a member of parliament will inevitably cause alarm and divert important police and emergency services from their critical work. Thank you to Burwood [local area command] - NSW Police Force for their outstanding effort in undertaking a professional response to a grossly irresponsible act."

"GetUp would like to express its regret for this misunderstanding and confusion," a spokeswoman for the organization said. "We hope nobody was unduly concerned for an extended period by the glitter. Obviously we regret any undue concern that this caused or any time wasted, as it was merely a way demonstrate our concern for an important issue."

The group mailed a note to 98 other MPs and Senators as part of a pro-marriage equality push. They say in the letter that they bought the glitter to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage, but with the government backing away a vote this year they now have nothing to do with it. As The Advocate has reported, Prime Minister Tony Abbott will not allow members of his ruling coalition government to vote their conscience on proposed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Instead, he has called for a non-binding plebiscite referendum to decide the fate of same-sex couples seeking to wed.

"But your party (not the kind you buy glitter for) messed with our plans," the letter read. "We've had to put those plans on hold - indefinitely by the looks of it, thanks to your party's abject confusion on the issue. And we're really not happy about it."

No other politicians have called in emergency responders after receiving the group's missive.

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