Federal detectives are assessing serious threats against senior Australian politicians after a web page advocated the assassination of prime minister elect, Tony Abbott.
The page “Tony Abbott should be assassinated” appeared on Facebook this week after the coalition won Saturday’s federal election.
Mr Abbott is expected to be sworn in next week.
That page and others including those called “Tony Abbott should just die” and “20,000 likes and I will assassinate Tony Abbott” have gathered a series of threatening comments and have been removed.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) would not confirm if those particular pages have formed part of an ongoing assessment of threats against senior politicians.
“The AFP treats reports of threats against Members of Parliament and high office holders seriously and investigates complaints where appropriate,” a spokesman said.
“Commentary of this nature can occur in a range of media forums, often anonymously, and where these comments are brought to the attention of the AFP an assessment is made.
“The AFP is currently assessing a number of Facebook pages and comments.
“While these processes are underway it is not appropriate for the AFP to comment further.”
Facebook was not able to confirm if it removed the pages.
Content is removed from its site for a variety of reasons, including pages relating to “actionable threats of violence”, it said.
“Our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities forbids content that includes pornography, bullying, and actionable threats of violence and we will remove any content reported to us that violates these policies,” a Facebook spokesperson told AAP.
The threats against Mr Abbott have sparked anger on other social network sites.
“This needs to be looked into. It should be regarded as serious,” one person wrote on Twitter.
“This is in poor taste, even for the unhinged,” another added.
Adelaide-based lawyer Alex Ward says it is illegal to use telecommunications networks or carriage services to make threats or hoax threats.
But he said Australian law has struggled to keep pace with advances in technology.
“It’s illegal to do it but people just don’t seem to know that’s the law,” Mr Ward told Adelaide radio station Five AA.
“It’s very hard to find the law on this and this is one part where society has gone just a million miles ahead of the laws very ponderously keeping up.”
Mr Abbott’s office has been asked for comment.
A Victorian branch of the leftist Socialist Alliance acknowledged that the creator of one of the Facebook pages had claimed membership of its group.
But the alliance’s Geelong branch denied it was responsible.
“The person who created this page has claimed membership with Socialist Alliance and have (sic) managed to access the internet from the same building our office is located in, which can be done using a phone out on the street,” the Socialist Alliance Geelong said in a Facebook post.
“Since then, one of our members has received death threats via our office phone.
“After speaking to our members, we can assure you that our branch is not responsible for this page and we do not advocate violence or assassination of politicians.”
Mr Abbott’s office declined to comment on the threats.