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The Battle For The Seat Of Wills Is Getting Nasty

A Greens candidate has phoned her Labor counterpart to call a truce.

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Greens candidate Sam Ratnam has called her Labor counterpart Peter Khalil to ask for an end to the "dirty tricks" playing out in the fight for the Melbourne seat of Wills.

In a phone conversation on Thursday night both candidates agreed to run a clean campaign for the last 48 hours until the polls close on Saturday night, Ratnam told BuzzFeed News.

The poster war has been heating up over the final days of the election campaign in the inner-city Melbourne seat.

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Wills was considered a very safe Labor safe on a margin of 15.2%, but the Labor candidate has been feeling the pressure after BuzzFeed News revealed he appeared in Wikileaks cables as a "protected source" for the United States.

The Greens estimate they've had hundreds of outdoor placards cut down, defaced or stolen, including from the front yard of Ratnam's house. They blame the negative campaigning on Khalil's supporters.

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A Greens volunteer told BuzzFeed News he heard people come into his front yard at 3am and take away his signs.

Coburg resident Will Cowan told BuzzFeed News a six-foot high real estate sign was removed from his front fence during broad daylight on Sunday. He's reported the theft to Melbourne police.

Removing the sign wouldn't have been easy, as it was professionally installed.

"It was secured to the fence with a big heavy frame so it couldn't have been kids", Cowan said.

He suspects it was Labor supporters.

"I was thinking it must be Labor or Liberals, but the Liberals, why would they care? They have no chance [of winning Wills]. And we have seen a lot of defaced posters with nasty words and teeth blackened out in Wills."

Cowan searched the streets around his home and the local park but couldn't find any trace of the sign.

"It would have taken a few strong people and probably an axe to take it off, and they must have put it into a car pretty quick," he said.

In the neighbouring seat of Batman, the Greens have also accused Labor of dirty campaign tactics, including graffitiing sexist slurs on candidate Alex Bhathal’s campaign HQ.

Ratnam called Khalil to let him know about the thefts, but didn't directly accuse him of being involved. Instead she asked him to tell his supporters to rein it in.

Labor and the Greens have agreed to call a truce until the polls close at 6pm on Saturday.

We'll keep a close eye on both camps to see if they honour it.

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at alice.workman@buzzfeed.com.

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