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Protesters have trashed the office of South Australian senator Cory Bernardi

Protesters in Cory Bernardi’s office. Source: ABC News/Leah MacLennan.

The Adelaide office of senator Cory Bernardi was defaced and trashed by student protesters today while the outspoken conservative was in Canberra taking part in a marathon debate over changes to Senate election voting.

Around 20 protesters, some carrying Socialist Alternative banners, forced their way into the historic building chanting “Racist, sexist, anti-queer, Bernardi is not welcome here”. They scrawled slogans in chalk on the footpath and walls before overturning furniture and scattering office materials across the floor inside.

They were protesting the outspoken conservative’s opposition to the gay and lesbian anti-bullying program Safe Schools.

Bernardi took to Twitter to say the “cowards” had threatened his staff.

Here are some images ABC and Channel 9 journalists posted from the office during the protest.

The incident happened just before federal education minister Simon Birmingham announced a range of changes to the Safe Schools program materials following an independent review that found some aspects were inappropriate for children.

While the report did not go far enough for the like of Queensland MP George Christensen and senator Bernardi, who want the program defunded and closed down, a number of changes will be made.

The program will only apply to secondary school children and any role playing will be removed.

Some MPs claimed role playing was an attempt to introduce children to a gay lifestyle.

The program’s website will only be able to link to services that are government funded and parental consent will be required before children can participate in the program.

“Just as prosletyising is not part of the school chaplaincy program, advocacy must not be part of the Safe Schools program. This is here to help children in their wellbeing in schools,” Birmingham said in a media conference announcing the changes.

News of the changes appeared to placate Christensen, one of the harshest critics, who declared the program “gutted”.

“Gutting the program of all of the concerning content is what I wanted at the end of the day – or the program shut down,” he said.

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