Outrage Sunday 47 just a turn of phrase

Not a good day for Perth Now in the Federal Court last week: Justice Michael Barker found the site contravened the Racial Discrimination Act when it published four comments in 2008 after four Aboriginal boys died in a car crash near Pinjarra.

One of the comments: You can post as many comment as you like but it wont [sic] change anything untill [sic] the law makers of this land get off thier [sic] fat a## and get out of thier [sic] ivory towers and start dealing out real punishment to the low life instead of the 5 star treatment they get in prison they get 3 squares aday [sic] tv computer clean beds there are lots of holes in [Kalgoorlie I would use these scum as land fill’ [Comment 29 of 114 posted by Jack Reacher of 9:49am July 11, 2008].

Justice Barker gave Perth Now a sustained spray after a Perth Now lawyer said the author was “obviously not intending his comment to be taken literally … It is just a turn of phrase”.

“In my view, this comment does not leave anything to the imagination,” Justice Barker said. “I have no hesitation in finding that this latter expression, in the context of all the commentary on the website up to that point, and in the context of words used in the comment itself would be read by the reasonable reader as including the Aboriginal boys who had died in the car crash. Any other reading would be contrived and artificial. While ‘low life’ are deserving of ‘real punishment’, ‘these scum’ deserve to be used ‘as land fill’. The expression ‘these scum’ may refer to all ‘low life’ but it should particularly be taken to include the deceased Aboriginal boys. The word ‘scum’ is used here in its most pejorative way. The relevant definition of ‘scum’ in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is ‘worthless, despicable people; the most contemptible part of the population of a place, society etc’. This is exactly what the comment conveys. The boys are considered to be so despicable they should be used to fill a disused mineshaft near Kalgoorlie – that is to say, disposed of without trace. This comment is so deeply offensive, insulting and humiliating that it is breathtaking. For the respondent to suggest it was not meant to be taken literally and should be treated as ‘just a turn of phrase’ is, to say the least, unacceptable.”

Justice Barker awarded the mother of three of the boys $12,000 and said Perth Now had to remove the comments.

I can’t see the judgement online: perhaps someone can provide a link. (Link courtesy Andrew). Justice Barker has plenty more to say about Perth Now and its readers. I haven’t seen the judgement covered on a News Ltd site. Perhaps it will be in today’s Sunday Times.

Moderating those comments is so time-consuming!

Justice Barker said pre-judgement interest and costs will be discussed on Wednesday.

This entry was posted in *Worst of Australia, *Worst of The World, worst language and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Outrage Sunday 47 just a turn of phrase

  1. Anonymous says:

    But what about the man who was Injuried falling down a cliff?


  2. Good riddance to that judgement.


    • And shouldn’t there be a press complaint about the intial reports that said the shark attack was at Bunbury. Busselton must have been spewing that Bunbers was trying to steal their ooshta.


  3. janezee says:

    Perth Now and it’s readers? tsk tsk


  4. vegan says:

    seriously though, thank you dfoc for posting this.

    if ever i want to ratchet up my anger all i need to do is read the comments on any perth now or worst story.


  5. Rolly says:

    “….a turn of phrase.” Indeed!
    All too common an attitude, it seems to me.
    Perhaps a turn of the thumbscrews on the hand that writes such shit might be more appropriate.


  6. Disgusting, but the tip of the iceberg, one does not have to stray too far from the nest in order to see that such attitudes are held by the vast majority of white West Australians. A ruling such as the above is one of the very few ways justice is permitted to the Nyungars. Conspicuously, at the heart of this case is a matter of basic decency, intelligible to the boganry insofar as it relates to the commonplace – familial tragedy, a mother’s loss, car accidents, etc. Rank insensitivity offends, if it violates the sacrosanct, as it does here. But as soon as the more esoteric elements of WA’s race problem emerge, understanding simply evaporates. At best, a feeble expression of sympathy might be hoped for, but a complete denial of the Nyungar’s humanity is the customary recourse, as it allows the bogan to neatly excise any compulsion to consider his (real and urgent) responsibilities to the dispossessed. To take a minescule, specific example, the water supply to ‘Heirisson Island’ was cut off, one assumes so as to inconvenience the embassy – but if you think about it, having rendered the preexisting, abundant water source undrinkable, surely white occupants have a responsibility to maintain a replacement? Of course the same could be (and was) said about food at the time of settlement, which is almost certainly the reason why today the bogan resents the Nyungar for the latter’s percieved dependency on him for food and shelter (the ultimate reason for this perception can only be the former’s pig ignorance, but that’s another story). Perhaps the reason that the indigenous experience seems like mystical bullshit to your average bog is that there is no comparable experience in their ancestral memory – for the bogan is descended from the banished rejects of a society of colonisers of colonisers…. /rant


    • janezee says:

      I will never ever forget a reasonably senior nicely presented woman in my very first ever public service job in WA saying “I like that Ernie Dingo. He’s polite. Not like those other coons”. Years ago now but the fundamental level of hatefulness prevails in this town.


      • Saltysuzy says:

        My dad (middle class whitefella) had a complaint made against him in the 80s for calling a public service colleague a racist bitch, as she banged on about “the abos” in her street. His defence…she was being a racist bitch. Complaint dropped.


  7. The Legend 101 says:

    Very Interesting.


  8. DFOC, you need a [sic] key on your computer.


  9. Pingback: Outrage Sunday 48 bidet you adieu | The Worst of Perth

We can handle the worst

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s