On Sunday the 10th December 2017 Broome, Western Australia residents awoke to find racist and vile postings on the Facebook group 'The Broome Community Noticeboard' which boasts a 14,000 member reach. The posts targeted Aboriginal families and individuals who reside in Broome and the greater Broome Shire.
Frighteningly many other Facebook users and presumably Broome residents also in vigilante style called for Aboriginal children to be 'captured' and '...lets fuck these little cunts up'...and 'we have got bullbars (on our cars) for a reason". Examples of corporal punishment and support for 'vigilante groups' were posted all of which deeply disturbed Magali and I.
Screenshots presented to the Broome Shire Hospital.
We discussed this and decided that this was totally unacceptable in any town in Australia and in any town in the world. We took a series of screenshots and shortly after were horrified to find the thread deleted and the 'Broome Community Noticeboard' administrator stating that he had 'fixed it' and 'for christ sake you lot cant you just keep control of yourselves'.
A few days earlier Magali and I had already had a run in with this administrator who identified as 'the owner' of the Broome Community Noticeboard who was sending sexist, vilifying and derogatory messages to other members of the group online. I took objection to his messaging and indicated that 'this little corner of the web is over' and that I wished to meet him in a public place to confront him for his objectionable behaviour. His response was to immediately block me from the group.
Magali then approached this individual and she also asked him why he thought it was ok to call women in the group 'you silly goose' and then send putrid animated GIFs to accompany his badly scripted prose. Magali was then also promptly ejected from the group. (The responses since remain visible in the group to date however we have screenshot most of what has ensured since. )
So, I mentioned the first racial incidents to long term Broome resident Johani Mamid, an Aboriginal Yawuru man who indicated that there was great dissent in Broome over what a nurse at the Broome Hospital had put on this Facebook group. I indicated that I found it grossly in breach of Western Australian laws for incitation of racially motivated violence.
I drove to the Broome Police and stated my case and they indicated that unless there was an individual or myself that was prepared to push a case against the individual who made this rant online then 'it remains a civil matter and has to be dealt with by the relevant authorities.' Given the person is a nurse and public officer I decided to approach Broome Hospital for their response.
I put my screenshots on a USB drive and drove to the hospital and requested to meet with the acting hospital Manager. When she viewed the images and listened to my points she indicated she would escalate this matter ' to her superiors'. I was not surprised to wake up on Tuesday 12, 2017 to read on the front page of the ABC website that he had been stood down from his public role.
NOTE - The screenshots had apparently already been sent to Broome Hospital senior managers and my actions were in combination with a number of other cases.
Over the last few days the administrator of the Broome Noticeboard Facebook group has repeatedly engaged with multiple Broome residents in defending his style of 'cleaning this shit up' and his repeat blocking of those who call on his group to cease and desist with hosting and omitting, deleting and blocking information that is inciting hatred between people in this town.
Broome has been and always will be a culturally diverse city which has an atrocious history of stolen generations, slavery and abject poverty due to the colonisation by various other countries of this nation - Wikipedia
It is therefore not acceptable that the majority of those 14,000 people on the group let racial intolerance be ignored in apathy. It is not acceptable for that group to be a representation of humanity at it's worst rather it needs to foster and promote humanity at it's best.
Both Magali and I stand united with many other people who believe that this Facebook group needs to be dramatically altered in its constitution. We call on its administrators and related moderators to respond to these public concerns and to act under Western Australian law to promote culturally cohesive, respectful and honourable conduct. Sexism, derogatory and divisive moderation practice is not acceptable.
Call To Action
The Broome Community Noticeboard must be a community resource managed by community residents as it 'represents Broome, it's residents and the greater good of this community.' It is NOT a resource of one person controlling the demography and civil rights of others.
We met with Johani Mamid yesterday and put together this short film to demonstrate that we will stand united on this matter and call on those who believe in social justice and community to meet with us at a soon to be hosted community meeting to rectify what would otherwise be an explosive and deeply fractious issue in Broome, Western Australia.
Links To Related Articles
"A nurse at Broome Hospital has been stood down for posting a racist rant on a community Facebook page". - ABC Kimberley Facebook
"A nurse has been stood down from his hospital job in northern WA following an expletive-filled, racist rant on social media that threatened violence against children." - https://www.facebook.com/abc/posts/10155681453529550
Racism In Australia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_Australia