Victorian Greens senator Lidia Thorpe was shocked to receive an abusive email from an author allegedly posing as Jim’s Group CEO, Jim Penman.
Last night (November 11), Victoria’s first Indigenous senator, Lidia Thorpe, revealed details of an abusive and racist letter that she had received in front of the Senate. The letter in question had been marked with the logo and signature of Australia’s iconic Jim’s Group, and had reportedly been sent by company CEO Jim Penman. Mr Penman has denied all allegations.
“I have only been in this job, in public office, for a matter of weeks and the misogyny, sexism and racism is coming in thick and fast,” Ms Thorpe told the Senate. Both Senator Thorpe and Mr Penman have referred the allegedly fraudulent letter to police.
The letter is offensive and shocking, but not out of place for Australia’s current political landscape. In recent weeks, the Australian government have ruled on a number of actions which outrightly disrespect and disregard First Nations culture and heritage.
Just today, the LNP and One Nation blocked a motion to hang the Indigenous flag in Parliament, right in the middle of NAIDOC week. In addition, the Victorian Government recently removed the sacred Djab Wurrung Directions Tree to make room for infrastructure: an action which sparked protests and has since been taken to court.
In a statement to the ABC, Jim Penman adamantly denied having sent the letter, stating that the text contained an electronic copy of his signature. “Until tonight I had no idea who Lidia Thorpe was and have never communicated with her,” Penman stated to the media. “I find the statements made about her to be vile, sexist, racist and deeply offensive.” The origins of the letter are still unknown.
The Jim’s Group CEO believed that the letter was sent by a disgruntled citizen who did not support his criticisms towards the Andrews government’s COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Please convey my sympathies and best wishes to the senator, but tell her this was almost certainly a fraud committed by someone offended by my stand against Daniel Andrews over the recent lockdown,” Penman wrote.
Thorpe is the first Indigenous senator to be introduced to the Victorian Senate and has already made incredible stands for Indigenous Australia. This letter reflects a deeply troubling attitude that still lingers in Australian cultural consciousness.
The 3 Black Senators respectfully request for the Aboriginal flag to be flown in the spirit of Naidoc week and the colonial oppression reared it’s ugly violent head.
— Lidia Thorpe (@lidia__thorpe) November 10, 2020