New South Wales police have charged a man who allegedly left disturbing comments on outgoing Northern Territory Labor senator Nova Peris's Facebook page over the weekend.
"About 1pm today (Monday 30 May 2016), police attended a business on Victoria Road, Woy Woy, and arrested a 64-year-old man," a statement from the NSW Police says.
"The man was taken to Gosford Police Station where he was charged with use carriage service (telecommunications) to cause offence.
"The man was granted bail and is due to appear in Gosford Local Court on Tuesday 21 June 2016."
The comments were posted by Facebook user Chris Nelson's account on Saturday and were riddled with profanity and racial slurs against the Aboriginal senator.
"I am not sorry for what has happened in the past, if it wasn't for the non-existent stolen generation you would probably have been raped by your father, another male relative or worse still been killed," one comment read.
Another said Peris was selected by former prime minister Julia Gillard to enter parliament because she was "a black cunt".
An online petition calling for Nelson to be investigated has reached almost 7000 signatures and Peris's response to the abuse has been shared almost 15,000 times.
"Be easy to block and delete your comment Sir Chris Nelson, but I'll leave it there to continue to so the ugly side of this country as I have always done!" Peris wrote in response to Nelson's comments.
"You must have had a terrible life Chris to continue as an ADULT spitting such racist and vile hatred towards a fellow human being," she went on to write.
Nelson has strenuously denied sending the messages, telling the Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate that he was the victim of South Korean hackers trying to "create mayhem".
"I was clearly hacked. I’m the victim of a really horrible and extremely vicious hacking," Nelson said.
“I found out about this about 5.30 on Saturday afternoon when Facebook sent me a notification that someone had spammed my account. I did have an Instagram account, and that vile message had gone out on that account as well,” he said.
“I’m definitely not a racist. I’ve got friends who are Aboriginal and family who are Aboriginal."
Peris has welcomed the decision by the police to arrest Nelson, telling BuzzFeed News that, “no one has the right to make anyone else feel threatened or discriminated against.”
“Racism should not be tolerated under any circumstances. As long as there is racism in any part of society, I will continue to call it out and fight against it,” Peris said.
Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.
Contact Allan Clarke at arielle.benedek+AC@buzzfeed.com.
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