Federal Labor Senator Nova Peris has started posting the racist hate mail she receives on her Facebook and Twitter pages.
“I started posting the racist material I receive because racism should be called out. You can’t let people get away with that kind of hate. It’s usually sent anonymously or privately, which is pretty cowardly," the Northern Territory senator told BuzzFeed News.
Peris, Australia’s first Aboriginal woman to sit in federal parliament, posted several disturbing letters she had received over the past week from a member of the public.
"I can’t sit by and let it go unnoticed. If someone sends me a racist threat, I’m not going to allow them the satisfaction of seeing me accept it, I’m going to make sure everyone knows how much of a bigoted coward they are," she says.
"As a senator, I feel it’s my duty to expose this behaviour on behalf of other Australians who are subject to racism".
One letter features a picture of Peris with rifle crosshairs on her forehead as she stands next to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose face has been smudged out. The caption above reads, "Who will come a coon hunting with me".
"I’ve lived a public life for 23 years and in that time it hasn’t been uncommon to receive such brutal racist hate mail,” Peris, a former Olympian, says.
Most of the abuse takes aim at Nova's heritage and how she entered politics as Julia Gillard's 'captain pick'.
Another letter with the title of "Gillard's raw black prawn," talks about breeding out, "brainless black bitches of the coon species".
After posting the abusive letters, Peris has received an outpouring of support.
"I’ll continue to call it out until one day, maybe these letters will stop. The reaction on Facebook is always one of shock, and people call out how disgusting it is," Peris said
Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.
Contact Allan Clarke at arielle.benedek+AC@buzzfeed.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.