The messages included a comment posted from an account in the name “Calum Thwaites”, which is the same name as the 24-year-old student from Queensland University of Technology who has filed a defamation suit against Butler for comments she made on the ABC’s Q&A last month.
“This is a coarsening of public debate and we should be very, very worried about it,” Butler said.
BuzzFeed News has now obtained screenshots of the post.
Thwaites was accused of writing the words “ITT niggers” on Facebook after he and other students were questioned by Prior for being in an Indigenous computer lab.
He has repeatedly denied the accusations and said the Facebook account that made the comment was fake and run by someone else. In a signed affidavit to the court, Thwaites said he did not and could not have posted the message.
After Butler questioned whether he had actually written the Facebook post during an appearance on Q&A, Thwaites sued her for defamation claiming her statements suggested he is a liar, racist, and perjurer. He has rejected an apology from her.
Among the messages the MP read out to parliament last week from the secret Facebook group was a comment suggesting someone should use the term “niggers”, which appeared under an account using Thwaites’s name and also bearing an image of him.
The Brockspace group has about 3,400 members, many of them male students from Queensland, and was set up in the wake of the original QUT Stalkerspace group being shut down because of the racial discrimination complaint.
Then, one person posted, “I wonder if you can say ITT niggers on ss2.0 again now?”
ss2.0 means Stalkerspace 2.0.
The “Calum Thwaites” account replied, “Give it a crack what’s the worst that can happen?”
The member did not reply to our message but instead posted it in the Facebook thread with the caption: “We have a leak. Some leftie buzzfeed “”””journalist”””” trying to drum up a story about the QUT racism case. Just in case he didn’t know; this is a private group that has 0 affiliation with QUT.”
“As Calum has a pending action for defamation against Ms Butler, as well as a pending application with the Privileges Committee of the House of Representatives seeking redress over the abuse by Ms Butler of parliamentary privilege, I have advised Calum that it is not appropriate to engage in any public discussion of such matters, which includes answering any questions from journalists,” Morris said.
“Just because Calum let the ABC off the hook – accepting that they acted in good faith – it should not be assumed that he will be quite so accommodating to any other media organ which continues to publish Ms Butler’s defamatory comments, or otherwise attempts to throw mud at him.”
Report an Issue
Drag to highlight one or more parts of the screen.
We got your feedback, and we'll follow up with you at