Melbourne: A real estate agent has been stripped of her licence after sending a racist email to a former Indian tenant in which said she hoped migrants would not turn Australia into “the filth that is India”.
Bronwyn Pollitt, a Perth-based real estate director, wrote to Sandeep Kumar in May 2021 after he disputed a cleaning bill deduction from his security deposit, news.com.au reported on Saturday.
The email was submitted to The State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia, which heard that Pollitt compared Australian living standards and quality of life to the “overcrowded, overpopulated, dirty squaller (sic) of many countries, including India”.
The Tribunal deemed Pollitt unfit to hold a real estate and business agents licence for eight months beginning September 1.
It heard that after Kumar vacated the home in December 2020, Pollitt told him that the house owner did not agree that the security deposit should be released in full.
Following discussions regarding the full return of the deposit in May 2021, Pollitt sent the mail which said: “Our living standards, our quality of life and expectations are very different to the overcrowded, overpopulated, dirty squaller (sic) of many other countries including India”.
“Therefore, it is impossible to have a discussion about what is clean and when I and most Australians have an expectation of what is clean and you are talking from what you are used to,” the email read.
Calling herself a “white Australian”, Pollitt further said that she hoped that “the massive influx of Indian people will not turn our beautiful country into the filth that is India where bodies are on the street, half burnt bodies are in the river and people climb over each other for medical help while living in absolute slums”.
“It all starts with cleaning the rental properties though and being mindful of what you have left and knowing the same thing as India will become Perth if you make no attitude changes,” she added.
Calling a police probe into the matter, ethnic community advocate Suresh Rajan said it is one of the worst cases of overt racism he has seen in years, adding that it breached the criminal code‘s racial vilification legislation.
“This clearly has a white supremacist attitude, in terms of saying, we are so far superior to you in terms of cleanliness,” Rajan told The West Australian newspaper.
In June 2021, Pollitt reportedly sent an apology to Kumar, saying she ‘never intended to be racist’.
The tribunal heard that Pollitt was under tremendous pressure at the time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, regulatory changes, and increased rental conflicts.
“Members not upholding the Code and the law should face disciplinary action by the appropriate authority,” the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia told The West Australian.
Pollitt has agreed to undergo training to handle similar situations arising in future in a better manner.