Human rights news in other jurisdictions

WA mining company Hawthorn Resources accused of racism

Dylan Caporn and Josh Chiat | June 27, 2018

A One Nation MP has levelled accusations of racism against a mining company, after signs were placed around an Aboriginal-owned station north east of Kalgoorlie threatening violence similar to that which killed teenager Elijah Doughty.

Speaking under parliamentary privilege on Tuesday night, Upper House MP Robin Scott accused Hawthorn Resources of "racially taunting" owners of Pinjin Station 140km north east of Kalgoorlie.

One sign put up outside the station last week says two of the station owners, Leo and Laurence Thomas, will "end up like Elijah", which Mr Scott said was a reference to Elijah Doughty. Others say “we destroy black n….s”.

Speaking in Parliament last night, Mr Scott said an ongoing legal battle between Pinjin owners Tisala and Hawthorn Resources had reached “a new level of racist and threatening behaviour”.

“I got a note from Mr Leo Thomas and his brother, Laurence. They are under siege at the station.

“They can no longer take their womenfolk or their children or grandchildren out there for fear of injury and also racist taunts from the mining company Hawthorn Resources Ltd."

Mr Scott told Parliament Mr Thomas had written to him, saying the signs were the “worst type of racism” he had experienced.

"It makes me feel sick for my whole family and all the Aboriginal people I know. I would be far better going off and living in Afghanistan or Syria or even just committing suicide,” Mr Thomas’ letter read, which Mr Scott read into Parliament.

Goldfields-Esperance district inspector Craig Davis said the incident was reported on Friday and that Leonora Police were conducting inquiries.

Insp. Davis said he had given the order for officers to go to Pinjin Station this morning to remove the offending signs and that there was no evidence linking any offender to act at this stage.

“Inquiries are still continuing and no one has admitted to the offence at this stage, but what I will say is the signs are inappropriate, they are unacceptable and they need to be taken down straight away,” he said.

In a statement, Hawthorn Resources said "Management of Hawthorn Resources Limited, in its capacity as Manager of the Trouser Legs Mining Joint Venture, confirms that a number of threatening and highly offensive signs have been placed on Crown Land immediately adjacent to its mining lease at the Trouser Leg Gold Project, approximately 140 kilometres north-east of Kalgoorlie”.

“Given this matter has been reported to and is now before the Western Australian Police Force the Company has no further comment”.