A real estate agent in Perth has had her licence revoked after sending a racist email to a former Indian tenant, expressing concern that migrants would negatively impact Australia by turning it into what she described as “the filth that is India.”
Bronwyn Pollitt, the director of a real estate agency based in Perth, sent this email to Sandeep Kumar in May 2021 following a dispute over deductions from his security deposit for cleaning, as reported by news.com.au.
This email was presented as evidence to The State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia. During the hearing, it was revealed that Pollitt compared Australian living standards and quality of life to what she termed the “overcrowded, overpopulated, dirty squaller” of various countries, including India.
In light of these actions, the Tribunal ruled that Pollitt was not suitable to hold a real estate and business agent’s licence for a duration of eight months, starting from September 1.
The email further conveyed Pollitt’s stance, stating, “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.”
Identifying herself as a “white Australian,” Pollitt has expressed concern that a significant influx of Indian people might lead to undesirable conditions in their country, similar to those in India where she mentioned issues like bodies on the streets, partially burned bodies in rivers, and overcrowding in slums.
She further emphasised the need to start by maintaining rental properties and being more conscientious about what is left behind, to avoid Perth resembling the issues she associated with India.
Ethnic community advocate Suresh Rajan has called for a police investigation into this matter, describing it as one of the most severe instances of overt racism he has encountered in years. He asserts that it contravenes racial vilification legislation within the criminal code and carries undertones of white supremacy by implying superiority based on cleanliness standards.
In June 2021, Pollitt reportedly issued an apology to Kumar, asserting that her intentions were never racially motivated. During the tribunal hearing, it was revealed that Pollitt was experiencing significant stress at the time, primarily attributed to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, regulatory alterations, and increased rental disputes.
The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia has advocated for disciplinary measures against members who do not uphold the Code and the law in such instances, emphasising the need for accountability.
Pollitt has also committed to receiving training to handle similar situations more effectively in the future.