Australia

Greens senator names and shames trolls after Melbourne Cup protest

Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi. Source: Twitter: @MehreenFaruqi

The Greens Senator was the target of vile and racist abuse after she spoke out against Australia's gambling culture.

New South Wales Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi has named and shamed social media users who targeted her with racist and sexist abuse after a tweet protesting the Melbourne Cup. 

Trolls called her a maggot and told her to "p**s off back to where she came from" in a stream of abuse following the "Say nup to the cup" tweet. 

Senator Faruqi, the first female Muslim elected to the federal upper house, fervently campaigned against the "cruel" nature of horse racing on Tuesday and echoed PETA's sentiment, "You bet, they die", before the Melbourne Cup.

"Horse racing is an anachronism that is becoming less and less relevant by the day. Despite the gambling industry propaganda, millions of Australians today will be saying 'nup to the cup' and I am one of them," she said in a statement on Tuesday.

Her protest prompted some social media users to bombard the senator with vile abuse.

She responded by posting a screenshot of some of the vitriol thrown her way.

Tweets targeting Senator Faruqi.
Tweets targeting Senator Faruqi.
Twitter: @MehreenFaruqi

Abuse not uncommon

She told SBS News that regardless of the issue she raises as an Australian politician, she is attacked for her skin colour, belief or background.

"This is something that I raised in my first speech to the Senate and unfortunately isn't a new phenomenon. As a woman, a Muslim and a person of colour, I cop the triple whammy of abuse," she told SBS News.

"On almost any issue I speak out on, whether it be animal cruelty, women's rights or the importance of public education, I get attacked not on policy but for simply being who I am.

"They think I have no place in Australia or in politics. These voices have definitely been legitimised and amplified by the open racism of the far right in federal politics and dog whistling by other politicians."

Senator Faruqi thanked those who countered the vile comments with messages of support and said the reason she joined the Greens was because "we are unafraid to say what is right, even when that attracts hateful attacks."

In the lead up to this year's Melbourne Cup, the hashtag 'Nup to the cup' was trending online as many Australians chose to boycott the race.

PETA spokesperson Emily Rice told SBS News that more and more Australians, including workplaces, are foregoing the event because of the deaths and injuries to thoroughbred horses that have marred recent Melbourne Cups.

Irish galloper The Cliffsofmoher pulled up during the race and was put down after suffering a serious injury during the race.

The 5-year-old horse is the fourth in six years to have died on Cup day. 

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