Australia

Kerryn Phelps frustrated by 'stalled' investigation into racist emails claiming she is ineligible

Independent MP Kerryn Phelps won the Wentworth by-election in October. Source: AAP

Racist emails falsely claiming Independent MP Kerryn Phelps is ineligible for Parliament have been referred to the Australian Electoral Commission.

Anti-semitic and racist emails falsely claiming independent MP Kerryn Phelps has been disqualified from standing in the 18 May federal election have been referred to the Australian Federal Police. 

The email, seen by SBS News, incorrectly states that the Wentworth MP is entitled to Israeli citizenship and is excluded from running for Parliament under section 44 of the constitution.

 

"This is very urgent, the voting card has been printed already... but she is no longer eligible. Please be helping us to remove all her posters too," the email claims.  

Dr Phelps wrote to the AFP on Monday seeking an update on the existing investigation into a series of "disturbing" emails targeting her. 

"The emails equate to an incitement to hatred and we all know what the consequences of that can be," Dr Phelps writes. 

Kerryn Phelps campaigning in Wentworth
Kerryn Phelps is frustrated the investigation into "disturbing" emails appears to have stalled.
AAP

The email, sent to several businesses and residents in the Sydney electorate, urges voters to back Liberal candidate in Wentworth, Dave Sharma, because of his Indian background. 

"You should vote for other candidates belong to Indian heritage only."

The emails are not linked to Mr Sharma's campaign team and he has previously condemned similar emails. 

Dr Phelps believes the same group is behind previous emails circulated during the by-election campaign in October.  

"The style of writing is similar to the infamous HIV email circulated in the days leading up to the Wentworth by-election."  

That email falsely claimed Dr Phelps had pulled out of the race to replace Malcolm Turnbull in the seat because she had HIV. 

Dr Phelps is frustrated that the investigation "appears to have stalled" while she says the emails with false claims have become more frequent recently. 

"Pre-polling has now commenced and these emails have the potential to cause a material impact on the upcoming federal election," she wrote. 

The email also attacks candidates of Chinese and Muslim heritage. 

The Australian Federal Police confirmed it had received Dr Phelps' latest referral and it would be assessed in accordance with standard protocols. 

"As such, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage," an AFP spokesperson said. 

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