Australian police have charged a woman for racially abusing passengers on a train after a video recording her tirade was posted online and went viral, sparking a social media backlash.
The 55-year-old, named by Australian media as Karen Bailey, was arrested late Thursday after allegedly launching an expletive-filled rant at young children and an Asian woman during a Sydney train journey.
New South Wales police said she was charged with offensive language and will appear in court later this month.
Bailey started to scream at two children aged seven and 10 after she boarded the train, telling their mother to “getting your fucking bogan children off the seat”, the mother, Jade Marr, told the Newcastle Herald.
“It was unbelievable to think somebody would say those things and act like that,” Marr said.
The Australian slang term “bogan” roughly translates as “trashy”.
Bailey then turned her attention to other passengers as they filmed her outburst, telling a man beside an Asian woman that “he can’t even get a regular girlfriend, he’s got to get a gook”.
The term gook is a disparaging term to describe Asians. Bailey also mocked the Asian woman’s accent and pulled back her eyes to ridicule her features.
The video, which was posted on YouTube by a passenger on Wednesday, had been viewed more than 250,000 times by Friday morning and attracted almost 1,000 comments.
Most of the comments criticised Bailey for her outburst, although several were supportive of her remarks.
Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said on Twitter that “there is no excuse for acts of racial insult, humiliation and intimidation”.
“When confronted with such conduct, everyone should consider a response, including reporting it to a relevant authority,” he wrote.
Bailey told media group Ninemsn she was having a “really, really rotten day” and “it’s awful what I said to that woman, I do agree”.
“There’s no excuse to rant at people like that,” she said. “It’s awful and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, regardless of any race.”
Bailey initially gave her name as Sue Wilkins to passengers and some media outlets once the video of her rant went viral.
The incident came two years after a French-speaking woman singing on a Melbourne bus was told by a man to “speak English or die” in another video posted on the Internet that went viral.
Two Chinese students were burned, beaten and racially abused on a Sydney train in the same year, sparking an uproar on China’s social media sites.
CANBERRA: Glenn Stevens’ renewed jawboning of the Aussie pushed it toward the biggest two-day drop since January as the central bank governor said investors were underestimating chances of a significant fall in the currency.
“Most measurements would say it is overvalued, and not just by a few cents,” Stevens said in the text of a speech delivered in Hobart.
“We think that investors are underestimating the likelihood of a significant fall in the Australian dollar at some point.”
The Aussie – which has traded as high as about US$1.11 and as low as 77 US cents in the past five years – fell 0.8% on Wednesday, continuing a retreat from an almost eight-month high.
The elevated currency has impeded efforts to stimulate non-mining areas of the economy with record-low interest rates.
“The speech represents the start of a new journey down the road of jawboning,” Stephen Walters, JPMorgan Chase & Co’s chief economist in Australia, wrote in a note. “The gap between AUD and commodity prices remains unusually wide, so the new adventures of jawboning likely will continue.”
Walters said he expects the RBA will hold the benchmark cash rate steady at 2.5 % for at least another year, “but remain of the view that a rate cut in the near term remains more likely than a hike.”
The Reserve Bank of Australia kept its benchmark steady for an 11th month on July 1 and flagged a period of steady borrowing costs.
“Investors in their search for yield and in the very low volatility world that we presently live in where people think that the risk of anything going wrong seems to have completely gone away, I think that’s over optimistic,” Stevens said in response to a question on the currency yesterday.
“And I think part of those are underestimation of the likelihood of the Aussie going down at some point, and possibly quite materially.”
The Australian dollar had gained almost 8% since the RBA moved to a neutral bias in February this year.
It traded at 93.68 US cents at 4:48 pm in Sydney, from 94.30 cents before Stevens’ speech was released.
The comments onthe Aussie are “clear jawboning,” said Sue Trinh, a senior currency strategist at Royal Bank of Canada in Hong Kong. “His comments were taken as noticeably more dovish than what the market was geared up for.”
Stevens said language in recent statements about stability of interest rates was intended to clarify that the central bank did not think a higher benchmark was imminent.
“Overall, I judge that language to have served its intended purpose,” he said.
“Present market pricing suggests that market participants expect interest rates to remain low for some time yet.”
Changes in language should be expected to continue over time as more information becomes available, he said.
Long before any rate increase is considered the board would probably “revert to the more normal formulation that the stable policy settings ‘remained appropriate’ or something like that,” he said.