Citing ‘White Australian standards against the Indian standards of cleanliness, an agent from the Mavin Real Estate Agent in Perth Bronwyn Joan Pollitt sent an extremely racist email to her former tenants – Sandeep Kumar Sharma and Ritu Devi Sharma.
Describing India as ‘filth’ where bodies are on the street, half burnt bodies are in the river and people climb over each other for medical help, Ms Pollitt hoped Australia would not be turned into India, citing massive influx of Indians.
Ms Pollitt was suspended for eight months last week.
The Sharmas were her tenants for most of 2020 (from 2 January to 2 December).
They vacated the property on 2 December 2020 and want to have their bond paid to rent the property now released back to them.
Ms Bronwyn, as the agent manager of the property – was to ensure the property was returned to the owners – in the same or similar clean condition it was in when the Sharmas moved in.
What followed was a serious disagreement between Sharmas on one side and the Owners and Ms Bronwyn on the other in relation to the cleanliness when the property was vacated.
After almost six months of toing and froing, on May 22, 2021, Ms Bronwyn sent the Sharmas an email as below:
|“Dear Sandeep and Ritu,
After my discussion with Ritu about cleaning I have given thought to the cultural differences and attitudes to cleaning coming through from my Indian tenants.
I and my English family have been in Australia for generations going back to the first settlement. Our living standards, our quality of life and expectations are very different to the overcrowded, overpopulated, dirty squaller 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. There is no comparison, there cannot be any discussion as you are not used to our cultural way of living.
I as a white Australian believe you and the others that come to Australia as you want to enjoy the lovely way of life we enjoy, clean, fresh air, jobs or if you cannot get a job social support, medical help and no overpopulation.
Hopefully the massive influx of Indian people will not turn our beautiful country into the filth that is India where bodies are on the street, half burnt bodies are in the river and people climb over each other for medical help.
While living in absolute slums. It all starts with cleaning the rental properties though and being mindful of what you have left and knowing the same thing as India will become Perth if you make no attitude changes.
A general vacate clean is usually about $1000.00 and a white Australian has an expectation that they will move into a clean Australian standards clean not an Indian standard clean. Different if we moved to India then
We would have to put up with the Indian standard.
You have a right to you culture as fo we and the cleaning of properties cannot be lowered to suit another culture. I have many diverse cultures renting and they all are expected to leave the properties fully clean.
In the email Ms Bronwyn Pollitt has shown to be a TV and social media educated person, completely bereft of any real knowledge about India.
Any Indian Australian will be extremely angry about this email and rightly so.
On June 9, 2021, Bronwyn, realizing the gravity of her email, sent an email apologizing to the Sharmas.
“Firstly, I apologise if you believe I have been racist against you. That was never my intent,” she wrote.
And quite foolishly, trying to resolve the situation, she again highlighted how little she knew or understood India and Indian culture and repeated her view of what cleanliness meant for Indians.
“Each and every attempt to resolve the issues has been an argument until I realised that due to differing views which I tried to explain in my last email and are not racist, and never intended to be racist but just the result of differences in culture and different life experiences by each party meaning that the situation is seen through differing lenses,” she said in part in her apology email.
Taking offence to the contents of the email, the Sharmas brought the matter to the attention of the Commissioner for Consumer Protection Western Australia, who under section Section 102(1)(a) of the Real Estate and Business Agents Act 1978, took the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal in Perth.
The Tribunal was satisfied that proper cause existed for disciplinary action against the Licensee, Bronwyn Pollitt.
Suspending Bronwyn Pollitt’s licence for eight months from September 1, Senior member Dr Rebecca Wilson ordered as below:
The Tribunal orders:
1. Pursuant to section 103(1)(a) of the Act, the Respondent is reprimanded.
2. Pursuant to section 103(1)(c) of the Act, the Respondent’s real estate and business agent’s licence and triennial certificate is suspended from 1 September 2023 for the period of 8 months.
3. By 1 May 2024, the Respondent has agreed that she will undertake at least 3 training courses, to be approved by the Applicant.
4. By 1 May 2024, the Respondent has agreed that she will attend mentoring with a mentor nominated by the Respondent and approved by the Applicant, at least once per week for a period of 3 months. Each mentoring session will include at least 15 minutes of contact (either in person or virtual) between the Respondent and the mentor.
Real Estate Agent Bronwyn Pollitt was fortunate not to have copped a fine of $10,000 which is also one of the options provided under the legislation.
The applicant in this case was the Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Western Australia.
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