Sikh Port Augusta council nominee racially targeted in truck driver’s social media video


Updated

October 23, 2018 14:21:44

A Port Augusta City Council nominee says a social media video targeting his race is the first time he has experienced racism in the local community.

Sunny Singh, the owner of a taxi company and founder of the city’s Sikh church, was the subject of a video posted to a national trucking Facebook page.

The video shows a man in a truck directing racial slurs at a life-sized cut-out made from one of Mr Singh’s election placards, which is eventually run over by the truck.

Mr Singh said he could not watch the whole video.

“None of the people who know me or have met me in the past, they could not watch the whole video,” he said.

“I was a little upset and shocked because I’d never even seen this man before, never met him, I don’t know why he did it.”

Mr Singh said he had never felt racially targeted in Port Augusta before.

“I was amazed how welcoming the people of Port Augusta were when I came here.

“This is the first time this has happened here.”

He said the Port Augusta community had rallied behind him.

“This morning I saw Facebook and I saw hundreds of messages and comments supporting me,” Mr Singh said.

South Australian Attorney-General Vicki Chapman has described the footage as “disturbing” and “on the face of it, racist conduct”.

“I understand the police are immediately investigating this matter, but certainly at first blush this is most disturbing conduct. But we’ll await the police report,” she said.

“We are a state that has a very proud history of democracy. Our government is completely behind maintaining that and the right for people to stand for public office.

“I just want to say to other candidates in the local government elections, thank you for standing.”

Mayor ‘outraged’ by video

Port Augusta mayor Sam Johnson said he was shocked by the violence and racism in the video.

“Appalled, absolutely appalled, gutted, outrageous — in today’s society, what would possess anyone to do that? Clearly a lot of effort was put into that,” Mr Johnson said.

“How can that be entertaining when you’re personally attacking an individual or a race?”

Mr Johnson said the Indian community and the Sikh church contributed greatly to the Port Augusta community and economy.

“The experiences I’ve had with our Indian community and multicultural community, they are very giving and community-minded,” he said.

“I’d actually challenge the person who found this entertaining and put it out there to put out a list of all the contributions they’ve made, all the people they’ve helped, all the things they’ve done for the community.”

The Member for Stuart, which includes Port Augusta, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, also condemned the “racist tirade”.

“Mr Sunny Singh is a well-known, liked and respected member of the Port Augusta community and does not deserve this treatment or offensive racist stereotyping,” he said in a statement.

“I know Sunny, and he and his family are friendly, hard-working and significant contributors to our community.

“Sunny Singh is a shining example of exactly the type of migrant we want to welcome into our community, and not offend in this way.

“The offending post should be removed immediately.”

Business associate ‘does not support views’

The trucking company pictured in the video, Moroney Trucking, is a service provider for Mogas.

Mogas’s general manager for fuels, Rick Conti, said Moroney Trucking was one of six contractors used in Port Augusta.

“Moroney Transport is a service provider to Mogas — they are not an employee of the company,” he said.

“As for Moroney’s post on social media, we do not support his views and completely refute this type of behaviour.”

Mr Johnson said the video also raised safety concerns.

“Here we have someone driving a road train, clearly carrying dangerous goods, using a mobile while driving,” he said.

South Australian police are aware of the video and are investigating.

Topics:

race-relations,

other-religions,

local-government,

transport,

internet-culture,

social-media,

port-augusta-5700,

port-augusta-north-5700,

port-augusta-west-5700,

stirling-north-5710,

port-pirie-5540

First posted

October 23, 2018 12:57:39



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