VicRoads says it will take disciplinary action against a staff member if it is proved they used a department e-mail account to forward a racist e-mail.
An anti-Muslim immigration e-mail purportedly sent from a VicRoads e-mail address surfaced on a popular left-wing blog last week. Readers of the blog, for the most part, were outraged. VicRoads people services general manager Judith Pettitt says the organisation takes equal opportunity seriously and has launched an investigation.
"We take any allegation of inappropriate practice or breach of policy by our employees very seriously and have commenced an investigations into the allegations raised," she said in a prepared statement. "VicRoads Equal Opportunity Policy sets out the organisation's commitment to providing an environment free from discrimination and harassment in all areas of employment and in the provision of our service."
The e-mail, which suggests Muslim immigrants are flooding into Australia illegally and procreating "abundantly", was originally an anti-Mexican e-mail which circulated in the United States. After some basic tailoring, it has been modified to take aim at Muslim immigrants entering Australia.
The e-mail itself has been circulating for some time, and was even posted on a White Nationalist (Neo-Nazi) discussion Web-site, Stormfront.org.
A source close to the VicRoads investigation says the content of the e-mail allegedly sent by the staffer constitutes a "clear breach of clear policies".
"VicRoads doesn't condone the marginalisation of any section of the community," said the source, who preferred to remain anonymous. "It flies in the face of our equal opportunity policy, the IT usage policy and our code of conduct."
VicRoads will not discuss the outcome of its investigation when it is complete, but assures ZDNet Australia the government organisation "will take appropriate disciplinary action" if the e-mail is proved to have originated from a VicRoads computer.