NT police minister says historic racist and antisemitic social media posts were ‘satirical’ and don’t define his views | Northern Territory

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The Northern Territory police minister has claimed that racist and antisemitic posts he shared on social media were “satirical”, as allegations of systemic racism continue to rock the territory’s police force.

Now-deleted posts from Brent Potter’s Facebook account were revealed on Wednesday, with one 2013 post quoting a Nazi saying “in the absence of orders, go find something and kill it”.

Another post from 2015 uses a racial slur, while a 2016 post is a reshared video, with text saying a rightwing commentator “DESTROYS ‘Black Lives Matter’ WITH SIMPLE LOGIC”.

Potter captioned the video, “Worth a watch”.

In a statement, the police minister and former veteran said he did not ever agree with the shared posts and they were a way to connect with other military members.

“Like most people, in my past, I have posted or shared controversial content on Facebook but that does not mean I ever agreed with all the views expressed in them,” he said.

“These reposts on Facebook were between eight and 10 years ago when I was in my 20s and do not define my views on any subject.

“As a defence veteran … I used social media as a way to connect … that included sharing military-themed cynical and satirical humour that would not be understood by those who haven’t served.”

The minister said he has done things on social media he regrets and would never do again with the benefit of hindsight.

The chief minister, Eva Lawler, stood by Potter, saying the posts “do not reflect the Brent Potter of today”.

“Many young people who have grown up in the social media era have posted or reposted things they regret,” she said.

“I have said it before – there is no room for racism in the territory.”

The revelations are the latest in a series of scandals surrounding the NT police, after explosive evidence in an Alice Springs inquest where it was alleged the police elite specialist unit handed out an annual racist award.

The NT police is now conducting an internal investigation with the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption after former constable Zachary Rolfe produced certificates aiming to prove the existence of the award.

Senior officers have denied claims of the award’s racism, but have agreed an award was handed out for “an outstanding lack of excellence in the area of personal hygiene or feral behaviour”.

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Recipients were given a wooden club embedded with nails, which was allegedly seized from a remote Indigenous community during a period of unrest.

The commissioner, Michael Murphy, said the award has been discontinued.

“Our own Indigenous employees are hurting and are horrified and disgraced by what they’ve heard,” he said on Wednesday.

“I can’t begin to understand how they feel, but I have to do everything I can with my team to make sure they feel supported.”

Murphy admitted the award was racist, whether the certificates were verified or not, but said the NT police does not have a systemic racism problem.

Murphy said there were “racist policy settings” that created unfair barriers for Indigenous staff to be recruited into the police.

“Why do we expect someone whose third language is English to write a written examination?” he said.

Murphy said he would be meeting with ministers this week to work on Indigenous recruitment strategies within the force.

He said he was aiming to have a 30% Aboriginal workforce.

“That’s going to take a number of years to achieve, but I really want a turbo, high-tempo and aggressive approach to it to make sure we make a difference pretty quickly.”