Jim Penman denies sending racist letter to senator Lidia Thorpe

Jim’s Mowing boss denies sending a racist and sexist letter telling an Aboriginal senator to ‘get off your fat black ass’ – calling it a ‘crude forgery’ by a ‘greenie’ angry at his campaign against Melbourne’s lockdown

  • Jim Penman has denied writing racist and sexist letter to Senator Lidia Thorpe
  • She read out vile letter telling her to get off her ‘fat black ass’ in parliament
  • Jim’s Mowing boss claims letter forged by a ‘greenie’ and has contacted police
  • Federal Greens Senator confirmed Mr Penman has since been in contact

Jim’s Mowing boss Jim Penman has denied he sent a racist and sexist letter telling an indigenous federal senator to get off her ‘fat black ass’ and lose weight.

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe read out in parliament the vile contents of the disturbing letter claiming it was from Mr Penman.

However, he claims it was forged by ‘a tree hugging greenie’ angry at his campaign against Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ lockdown of Melbourne. 

‘Why don’t you get off your fat black ass and instead of wasting time marching around private property on ‘Djab Wurrung country’ to stop tree felling, actually do some work with your taxpayer funded job?’ the letter starts. 

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured) was sent a vile letter racist and sexist letter telling the proud indigenous politician to get off her 'fat black ass' and lose weight

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured) was sent a vile letter racist and sexist letter telling the proud indigenous politician to get off her ‘fat black ass’ and lose weight

‘You’re corrupt and useless as the lot of them put together.

‘The Victorian government have endured enormous hardship over the last few months, thanks to the actions of the Premier, who has scant regard for the economic and health impacts his lockdown has caused.

‘Wasting your time walking around private property only sticks in the face of those who have endured so much. Taxpayers money was not meant for fat-a***d women to go giving food to tree hugging hippies!

‘Devote your time to going to the gym to exhaust your hormonal frustration and lose some weight.’

The letter on what appeared to be a Jim’s Mowing letterhead also spelled Senator Thorpe’s first name wrong.

Senator Thorpe used parliamentary privilege to attack Mr Penman in the floor on the upper house on Tuesday.

‘I’ve been in this job, in public office, for only a matter of weeks and the misogyny, sexism and racism is already coming in thick and fast. People need to be called out,’ she said.

But Mr Penman quickly disavowed the letter as a ‘crude forgery’ using a template from the open letter he sent Mr Andrews last month.

He also claimed he had no idea who Lidia Thorpe was before Tuesday night and had never communicated with her.

‘The signature is an electronic version, which anyone can put together by typing my name into the appropriate software,’ Mr Penman told Daily Mail Australia.

Senator Thorpe read out in parliament the contents of the disturbing letter claiming it was from Jim Penman (pictured), but he has denounced it as a forgery

Senator Thorpe read out in parliament the contents of the disturbing letter claiming it was from Jim Penman (pictured), but he has denounced it as a forgery

The letter uses what Mr Penman says in an incorrect letterhead, and a digital signature that could be faked by anyone

The letter uses what Mr Penman says in an incorrect letterhead, and a digital signature that could be faked by anyone

‘Not my signature, not my letterhead, and apart from the third paragraph, not my sentiments either. It is vile, sexist, racist and abusive.

‘The letter was a clear attempt to smear me as a response to my challenge to the Premier over the lockdown.’

Mr Penman said he wrote to Senator Thorpe on Wednesday morning expressing his sincere sympathies and regrets that vile comments were made against her.

Jim’s Mowing campaign against Melbourne lockdown

August 2: Melbourne is plunged into stage four lockdown by Dan Andrews.

August 4: Jim’s Mowing boss Jim Penman slams Premier Andrews over lockdowns affecting his franchisees

August 22: Writes scathing letter to Premier Andrews 

September 8:  Writes another letter urging the Premier to revise the state’s recovery plan

September 14:  Describes Victorian government’s $3billion small business package as a sick joke

October 6: Jim’s Mowing staff launch $20million class action against Victorian government

November 10: Federal Greens Senator tells Parliament about a racist and sexist letter allegedly from Mr Penman

November 11: Mr Penman denies he wrote the letter, claiming his signature was forged

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‘I find it especially offensive that comments about a woman’s political appearance be used as a weapon against her, in a way no man would be attacked,’ he said.

‘This is all the more appalling in that the writer is clearly on the left politically, so that making such racist and sexist comments amounts to extreme hypocrisy.   

‘I have written several books, had a book written about me, and recorded many hours of interviews. I challenge anyone to point to one statement I have ever made that made derogatory comments about Aboriginals or about a woman for her looks.’

Mr Penman also congratulated on her achievement in recently becoming Victoria’s first Aboriginal senator. 

‘This is a major step forward for the Australian people and long overdue. If she is interested I would be very happy to convey my best wishes in person,’ he said.

After speaking with Mr Penman on Wednesday, Senator Thorpe walked back her comments but stop short of apologising.

‘I have been in touch with Mr Penman himself and his staff today,’ Senator Thorpe told Daily Mail Australia.

‘It’s despicable that someone would hide behind someone else’s identity in order to express their racist, misogynistic and sexist views. It is now a matter for the police to investigate.’

Mr Penman described the author of the fake letter as malevolent and incompetent. 

‘The least amount of research would show that I am strongly committed to environmental clauses, involved in mass tree planting and measures to reduce carbon emissions in Jim’s Group,’ he said.

‘The writer knows virtually nothing about me but is clearly well versed in Aboriginal affairs.’

Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured) spoke about the letter in Parliament on Tuesday night

Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured) spoke about the letter in Parliament on Tuesday night

Jim Penman (pictured) says he's contacted the Federal Police about the forged letter

Jim Penman (pictured) says he’s contacted the Federal Police about the forged letter

He vowed to get the Federal Police to investigate and hoped all efforts would be made to track the author down. 

‘We have also written to the Clerk of the Senate to ask how such a matter could be aired without the least amount of checking,’ Mr Penman added. 

Mr Penman has been an outspoken critic of Mr Andrews when five million Melburnians recently endured three months of strict lockdown.

The city was plunged into Stage Four lockdown on August 2 in the wake of the state’s second wave of coronavirus which claimed more than 800 lives in Victoria. 

Mr Penman wrote a series of open letters slamming Mr Andrews before a series of lockdown restrictions were recently eased.

He announced in October a $20million class action had been launched on behalf of Jim’s Mowing franchisees against the Victorian government.

Mr Penman claims the author forged his signature from his latest letter sent to Victorian Daniel Andrews (pictured)

Mr Penman claims the author forged his signature from his latest letter sent to Victorian Daniel Andrews (pictured)

‘He is the worst political figure Australia has had in my lifetime,’ Mr Penman told Daily Mail Australia in August.

‘No other leader has done as much damage he has caused by plunging a knife into the heart of the state.’ 

‘The longer he remains in office, the more dangerous and toxic he becomes.’

‘What I find incomprehensible is why his own party is putting up with this man and the dreadful mistakes he’s made.’ 

Senator Thorpe previously served in Victorian Parliament and was chosen in June to replace former Greens leader Richard Di Natale in the federal Senate 

She was sworn into the Senate last month.

Mr Penman claimed he'd never heard of newly-sworn in Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured)

Mr Penman claimed he’d never heard of newly-sworn in Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured)

Jim’s Mowing workers join class action against Daniel Andrews’ government for forcing them to down tools during lockdown

About 700 Jim’s Mowing businesses who were forced to stop working under Melbourne’s Stage Four coronavirus lockdown are set to join a class action lawsuit against the Victorian government.

The lawsuit is likely to be the biggest in Australian history, with one legal expert saying it would ‘dwarf’ any previous class action.

The managing partner of the law firm handling the case, Tony Carbone from Carbone Lawyers, said his clients would be seeking $20million in compensation.

‘The bottom line is these gardeners should have been working, how is it possible that a gardener working on their own outside can infect anyone,’ Mr Carbone said.

He argues the Daniel Andrews government’s decision making on who could and could not work during the lockdowns was ‘arbitrary’ and left thousands of people struggling financially.

Under the city’s strict Stage Four COVID-19 lockdown a raft of ‘non-essential’ businesses were told to stop work including gardening and lawn-maintenance workers under a decision by the Andrews government.

According to Jim’s Mowing founder, Jim Penman, 700 of the company’s franchisees and self-employed tradespeople had lost about $3,000 in income a week since the restrictions began 10 weeks ago.

He also claimed the Premier’s decision was arbitrary and has previously asked for proof gardeners working alone outside had been linked to any cases of coronavirus.

‘The Premier’s arbitrary action in ignoring the advice of the Department of Health and Human Services and barring sole operators from working, brought needless loss and misery upon many,’ Mr Penman said.

Mr Penman also claimed that council gardeners continued working in groups throughout the lockdown highlighting a double standard imposed by the government.

‘Council workers are doing the same job, and in groups, yet my company and contractors are being prevented from earning a living – there is absolutely a legitimate claim for compensation here.’ Mr Penman previously said.

‘I’m not happy taxpayers will have to pay once we proceed legally, but my workers are being denied a chance to work, earn a living, pay taxes and contribute to the economy.’

Mr Penman and Carbone lawyers have agreed to a ‘no-win-no-fee’ contract with the law firm getting a 10 per cent fee of any payout.

‘Yes I’ve lost a bit of money during this but I’m not interested in getting that money back, I just want every one of my franchisees to get every cent back because they’re the ones who are doing it tough and going through a lot of financial pressure,’ Mr Penman said. 

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