Barry Spurr, a poetry professor who advised the Australian government on the national school curriculum, referred to aboriginal Australians by the derogatory term “abo” and called Muslims “mussies” or “muzzies” in the emails traced to his University of Sydney account, the New Matilda website reported.
He also referred to Prime Minister Tony Abbott as an “Abo-lover,” Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela as a “darky” and aborigines as “human rubbish tips.”
The emails contained demeaning references to women, including jokes about sexual assault, and referred to Chinese people as “Chinky poos.”
Defending the emails, Spurr claimed they were part of a “whimsical linguistic game.”
The university immediately launched an investigation and suspended Spurr, who subsequently took the publisher and editor of New Matilda, Chris Graham, to federal court, demanding the emails be returned.
He also sought to have the stories removed from the website and insisted that the identity of the source who leaked the emails be revealed.
Last week the two parties reached a confidential settlement.
In an online opinion piece published Thursday, Graham claimed New Matilda was motivated to publish the emails by Spurr’s role as a consultant to the government’s curriculum review.
He wrote that despite the release of the emails and the revelation of the nature of their content, Federal Minister for Education Christopher Pyne “remains happy with the final report into the review of the national school curriculum.”
One of Spurr’s key recommendations to the review was that Western literature should be the focus of English teaching and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature should play a minor role, claiming their contribution to literature was “minimal.”