Thursday, April 2, 2020
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    Senator Susan McDonald Takes Aim at ‘Online Troll Squads’

    Senator for Queensland, Susan McDonald, has expressed shock and disgust at reports people with coronavirus in regional towns are being harassed, ostracised and bullied.
    A counsellor from the Rural and Remote Mental Health Service has already been in touch with one person in southern Queensland who recently tested positive and was then subjected to harassment.
    There were also reports of another virus sufferer having their personal details published on social media – or being “doxxed”.
    Senator McDonald was diagnosed with the virus on March 16 but has since been given a clean bill of health by doctors.
    After her positive diagnosis, Senator McDonald herself was subjected to suspicion and having her recent social interactions scrutinised publicly, but accepted that as part of her job.
    However, she said private citizens should not have to undergo the added stress of online witchhunts in the event of contracting the virus.
    “Let me be crystal clear – people are being bullied and those doing it should be utterly ashamed of themselves,” said Senator McDonald.
    “It’s un-Australian and it’s not on. Coronavirus is something that will touch us all and communities that stick together and support sufferers will be more successful.
    “Many people are under stress and many are scared, and when you receive that diagnosis, the last thing you need is the added anxiety of being harassed.
    “I have been in touch with the Rural and Remote Mental Health Service and they stand ready to help people with counselling should they need it for any reason.
    “If you are feeling anxious or you are being bullied, call them or Lifeline, the Salvation Army, Red Cross or Beyond Blue.
    “After fires, droughts and floods, I know Australians are capable of providing great support to people doing it tough, so I urge everyone to show some sensitivity and pull together, not create online troll squads.”
    Senator McDonald advised people to keep abreast of the Federal Government’s coronavirus actions at www.australia.gov.au and to contact Queensland Health if they developed flu-like symptoms.

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