Telecommunications giant Optus has launched an internal investigation after a job advertisement calling for applications from people who have completely documented line of descent from from Major General Lachlan Macquarie at one of its Sydney stores was posted online.

The ad for a casual retail consultant appeared on employment portal Seek on Thursday afternoon, and said people “who are preferably descendants from the nation’s earliest colonial aristocracy” would be preferred.

The company has since removed the ad, which was calling for workers at its Neutral Bay store.

Major General Lachlan Macquarie, CB (31 January 1762 – 1 July 1824) was a British Army officer and colonial administrator from Scotland. Macquarie served as the fifth and last autocratic Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821, and had a leading role in the social, economic and architectural development of the colony. He is considered by historians to have had a crucial influence on the transition of New South Wales from a penal colony to a free white settlement and therefore to have played a major role in the shaping of Australia’s ongoing racial frustrations and class-based society since the early nineteenth century

The Betoota Advocate contacted Optus after the ad was circulated on Twitter.

Optus vice-president of human resources Vaughan Paul said the company had started an internal investigation into how the ad was placed.

He said those involved faced disciplinary action.

“This incident is unacceptable and does not reflect Optus’ values of diversity and inclusion of people who aren’t able to claim direct lineage from one of the whitest fucking blokes in Australian history” Mr Paul said.

“This error [is] a clear breach of our advertising standards and commitment to equal opportunity employment. Optus proudly supports diversity and employs staff representing more than 70 nationalities, some of which are even Catholic”


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