A woman who is allegedly an employee of Victoria's Department of Justice has been filmed hurling racist abuse at a woman of Asian origin on a Melbourne train.
The 53-year-old chemical engineer, who does not want her identity revealed, boarded a busy Pakenham-line train with her 20-year-old daughter around 6.45pm Tuesday from Melbourne Central station.
She told ninemsn that after sitting down in one of few available seats she noticed a free seat opposite her between a female passenger and her young son, which was covered with books and bags.
The Philippines national said she asked the passenger to free up the seat for her daughter but the seemingly innocuous request instead sparked an outburst of racial abuse.
Mobile phone footage of the incident shows the Caucasian passenger deriding the woman and telling her, "you have no life, no life whatsoever."
"My son doesn't want to sit near someone of your race and that's totally his opinion," the woman can be heard saying.
"And neither do I."
"And I'm not racist — I hate everyone equally."
Human Resources manager and fellow passenger Louise Daglish, 34, witnessed the verbal attack and said it started after she asked the woman to move.
"Two other people asked if they could sit there and she said no," Ms Daglish said.
"I told her the bags should be moved and she was inconsiderate. She told me to mind my own business and then started attacking her."
"She said she wished they had dropped a bigger bomb on Hiroshima and my son should not have to sit next to a chink."
When the woman noticed that she was being filmed by her victim the confrontation became physical as she attempted to prise the phone from the chemical engineer's hands.
"She tried to take the phone off her and wrestled with her," Ms Daglish said.
"She threatened to smash her phone and smash her. "
Ms Daglish said at that point a male passenger put a hand on her shoulder and made her sit back down.
She said other passengers told the belligerent woman that she had said enough and to stop but the abuse continued for about 20 minutes, even after the Filipino woman had got off the train.
Ms Daglish said she was so disgusted she gave the abused woman her phone number and offered to act as her witness.
The Filipino woman praised the actions of fellow commuters.
"Almost everybody around me defended me," she said.
Ms Daglish added that during her rant the abusive woman identified herself as an employee of Victoria's Department of Justice.
"She had a Department of Justice lanyard around her neck," she said.
"She waved it around and said she knew her rights."
A spokesman for the Department of Justice told ninemsn they could not confirm if the woman was an employee but said "racist behaviour is not tolerated and no employee should act in a way that brings the department into disrepute."
Ms Daglish said she had never seen such behaviour on the train before and said the incident was "really upsetting to watch".
"It was particularly shocking that it was in peak hour," she said.
"It was not a drunken football crowd, it was normal commuters and woman with a child of all things. "
"I'm proud that people did what they did, I'm horrified it happened in the first place, that someone thought it was okay to say."
Sources: Louise Daglish, Department of Justice
Authors: Sylvia Varnham O'Regan and Martin Zavan, Approving editor: Nick Pearson