Far-right Australian senator Fraser Anning censured over Islamophobic Christchurch comments

Far-right Australian senator Fraser Anning censured over Islamophobic Christchurch comments
Australian politicians from major and minor parties joined forces to censure the controversial Queensland Senator who linked the Christchurch mosque massacre to immigration.
3 min read
03 April, 2019
The far-right independent senator drew global condemnation for his anti-immigration comments [Getty]

A far-right Australian senator who said the Christchurch mosque massacre was the result of Muslim immigration into New Zealand was censured for his "ugly and divisive" comments by his parliamentary peers on Wednesday.

Fraser Anning, who drew international condemnation for linking the March 15 killing of 50 people in two mosques last month to immigration, has refused to apologise for his Islamophobic views.

Politicians from major and minor parties joined forces to censure the controversial Queensland Senator in a voice vote in the upper house Senate.

"Senator Anning's comments were ugly and divisive. They were dangerous and unacceptable from anyone, let alone a member of this place," leader of the conservative Liberal-National government in the Senate, Mathias Cormann, told the body.

Leader of the opposition in the Senate, Labor's Penny Wong, added that the censure was moved to "take a clear stand against hatred and extremist ideology".

"We must repudiate those who seek to spread intolerance and hate and in doing so undermine our democratic values," Wong said. 

"There is a difference between freedom of speech and hate speech. The former is a feature of our democracy; the latter is an attack on our democracy."

Anning was elected in 2017 by a fluke of Australia's proportional voting system, having received only 19 first preference votes.

The independent senator has courted controversy for his views, and once called for a "final solution" to Australian immigration.

He is unlikely to be re-elected when Australians go to the polls next month.

New Zealand reacts

Soon after Anning's comments surfaced, the senator was met with uproar and was egged by a young Australian during a press conference, prompting the senator to hit him in the face repeatedly before being stopped by what appeared to be a security guard.

Will Connolly, who became known around the world as "Egg Boy", conceded that egging the far-right senator was not the right thing to do, but said the gesture united a world reeling from a white-supremacist's massacre of 50 Muslims in New Zealand.

Connolly said he was embarrassed that the international attention he attracted with the egging distracted attention from the victims of Christchurch in the aftermath of the massacre.

Meanwhile, New Zealand vowed to use the country's most powerful judicial probe to investigate the massacre that was carried out by a 28-year-old self-avowed white supremacist.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, accused of the attack, shocked the world when he entered two mosques in Christchurch and gunned down 50 worshippers taking part in the weekly Friday prayer, livesteaming the attack on Facebook.

New Zealand's government on Monday introduced a bill it plans to rush into law that would ban the types of weapons a right-wing gun man used to kill 50 people at two mosques.

Police Minister Stuart Nash said that if lawmakers pass the bill as expected, the new law will take effect 12 April, less than a month after the 15 March attacks.

Plans for law changes were first announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the days after the attacks, when the government imposed an immediate ban on the sales of such weapons.

The bill has bipartisan support and could even pass with a unanimous vote of all 120 lawmakers.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab