Defying the vast majority of Australian parliamentarians, journalists and commentators Katter Australia Party leader Bob Katter backed the controversial immigration speech of KAP Senator Fraser Anning, describing it as “absolutely magnificent”.
Senator Anning caused uproar, tears and near nervous breakdowns amongst MPs and the press gallery with his maiden speech Tuesday night. Anning used his first speech to the Senate to call for a ban on Muslim immigration, a drastic reduction in Australia’s migrant intake and a return to the discriminatory immigration system of the White Australia Policy, dismantled by the Liberal and Labor Parties in the 1960s and ’70s.
Mr Katter, a colourful personality who has represented his far north Queensland seat of Kennedy since 1993 said the inflammatory speech was “solid gold” and Senator Anning’s ideas were “everything this country should be doing”.
Mr Katter went on to say he backed Senator Anning’s immigration plans “1000%” and hinted that his party had already received a huge groundswell of support after the comments.
“I love it. Our phones are on fire. Ninety per cent of Australia have been waiting for someone to say it and believe it,” Mr Katter said to a press conference in the northern QLD city of Cairns yesterday.
In regards to the fierce attacks his Senator has received Katter declared: “I’m sick of you lilypad lefties coming at us on some absolutely ridiculous technicality that has nothing to do with the issues.”
He went on to say that Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg – who is Jewish – “should be ashamed of himself” for being part of a government that allowed Muslim immigration.
Fraser Anning came originally to parliament as a replacement for One Nation party Senator Malcolm Roberts after he was forced to step down due to citizenship issues. Anning almost immediately jumped ship to the Katter party compounding One Nation’s already notorious retention issues with its representatives.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has received intense criticism from her base after denouncing Senator Anning’s maiden speech and stating that she was “appalled” by Senator Anning’s remarks.
Many commenters on social media pointed out that her reaction was not that different to the reaction of the political establishment to her own maiden speech 22 years ago.
Senator Hanson has since flip flopped on her denunciation, stating on Sky News Wednesday night that she agreed with almost all of the controversial speech, but simply disliked the manner in which it was said.
ABC political correspondent Louise Yaxley as well as other commentators have speculated that Katter’s strident support for his Senator is a calculated move to attempt to win the Queensland right wing vote away from One Nation.
Senator Anning was yesterday denounced by every major news organisation as well as every party other than his own and was the subject of emotional speeches attacking him, his views and anyone who thinks like him by all sides of parliament including long diatribes by the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader.
Only time will tell if such efforts have the results their architects intended.