There has been a mass outrage from the media and other politicians over Katter’s Australian Party Senator Fraser Anning’s maiden speech Tuesday night where he praised the White Australia policy which was in place from federation until 1967 and called for a ban on Muslim immigration. What particularly tipped many over the edge was that Anning used the phrase ‘final solution’ when calling for a plebiscite to resolve the political issue of immigration.
The next day in the parliament politicians from both sides lined up to condemn Anning, Muslim Labor MP Ann Aly broke down in tears decrying racism, Jewish Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg and Muslim Labor MP Ed Husic hugged in the House and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten shook hands. However a Senate censure motion against Senator Anning failed as the major parties felt it would turn him into a victim.
Anning himself did not apologize for any of the speech including for any offence caused by using the phrase ‘final solution’. He was defended during a fiery press conference by his party leader Bob Katter who said he agreed with the speech “1,000 per cent” and “It was a magnificent speech, solid gold” and that Anning would not have been aware of the historical meaning of ‘final solution’. Anning did lose a staffer however over the comment Richard Mcgilvray announcing he was resigning.
But what raised people’s eyebrows the most was the condemnation of Anning from One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. Anning only became a Senator because he was third on the Queensland One Nation Senator ticket and was elected via a countback when Malcolm Roberts was found ineligible due to dual citizenship.
Anning had been in the party for 20 years since its first incarnation but left the party on his first day in the Senate after a falling out with Hanson. After sitting as an independent it was announced in June he had joined Katter’s Australian Party as their first ever Senator.
Hanson in her speech to the Senate supporting the censure motion against Anning brought on by the Greens said she was “appalled by Fraser Anning’s speech. We are a multiracial society and I’ve always advocated you do not have to be white to be Australian” and claimed his speech was ‘straight from Goebbels’ handbook’.
Hanson also claimed that the speech was not written by Anning but rather a staffer called Richard Howard who once worked for One Nation. Malcolm Roberts on Sky News today claimed that when Howard was working for him he had a fascination with the Nazis and tried to work military references into Roberts’ speeches.
A recording was also released which showed another former One Nation figure State Secretary Jim Savage played a role in the speech stating it needed to be as controversial as possible.
Hanson faced an extreme backlash from her supporters on her own social media pages for her condemnation of Anning yesterday, they accused her of betraying her base and pandering to the political establishment she is supposed to rail against.
Hanson had already upset conservatives this week with her support for the euthanasia bill in the Senate allowing the territories to legislate for its introduction. Patriot Facebook pages who have long revered Hanson created memes attacking her.
Her media appearances since then have sent out mixed message as on the one had said Anning had copied a lot of his speech from One Nation’s policies, including the proposal to have a plebiscite on immigration and said that on the whole she agreed with it. While on the other hand still condemned the speech as racist, offensive to her party members from other races and condemned the white Australia Policy denying she had ever supported it.
With Bob Katter coming out so strongly in defence of Anning it is clear that the strategy from Katter’s Australian Party is to outflank One Nation on the right and put Anning in a position to retain his Senate seat when it is up for election in the next year. This was demonstrated by this Facebook post on the party page last night.
Did Pauline’s personal falling out with Anning cloud her judgement and she made a major political misstep condemning Anning so strongly? Or was she right to condemn a speech which evoked Nazi Germany references? Have your say in our poll below.