A government MP has launched a blistering attack on Coalition colleagues for “cuddling” up to One Nation, singling out outspoken MP George Christensen for criticism.
Russell Broadbent used a late-night speech to Parliament to call out the Nationals MP and Pauline Hanson’s party, saying Australia must rise above the politics of fear and rhetoric that encouraged division.
Mr Broadbent criticised Senator Hanson’s maiden speech labelling as “bogus” the claim that Australia was in danger of being swamped by Muslims.
That only led to Labor exploiting “the unfortunately different views that exist on my side of politics”, the Liberal said.
He noted that other parties such as the Nick Xenophon Team received a much bigger share of the vote at the recent election than One Nation.
“Why then are some on my side prone to cuddly up to Hansonite rhetoric,” Mr Broadbent told parliament on Monday.
“Those propositions will only hurt the coalition in the long run.”
Mr Broadbent said he was “appalled” by a recent speech from Mr Christensen which “appealed to fear and prejudice”.
“My spirit of good humour evaporated when I listened to the member for Dawson deliver what amounted to a diatribe about the rise of Islam in this country.”
The McMillan MP regretted controlling his tongue at the time, saying he wasn’t proud of not speaking out earlier.
But he explained that he didn’t do so sooner because those attacks were not personal to him.
“I didn’t act as I should have because I’m not Muslim, Chinese, Afghan or Greek-looking,” he said.
“I’ve never been called a wog, a dago, a chink or a rag-head. I’m plain white bread.”
MP Russell Broadbent
Mr Broadbent said while he understood the fear of Islamic-based terrorism, it was unfair to brand Muslims for the actions of a few.
“Australia, we’re better than this.”