News National Labor and Liberals agree to censure Fraser Anning for ‘hate speech’

Labor and Liberals agree to censure Fraser Anning for ‘hate speech’

Far-right activist Neil Erikson (r) shared a moment of comradeship with Fraser Anning at a Melbourne rally in March. Photo: AAP/David Crosling
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his government will join with Labor to censure Senator Fraser Anning over comments about the mosque shootings in New Zealand.

The parties resolved that the maverick senator’s remarks warranted a unified front after discussions between Mathias Cormann and Penny Wong, Mr Morrison said.

The move comes after Victoria Police arrested a 17-year-old who allegedly cracked an egg over the head of the unrepentant Queenslander at a meeting attended by convicted anti-Islam firebrand Neil Eriksen in the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin on Saturday.

The teenager has since been released pending further inquiries.

“These comments are appalling and they’re ugly and they have no place in Australia – in the Australian Parliament also,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the bipartisan motion will be tabled when Parliament returns in April.

“He should be, frankly, ashamed of himself.”

Opposition leader Bill Shorten also voiced his disgust at Mr Anning, accusing him of promoting Islamophobia in pursuit of a cheap headline.

“I do wonder if he’s made Australians less safe overseas,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

“That’s another reason not to give this fool any more oxygen.”

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke described Senator Anning’s comments as “hate speech”, and told the ABC “the normalisation of bigotry is something that is not only confined to him”.

“We need to call it out, we need to make sure that no way any member of parliament fosters it. He wants the conflict and he wants the notoriety,” he said.

Tony Burke, shown here in 2015 introducing Bill Shorten to Muslim leaders in his western Sydney electorate, accused Fraser Anning of fostering bigotry. Photo: AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Bilal Rauf, from the Australian National Imams Council, said Mr Anning’s statement “may as well have been an extract from the manifesto of the person that perpetrated these heinous crimes”.

“While they may be words, words create a certain environment, they embolden certain people, they give them a platform or a sense of confidence that they can do certain things,” he said.

“I hope there is a real question as to his position as a federal parliamentarian given the privileges and the responsibilities which are attached to that.”

A petition calling for Mr Anning’s expulsion from parliament has amassed about 250,000 signatures.

“We call on the Australian government to expel this man who blames victims for their own violent deaths, and uses references to genocide to further his hateful agenda.”

-with AAP