Politicians on both sides of the floor have condemned Senator Fraser Anning’s maiden speech as a racist, dog-whistling, un-Australian diatribe that couldn’t possibly have come at a better time.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he was glad to see the Australian public didn’t support Senator Anning’s “Islamophobic remarks”, and thanked the Senator for “testing the waters on that one” ahead of the upcoming 2019 federal election.
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg also weighed in on the Senator’s shocking speech.
“I appreciate that Senator Anning has taken the heat off the whole Great Barrier Reef situation. Not literally, of course – sadly we have no feasible solution for that little dilemma. But in terms of the public spotlight, this really couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment for me,” Minister Frydenberg said.
In a press conference this afternoon, opposition leader Bill Shorten chose a different tact, saying he would wait for the Coalition’s response on Immigration policy and then copy that.
And, in a surprising turn of events, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson was quick to publicly condemn both the content and form of Senator Anning’s speech
“He went full White Australia Policy. You never go full White Australia Policy,” Senator Hanson said.
“I personally would have chosen a slogan a bit catchier than ‘final solution’. Maybe something like, ‘African apocalypse’ or ‘the turban incursion’. I will admit though, it does feel good to be the one doing the distancing for a change,” she said.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young was the only politician to wholeheartedly welcome Senator Anning’s remarks, saying Australians should not underestimate the importance of hitting rock bottom in political discourse.
“In politics, it always helps to have a point of comparison. In light of Senator Anning’s comments on migration, welfare, gender equality and mining, our half-baked policies look a lot more reasonable. I thank him for that,” she said.
While most Australian politicians have recognised the utility of Senator Anning’s speech, media outlets across the country continue to feign disbelief that outdated ideas could possibly be held by a cattle grazier from Charters Towers who answers to a 73-year-old conservative best known for crocodile hunting in a ten-gallon hat.
By Vivienne Mitchell