The Katter’s Australian Party senator has been widely criticised after he called for immigration policies favouring “European Christian” values and targeted Muslims.
“Absolutely one thousand per cent,” Katter said when asked if he supported Senator Anning. “I support everything he said … it was a magnificent speech.”
However, the speech has received widespread condemnation across the political spectrum, with even Pauline Hanson – a trenchant critic of immigration – criticising Anning’s approach.
The One Nation leader said the words used were straight from Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels’ handbook.
“I am 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,” Hanson told parliament today.
Anning supported Hanson for 20 years before their friendship ended when he entered parliament in November as a replacement for One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts.
In his speech, Anning said a plebiscite on which migrants came to Australia was the “final solution”.
He’s refusing to apologise for using the phrase, despite it being used in Nazi Germany to describe the plan to kill millions of Jews during World War II.
Katter said he genuinely believed Anning had no idea of the historical context of the term.
“He had absolutely no idea … where do we stand on the issue of migration from the Middle East and North Africa? Well, it’s very clear where we stand and we are differentiated from every other party now, including One Nation,” Katter said.
“Are we racist? We’re Australians. I don’t know if that’s racist or not. I’m not apologising to anyone for it.”
Senators united against his speech, passing a motion recognising bipartisan commitment to ending the White Australia policy which Anning has praised.
Independent Derryn Hinch savaged the Queensland representative, labelling his address racist, hateful and “vomitous poison”.
“It was Pauline Hanson on steroids. I felt like I was trapped in a Ku Klux Klan rally,” Hinch said.
Hinch apologised to the Senate and Australians for having followed protocol by shaking Anning’s hand after the speech on Tuesday.
“I then went home and I washed my own,” he said.
Labor Senate leader Penny Wong condemned Anning’s address for fanning division and prejudice.
However, the senator was not in the chamber to hear her after walking out.
Kenyan-born South Australian Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi said she was tired of racism.
“I’m here and I have to tiptoe about being a woman, about being black because the hard right doesn’t like it,” she said.
“This is Australia – it’s first world not the third world. Can we do leadership for the first world?”
Greens leader Richard Di Natale wanted the upper house to censure Anning, but the government and Labor opposed the move.
Senior minister Josh Frydenberg, whose parents were Jewish immigrants, has demanded Anning immediately retract his “ignorant and insensitive” remarks.
In his first upper house speech, Anning praised the White Australia policy, called for a complete ban on Muslim immigration and demanded a plebiscite on which migrants can enter the country.
“The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, a popular vote,” he told the Senate yesterday.
He later claimed to be simply referring to the “ultimate solution” to a political problem.
“I’m not going to apologise or regret anything I say,” Anning told the Nine Network today.
But Frydenberg, whose Hungarian mother escaped the Nazi Holocaust, is disgusted.
“These comments by a member of the Australian parliament were ignorant and insensitive, they were hurtful and they were divisive,” he told Sky News.
“I call on Fraser Anning not only to apologise, but also to go and visit a Holocaust museum, and to hear first-hand from the survivors how the pain is still raw, and to see the devastation and destruction caused by the Nazi war machine.”
Frydenberg said his comments were completely unacceptable and extremely hurtful.
“He has no excuse and needs to quickly apologise.”
But Anning refused to apologise, claiming he was exercising free speech.
“If people want to take it out of context that’s entirely up to them,” he told Nine.
“It was never meant to denigrate the Jewish community and it’s two words and if that offends anyone, unfortunately, that’s the way it has to be.”
Labor MP Peter Khalil, the son of Egyptian migrants, says he suspects the senator could have been trying to whip up hatred and fear.
“We have a responsibility as political leaders to call it out and fight against what is effectively a fascist view of the world, which is judging people based on their race or their ethnicity or faith,” he told the ABC.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and several other senior ministers also condemned the speech.
“Australia is the most successful multicultural society in the world built on a foundation of mutual respect. We reject and condemn racism in any form,” Turnbull tweeted.
Around 1942, the Nazi leadership established a plan called “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question”, which led to the mass genocide of Jewish people in occupied Europe.
At least 10 million people died, including six million Jews.
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