But one politician had an entirely different perspective on the killings: step forward Queensland senator Fraser Anning.
A statement from his office read:
Whilst this kind of violent vigilantism can never be justified, what it highlights is the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence.
As always, left-wing politicians and the media will rush to claim the causes of today’s shootings lie with gun laws or those who hold nationalist views but this is all cliched nonsense.
The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.
His rant goes on:
Let us be clear, while have been the victims today, usually they are the perpetrators. World-wide Muslims are killing people in the name of their faith on an industrial scale.
The entire religion of Islam is simply a violent ideology of a sixth century despot masquerading as a religious leader, which justifies endless war against anyone who opposes it and calls for the murder of unbelievers and apostates.
The statement quickly attracted an angry response after it was circulated on social media by Brisbane Times journalist Felicity Caldwell.
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison described Fraser Anning’s words as “disgusting”.
British home secretary Sajid Javid also attacked Anning, retweeting outrage from Good Morning Britain‘s Piers Morgan:
But rather than apologise, the Queensland senator has doubled down on his anti-Islam rhetoric on Twitter, asking: “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?”
If you’re wondering how such a man could get elected to high office, the answer is: on a technicality.
His predecessor in the state Senate – Malcolm Roberts of the right-wing One Nation party – was disqualified in October 2017 after the High Court of Australia’s Court of Disputed Returns found he had failed to renounce his British citizenship in time and his election was therefore invalid.
A month later, Fraser Anning was chosen to replace him, despite having secured just 19 first preference votes at the polls and come third on the party’s Senate ticket. With second-placed Peter Georgiou having already stepped up to replace Rod Culleton (whose election was also ruled invalid because of a larceny conviction), Anning was in.
But Anning’s own eligibility was also in question after it emerged he and his wife owed more than $212,000 (£113,220) to the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. The couple were facing bankruptcy before the case was settled.
Having prided himself on his “unqualified loyalty” to party leader Pauline Hanson for almost 20 years, he abruptly left the party mere hours into his tenure in the Senate to sit as an independent.
He subsequently joined Bob Katter’s Australian Party in June 2018, only to be booted out just four months later for making a highly inflammatory maiden speech before the Senate that August, in which he used the phrase “final solution” in relation to Australian immigration, a reference to Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.
His praise of the White Australia Policy, favouring European migrants, saw him attack Muslims for struggling to assimilate.
Attempting to explain his dismissal, Katter told The Sydney Morning Herald:
Ninety-nine percent of what senator Anning has been saying is solid gold. However, there is one percent of what he is saying that is totally unacceptable.
Before leaving the party to go independent again in October, Anning found time for more hate speech, this time against the LGBT+ community.
Speaking of the government’s Safe Schools programme, he said: “Fifty years ago, if a communist pervert had proposed that our nation’s children be forced to listen to sexually deviant propaganda, they would probably have been strung up… The ridiculous lie that gender is variable or fluid would be laughable if its intent were not so sinister.”
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