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Far-right Australian senator censured over 'ugly and divisive' Christchurch comments

Anning drew international condemnation for linking the killing of 50 people in two mosques last month to immigration.

Independent Senator Fraser Anning in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Independent Senator Fraser Anning in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Image: AAP/PA Images

A FAR-RIGHT AUSTRALIAN senator who said the Christchurch mosque massacre was the result of Muslim immigration into New Zealand was censured for his “ugly and divisive” comments by his parliamentary peers on Wednesday.

Fraser Anning, who drew international condemnation for linking the 15 March killing of 50 people in two mosques last month to immigration, has refused to apologise for his views.

He faced more criticism later for physically striking a teenager who cracked a raw egg on his head in a viral incident in Melbourne.

Politicians from major and minor parties joined forces to censure the controversial Queensland Senator in a voice vote in the upper house Senate.

“Senator Anning’s comments were ugly and divisive. They were dangerous and unacceptable from anyone, let alone a member of this place,” leader of the conservative Liberal-National government in the Senate, Mathias Cormann, told the body.

Anning dismissed the censure motion as an attack on free speech. “It is also an exercise in left-wing virtue signalling of the worst kind,” he told the Senate before the vote.

He sits as an independent lawmaker after defecting from the anti-Muslim One Nation party, whose two senators abstained from the censure vote.

SENATOR FRASER ANNING MEETING Anning faced more criticism for physically striking the teenager who cracked an egg on his head at a Melbourne public appearance - 17-year-old Will Connolly, who became known around the world as "Egg Boy." Source: AAP/PA Images

Leader of the opposition in the Senate, Labor’s Penny Wong, added that the censure was moved to “take a clear stand against hatred and extremist ideology”.

“We must repudiate those who seek to spread intolerance and hate and in doing so undermine our democratic values,” Wong said. 

“There is a difference between freedom of speech and hate speech. The former is a feature of our democracy; the latter is an attack on our democracy.”

Anning was elected in 2017 by a fluke of Australia’s proportional voting system, having received only 19 first preference votes.

The independent senator has courted controversy for his views, and once called for a “final solution” to Australian immigration.

He is unlikely to be re-elected when Australians go to the polls next month.

Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant has been charged with murder in the shootings and is due to appear in a New Zealand court on Friday.

© AFP 2019 ,

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