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Australian PM says senator who punched teen after blaming terror attack on immigration should face 'full force of law'

Scott Morrison said Fraser Anning’s comments were “appalling”.

AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER Scott Morrison has said a far-right senator should face “the full force of the law” over comments he made about the New Zealand terror attack and a subsequent altercation with a teenage boy.

Queensland Senator Fraser Anning drew international condemnation for blaming the mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques, in which 50 people were killed and dozens more injured, on immigration.

“I would normally not want to give this any oxygen, but I want to absolutely and completely denounce the statements made by Senator Anning … in his conflation of this horrendous terrorist attack with issues of immigration, in his attack on Islamic faith specifically.

“These comments are appalling and they are ugly and they have no place in Australia, in the Australian parliament also, and he should be frankly ashamed of himself,” Morrison told a press conference.

The Australian government plans to censure Anning over his comments. A bipartisan motion condemns him for “inflammatory and divisive comments seeking to attribute blame to victims of a horrific crime and to vilify people on the basis of religion”.

The motion states that “violence such as that witnessed in Christchurch is an affront on our common humanity” and condemns “an attack on our common values and way of life”.

In a statement issued in the aftermath of Friday’s mass shooting, Anning said the attack was the result of Muslim immigration into New Zealand.

“As always, left-wing politicians and the media will rush to claim that the causes of today’s shootings lie with gun laws or those who hold nationalist views, but this is all cliched nonsense,” Anning said.

He added that “the real cause of bloodshed” is the country’s immigration programme.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also condemned Anning’s comments, describing them as a “disgrace”.

Australian-born Brenton Tarrant (28) filmed himself carrying out the horrific attack on Friday. He made a white power gesture as he appeared in court charged with murder.

Egging 

Yesterday Anning had to be restrained by security officials after punching a teenager who egged him at a press conference in Melbourne over his remarks.

The boy has been named locally as 17-year-old Will Connolly. He was arrested by Victoria Police after the incident but was released without charge.

In a statement issued after the incident, Anning thanked people for their support. 

The senator was elected in 2017 by a fluke of Australia’s proportional voting system, having received only 19 first preference votes. He is unlikely to be reelected when Australians go to the polls in a vote expected this May.

An online petition calling for Anning’s expulsion from parliament had received more than one million signatures at the time of publication. 

Contains reporting from © AFP 2019

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Órla Ryan

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