Here we go again. More racist, factually incorrect rhetoric spewed from the mouth of a politician. This time it comes from the recently elected member for Queensland, current member of the Katter’s Australian Party and straight-up imbecile, Fraser Anning.

In Anning’s maiden speech in Parliament this week, the conservative member for Queensland touched on several topics including infrastructure, home ownership and the big banks, but it was his comments on immigration that were particularly vulgar and downright incorrect.

From the offset it was clear that the former hotelier is dreaming of returning to the ‘good’ ol’ days of yesteryear when the women stayed at home, the men toiled in the fields and only the whites got to come to Australia. Seriously though, this guy actually lamented in Federal Parliament the days of “our predominantly European identity” of the 50s and 60s (aka the White Australia Policy era).  Like I said – straight up imbecile.

 

He continued his repulsive tirade by taking aim at 457 Visa holders, and how they are ‘stealing all the jobs from Australians’ – a classic, false anti-immigration narrative. But wait – 457 Visas were actually abolished by the Turnbull government in 2017 and recent data, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in July of this year found that immigration has little to no effect on job availability, so try again sweetie.

In fact the snapshot from the ABS, taken between January 1 2000 and August 9 2016 (census night), found that over half of permanent migrants in Australia are buying their own homes, most are commonly working in human resources and the majority speak English very well, all facts that directly oppose Anning’s opinion that migrants don’t assimilate, live off welfare and use up resources.

Next on the chopping block for Anning were Muslims. According to the Senator, Muslims have been wreaking havoc in Australia since 1915. He claimed that “Muslims in New South Wales and Victoria are three times more likely than other groups to be convicted of crimes.” 

When pushed by Fairfax Media for the source of this claim, Anning’s office never responded and indeed no data can be found to support this claim. Authorities in both states have since stated that they don’t publish statistic on the religious affiliations of offenders.

Honestly, Fraser Anning needs to fire his fact checker because it seems like they’re pulling these ‘facts’ out of thin air.

 

The Senator also claimed that Melbourne is over-run with “black African Muslim gangs” and later went on morning television to suggest that the Bourke Street massacre was the result of Muslim terrorism (both statements which are completely false). These proclamations Anning is making in order to gaslight and get media attention are utter gibberish, intended to rile up a misinformed base of supporters. Sound familiar? This is the exact tactic used by right-wing politicians like Donald Trump in the US, Marine Le Pen in France, Matteo Salvini in Italy – the list goes on. Right wing politicians exploit the fears of their constituents and promote divisiveness with extreme rhetoric and often factually incorrect information. As more politicians around the world find success with these tactics of outrage, they are replicated again and again elsewhere. Some have referred to this as the ‘post-truth’ age. A time in which the line between fact and opinion has been blurred, a time in which the media is so mistrusted that politicians can blatantly lie, and their supporters are likely to believe them.

Summing up his stance on immigration, and adding the cherry on top of his trash pile of a speech, Anning called for a “final solution to the immigration problem” through a popular vote. Setting aside the disgusting use of the phrase ‘final solution’ (a phrase used by the Nazis to refer to killing millions of Jews in World War 2) research from Monash University found that over 80 per cent of Australians support a non-discriminatory immigration program, so good luck with that popular vote, mate.

Following the speech, the Queensland Senator was met with applause and handshakes. Even though many senators have since called out Anning for his comments, it’s clear that more needs to be done in Australia to curb racism and discrimination, because the last thing Australia needs is its own wave of extreme right wing nationalism.