Pacific News Minute: Obscure Australian Senator’s Racist Speech Prompts Outrage

Aug 16, 2018

Australia's Parliament House in Canberra
Credit JJ Harrison / Wikimedia Commons

Immigration remains a hot button issue in many countries around the world, including Australia. Earlier this week, a little known law maker prompted outrage after he called for a “final solution” on Muslim immigration. Yes, he really did say “final solution”.

  

In his maiden speech as a member of the Senate, Fraser Anning called for a European Christian immigration system – a return to the infamous White Australia policy and a ban on Muslim immigration.

The way to enact those changes, he declared, was a plebiscite, “The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, the popular vote.”

While many of Senator Anning’s remarks drew criticism, he was pilloried for the “final solution” reference. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called it a “shocking, shocking insult to the memory of over six million Jews who died in the Holocaust.” His words were echoed by the leaders of Australian Labour, the Greens, and even the far right One Nation party.

Senator Anning later said that he was not aware that “final solution” was a euphemism for Nazi genocide, but refused to apologize. And his own party leader cheered. Member of Parliament Bob Katter, the leader of Katter’s Australia Party, described Anning’s speech as “absolutely magnificent . . . pure gold.”  

Australian Senate Chamber
Credit JJ Harrison / Wikimedia Commons

Australia’s complicated preferential voting system rewards small parties, particularly in the Senate, and an analysis by ABC political correspondent Louise Yaxley suggested that the speech might allow Katter to steal votes on the far right from the larger One Nation party. And while the leader of One Nation denounced Anning’s speech, Senator Pauline Hanson also introduced a bill in parliament this week that would achieve his goal. A national vote on migration levels.