Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 April 2019


Anning, Senator Fraser; Censure

10:18 am

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Vice-President of the Executive Council) Share this | | Hansard source

I, and also on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Wong, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that 'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes...freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance',

(ii) religious persecution knows no geographic or sectarian boundaries and it afflicts religious believers of virtually every faith, on every continent,

(iii) the strong statements made across the nation, led by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, that violence such as that witnessed in Christchurch is an affront on our common humanity, and

(iv) in the face of attacks designed to sow division, our responses must bring us together, recognising an attack on any religion is an attack on all religions and that we all share a responsibility to unite, condemn and defeat such an attack on our common values and way of life;

(b) calls on all Australians to stand against hate and to publicly, and always, condemn actions and comments designed to incite fear and distrust;

(c) endorses the statement of the Imam Hasan Centre following the attacks in Christchurch that 'It is times like this that we lose hope and doubt humanity. When people of faith come under attack in such a way it shows us how low humanity can fall. However it never ceases to amaze how far humanity can rise after such despicable events'; and

(d) censures Senator Anning for his inflammatory and divisive comments seeking to attribute blame to victims of a horrific crime and to vilify people on the basis of religion, which do not reflect the opinions of the Australian Senate or the Australian people.

Mr President, today the government and government senators join with the opposition and members of other parties to condemn in the strongest possible terms the comments made by Senator Anning in relation to last month's horrific terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand—an absolutely horrific terrorist attack. That is why I move the motion which asks the Senate to note, firstly:

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that 'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes … freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance',


(ii) religious persecution knows no geographic or sectarian boundaries and it afflicts religious believers of virtually every faith, on every continent,

That the Senate notes:

(iii) the strong statements made across the nation, led by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, that violence such as that witnessed in Christchurch is an affront on our common humanity, and

(iv) in the face of attacks designed to sow division, our responses must bring us together, recognising an attack on any religion is an attack on all religions and that we all share a responsibility to unite, condemn and defeat such an attack on our common values and way of life;

That the Senate:

(b) calls on all Australians to stand against hate and to publicly, and always, condemn actions and comments designed to incite fear and distrust;

That the Senate:

(c) endorses the statement of the Imam Hasan Centre following the attacks in Christchurch that 'It is times like this that we lose hope and doubt humanity. When people of faith come under attack in such a way it shows us how low humanity can fall. However it never ceases to amaze how far humanity can rise after such despicable events';

Finally, that the Senate:

(d) censures Senator Anning for his inflammatory and divisive comments seeking to attribute blame to victims of a horrific crime and to vilify people on the basis of religion, which do not reflect the opinions of the Australian Senate or the Australian people.

I thank the opposition and other parties for their support for this motion. It is very important that the parliament is unified in its condemnation of these appalling comments that have been made. These comments were appalling, and, sadly, made even worse given Senator Anning's position in this parliament and the platform that he enjoys as a senator. Senator Anning's comments were ugly and divisive. They were dangerous and unacceptable from anyone, let alone a member of this place. The Senate is completely right to condemn them and censure the senator that made them. The victims of the Christchurch attack were attacked while peacefully going about the observance of their religion in and around their place of worship. Senator Anning's comments were, as it says in the motion, 'inflammatory and divisive'.

In Australia we do not accept and do not tolerate that sort of divisive, inflammatory commentary which seeks to incite hatred and which seeks to vilify people. It is why we are the most successful migrant nation in the world. The Australian people rightly expect that this parliament stands in solidarity with our New Zealand cousins following the monstrous attack in Christchurch. It is absolutely right to censure Senator Anning, and, ultimately, to condemn anyone else within our community who seeks to use a horrific tragedy like this one as an opportunity to vilify and divide people based on their religious beliefs. I commend this motion to the Senate.

10:22 am

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak on the censure motion moved jointly by Senator Cormann and myself. I thank him for promptly engaging with and agreeing with me, and agreeing to move a bipartisan censure motion in the aftermath of the comments made by Senator Anning.

We passed a condolence motion yesterday in which we stated our shared condemnation of the terrorist attack on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques by an Australian citizen in Christchurch. We expressed our solidarity with the people of New Zealand—our family. We expressed our shared grief and our sympathy to those who lost loved ones and who are injured and recovering, and we expressed our solidarity with the Islamic community of Christchurch, New Zealand, our own nation and throughout the world. We made clear the view of this Senate: that we abhor racism and religious intolerance, and that we acknowledge and celebrate diversity and the harmony of the Australian people. We stated our respect for people from all faiths, cultures, ethnicities and nationalities—a respect that has made our country one of the world's most successful migrant nations and multicultural societies—and we reaffirmed our commitment as Australians to peace over violence, innocence over evil, understanding over extremism, liberty over fear and love over hate.

It was an important statement—a collective commitment to stand against hatred. That's because what we saw, tragically, in the loss of life in Christchurch is where hatred leads us. The tragic murders of 50 worshippers in Christchurch were horrific acts of violence. They were acts of terrorism, and, at their core, they were acts of hatred. So if we are to end the cycle of extremism, to end the cycle of hatred that underpins it, all leaders—political, community and religious—must stand united against hatred in all its forms.

Today we as a Senate make another important statement and take a clear stand against hatred and extremist ideology. In the aftermath of the Christchurch terrorist attacks, in the aftermath of horrific acts of hatred, whilst people were grieving—whilst a nation was grieving—a senator in this place made an extraordinarily offensive and divisive statement. He blamed the horrific act of terror, of murder, not on the extremist right-wing terrorist but on the victims of his evil acts. While the families, friends and communities of those lost were still reeling from the shock, this senator blamed the victims. While those injured were being treated, this senator sought to further fan the flames of division. How pathetic. How shameful. It was a shameful and pathetic attempt by a bloke, who has never been elected, to get attention by exploiting diversity as a fault line for political advantage.

This motion makes it clear he does not speak for us. He does not speak for this Senate, he does not speak for this nation and he does not represent Australian values. This motion makes clear that the Senate repudiates in the strongest terms this senator's divisive statement and the extremist ideology that either motivated it or that he simply wished to fan. This motion delivers on our collective responsibility as senators, as leaders in our communities, to stand against hatred, to call out hate speech and to advocate for the values that make Australia the nation we hope it to be. We must repudiate those who seek to spread intolerance and hate and, in doing so, undermine our democratic values.

I want to briefly speak about this point. 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 democracy. Let me explain why. Foundational principles of liberal democracy include equality, justice and nondiscrimination—all citizens are equal; all are equal members of the community. An attack which purports to posit a justification that some citizens should be treated differently is an attack on the principles of liberal democracy. There is a difference between the robust contest of ideas and attacking people of a particular group because of the colour of their skin or the nature of their faith and dehumanising them.

A central element in the way prejudice works is by dehumanising, by singling out people as outsiders, as second-class, as not deserving the protections and dignity afforded to the rest of us. It is why we say legislative protections against hate speech are so important. It is why we on this side and others in this chamber fought so hard to defend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act from attempts to repeal it. I recall Senator Brandis advocating for its removal and stating, 'People do have a right to be bigots.' I say hate speech cannot be defended on grounds of freedom of speech, because it is an attack on our democracy, because it inflicts real and direct harm.

Senator Stoker at one point, when she was advocating for Mr Yiannopoulos to be given a visa, said, 'The solution is better ideas.' I say this is not about the contest of ideas; it's about democratic principles; it's about foundational principles. Hate speech is inimical to democracy. We can't normalise it through a concept of better ideas. We have to be uncompromising in our rejection of racism, prejudice, discrimination and hate speech, and we must call it out wherever we see it.

I do acknowledge the leadership that Senator Cormann has shown. I acknowledge and honour the words of Senator Birmingham yesterday, just as I honour the position that so many good Liberals have taken over the course of decades in this country—Malcolm Fraser and many others since, even John Howard putting One Nation last. I honour Mr Fischer. There are times in our history when our bipartisanship has enabled us to confront racism and hatred: the White Australia policy being abolished, the introduction of the Racial Discrimination Act, the confrontation of One Nation in its previous incarnation, the acceptance of so many Indochinese refugees, despite community concerns in dealing with them. This was bipartisanship. It is a great sadness to me—and I say this not to make a partisan point but as an Asian Australian—to see the way in which some on that side do not honour that history. It is a great sadness to me to see the way in which some on that side have failed to repudiate the ideology and the hate speech that we have seen in recent times.

I would make the point that the senator who is being censured, in his first speech, argued for a return to the White Australia policy. My parents married when the White Australia policy was still in place, and it was abolished by Liberal and Labor governments. He also used a term associated with the Holocaust. It was a speech that didn't reflect the Australia we know—an Australia built by people from every country, from every part of the world—a strong, independent multicultural nation. It is a sadness, I think, to all of us that many coalition senators lined up and shook your hand, and I suspect many of them regret that now.

It was disappointing to see the motion 'It's okay to be white' be voted in support and it has been disappointing to see some government ministers being prepared to fan prejudice for political purposes. I have in mind Minister Dutton's targeting of Victoria's African community and the focus on African gang violence and even the way in which the medevac bill was discussed in the context of paedophiles, rapists and murderers. And anyone who watched The Project interview of Mr Morrison would have understood, I hope, that what Mr Waleed Aly was saying was that this is also about how you frame the debate.

Those who use or fan intolerance and hatred for their own political gain are not only doing the wrong thing; they're actually harming our democracy in the process. So, today, I hope this Senate does censure this senator for his statement. And, in doing so, we do take a stand against hatred and we are calling out hate speech. We are sending a clear message to the Australian people that people across the political landscape stand for values and principles that are central to our identity—Australian identity and Australian democracy—inclusion, acceptance, respect and equality. And I hope that this moment that is Christchurch and its aftermath can in this country generate recognition of the importance of that occurring across the political spectrum. We're about to go into an election campaign and the contest will be fierce, but there are some things which are above the political contest. And this is amongst them. And, if we do this, this makes our nation stronger at home and in the world.

10:32 am

Photo of Richard Di NataleRichard Di Natale (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak in support of this censure motion and join with Senator Cormann and Senator Wong in those heartfelt words. It doesn't go unnoticed that the leader of the Liberals in the Senate is a man of Belgian origin. Senator Wong, as she described herself, is an Asian Australian. And, of course, I'm very proud of my Italian heritage. We're a really wonderful reflection of multicultural Australia and we are united together in standing against the hateful words that were used in the response to the horrific terrorist act—an act where men, women and children were gunned down at a moment of deep contemplation. While their blood was still warm, we had a senator in this place effectively saying that they were responsible for their own murder.

I'm not going spend too much time dwelling on that individual—indeed, he has shown himself to be a pathetic man, lacking any empathy. What's much more important here is how we respond to hate speech in our society. What is it that we do collectively to respond to the rise in hate speech in our society? Hate speech has real consequences, not just the consequences that we saw play out in the most horrific way in Christchurch but consequences for people here, going about their daily business in Australia. It has consequences for the young woman wearing a headscarf walking down the street, when someone drives past, winds their window down and yells the most horrific abuse. It has real consequences when Jews go to the synagogue, and they are forced to undergo increased security screening because they don't feel safe in their own places of worship. Hate speech has very real consequences, and it's not just about the pathetic comments made by an individual who really we shouldn't spend much more time addressing.

I think it's fair to say in conversations with senior people in this place that we're all wrestling with how we deal with hate speech. I think there's a view among some people that to engage in a conversation around this and to make a very clear statement risks giving these people a platform. It risks giving them the attention that they so desperately crave. I accept that there is a risk there. But we must also appreciate that they have a platform, that they have a voice that very few other people in our society have the privilege of having. Indeed, when I look at some of the commentary around the contribution made by that individual, it was quoted right around the world. It was quoted in The Washington Post and The New York Times, and it was quoted by the BBC. It was quoted right through Europe. These people have a platform. What we need to do is to come together and do everything we can to deny them that platform, to deny them the opportunity for their voices to be amplified. What we need to do is recognise that ensuring a harmonious multicultural society takes work.

I'm sorry, but I don't accept that it's enough simply to censure one person and accept that we have fulfilled our responsibilities in standing against hate speech. This is an important step—yes, it is—but it's not enough. We had the opportunity to censure that individual when he invoked the final solution in his first speech. I put it to both the major parties that he deserved to be censured for those comments. That view was rejected at the time. That was a mistake. Indeed, worse than that, we saw some members of the government offering hugs and handshakes on the back of that speech. It shows how desensitised we have become to the words that have been used not just in this chamber but in both houses of parliament—indeed, right through the media—over a number of years.

We have become desensitised, so that when a politician talks about settling Lebanese Muslims being a mistake, we don't respond in the way that we should. When another contribution is made that says that people can't go out at night for fear of being beaten up by African migrants, we don't respond in the way that we should. When we have politicians floating strategies to target Muslim people in an effort to shore up a few short-term votes, we don't respond in the way that we should. Multiculturalism, protecting the very fabric of this nation, takes work. I agree absolutely with Senator Wong's comments about hate speech. When you say that someone has a right to be a bigot, the next step is that they have a right to act on that bigotry, and we know where that leads. We give permission; indeed, we nurture the voices of hate right across our community. So yes, of course we support this censure, but we have to do more.

We need to again embrace that notion of multiculturalism. We should have a multicultural act that says that we come together as a society and embrace the principles of multiculturalism because it's what makes this country a great country; and that we come together and say, 'Hate speech will have no place in a civilised society, and we will now have hate speech laws that protect people against the sort of conversation that we have heard for far too long in our parliament and in our media.' We should have a code of conduct in our Senate that ensures we all adhere to a set of standards and norms that are the norms that people right across society expect of us as leaders in our community. We need to call out that hate speech at every opportunity. And Senator Wong is absolutely right: there are voices on all sides of politics that have shown the leadership that's so desperately required.

So we welcome this censure. We hope the parliament will support it. But we must recommit our efforts to do more to stamp out the rise of fascism, this Neo-Nazi movement that's growing right across the world—to no longer turn our heads but to tackle it head on; to use every single ounce of power that we have to deny these people a platform; and to make sure that those views are once again marginalised and not brought to the centre of Australian public life. That's the pledge that we make in this chamber: to work together to do everything that we can to ensure that, whenever we have the privilege of the platform that we are given, we use it in a way that brings this community together and calls out the horrific language that has taken primacy in our national debate for far too long.

10:39 am

Photo of Cory BernardiCory Bernardi (SA, Australian Conservatives) Share this | | Hansard source

Words matter—not only the specific words that are used, but the timing and the tone in which they are delivered. Let me start at the outset by saying I believe that Senator Anning's comments in relation to the Christchurch massacre were imprudent, impolitic and flat out wrong in blaming the victims. But I lament, I have to say, the political opportunism that was associated with them and also with the opponents of Senator Anning. Rarely have I been as disappointed with that political opportunism as in the last fortnight, and it's on display here today, I regret. If this censure motion were confined to part (d), which is to disagree with and censure Senator Anning for the inflammatory comments, I would agree with it. But what I can't agree with is the adoption of this hypocritical language, this determination of hate speech that has been so widely bandied around. I'm disappointed in the government for adopting the language of the left. According to those in this chamber, hate speech is whatever they want it to mean. It wasn't that long ago that The Australian newspaper was deemed to be the hate media and had no business in putting forward their own views of opposition—or Labor government, as it was at the time—policy.

We see the Greens direct hate speech and accusations of hate speech towards basically anyone they disagree with. We know that the Greens have targeted the Israeli Defense Forces, for example, and the Jews. At least one Green senator, if not others, have accused Israel of ethnic cleansing. Is that hate speech? They've referred to the Israeli nation as an apartheid nation. They support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions regime. Is that hate speech? Senator Faruqi and a New South Wales Labor MP attended a rally protesting the recognition of Israel, where the senator said Israel was a settler colonial apartheid state. The rally itself chanted, 'Intifada.' Was that hate speech? An intifada is an uprising against a sovereign nation. One placard at the rally depicted Jews as pigs and monkeys, stalked by a Palestinian lion targeting them. Was that hate speech? A young child was photographed at another rally, holding up a 'behead those who insult Islam' placard. Was that hate speech by the mother, who allowed the child to hold it? Where were the pious and sanctimonious, the outraged, about that?

They only cheer on the tribe. They will not examine their own conscience. I note that Senator Hanson-Young, a regular tweeter about hate speech, would have Peter Dutton locked up in the Greens gulag because he, in her word, 'attacked' Alan Joyce because he was gay, apparently, which she labelled as vile homophobia. Under this new regime of hate speech, where it's determined by whom you're cheering on, Peter Dutton would be in the Greens gulag. You'd find people like Miranda Devine, journalists who call out the inhumane refugee policy pursued by Labor and the Greens. She would be locked up as a hater as well, because Senator Hanson-Young has accused her of hate speech as well—a rabid, right-wing cheerleader, in the words of the Greens senator.

I've regularly been accused of hate speech—once again, back in 2015, a tweet saying, 'Will Tony Abbott let hate speech from Cory Bernardi dictate Australia's refugee policy or will he listen to the calls to show more heart?' I'm in the Greens dystopian universe of haters simply for disagreeing with some policies that resulted in thousands of people dying at sea. Do you understand the can of worms you're opening here? When you talk about people's language and you want to redefine something you disagree with as hate speech—whether it be reprehensible, vile, intemperate or just flat-out wrong, which I think Senator Anning's words were—it doesn't mean you should adopt this rhetoric and this mantra which is coming through here, because you will open up a process which is going to see us sink into an abyss, and not a decent abyss, because it is misused for opportunistic political chances. It is misused simply to score political points and some bark off your opponents.

We can keep going. We know that Sky media, according to the Greens, are just the hate media. This is Senator Hanson-Young again: 'This is the brutal reality check on the role of the right-wing media in promoting racism and broadcasting hate speech.' Suddenly, Sky News is hate speech, so will we be censoring that? We will be having laws against that? Will you be trying to impose regulations on the broadcasting of ideas and facts that you disagree with, simply because you disagree with them? Senator Di Natale says, 'If it is hate speech, yes.' Well, the problem for the Greens and Senator Di Natale is they make this stuff up as they go. They hold others to a higher standard than they expect to hold themselves.

Sanctimonious hypocrisy is not unknown. It is not unknown in this place, and its major inhabitants are in that wedge of the Senate. They are seeking to wedge the Australian people. They are seeking to undermine some of the fundamental values and principles that we cherish and hold dear. Yes, you have the freedom of speech in this country, but you also have the freedom to condemn and criticise those you disagree with. Unfortunately, they only hold to one side of that equation—that they're allowed to beat up on whomever they disagree with. They will not be held to account for their own hatred and vile, misogynistic and racist outbursts. How else can you justify it? All around the world, the green movement is saying any reference to skin colour is racist and vile. We hear them say it here, except it's okay for them to chime in about grumpy old white men and terrible old white men. They're ageist, they are misogynist and they are misandrist. They pick up whatever they want to suit their agenda and they're given a free pass on it all.

What I lament about this censure motion is not that it's inappropriate; it's just that the government and those who are meant to be sensible on the other side have adopted the language of the left. And what they are agreeing to today is to say that anything they disagree with, anything that is imprudent, impolitic or inappropriate, can be deemed as hate speech. The evidence is there; it is the defence of the weak to mask criticism and to label it as racist hate speech—whatever it is—to suit the agenda. It is about shutting down an agenda. And so, when you've got a senator referring to another senator as a 'creepy old white man', is that hate speech? When you've got senators referring to those who are worried about influences in our culture and our values labelling people as racist or hate speakers, where do we end up with this? Where do we end up with it?

Why do we broaden what should be a very simple motion to say that what Senator Anning said, we believe, is inappropriate? And I believe it's inappropriate. I think to blame the victims in the manner in which he did was absolutely wrong. It can never be justified. I believe the timing of it undermined basic civility and basic humanity. It was political exploitation and opportunism at its very worst. But I also know there are many people who actually support what Senator Anning said, and that's the beauty of this country—we're allowed to disagree. We're allowed to disagree with people and to call it out. That is freedom of speech. And the great hypocrisy is that those who champion these freedoms champion this idea that somehow we can live in a paradise just by stifling and shutting down everyone else who we disagree with and that that is going to lead to some utopia. It's not. We have an obligation to speak truth to power, and the power, unfortunately, rests with the hypocrisy of the green movement and the Left in this country. They are adopting language to make it mean things that it should never mean and they're doing it as a means of stifling our discussion. (Time expired)

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm going around the chamber in the order in which I'm getting indications from senators. I'll take everyone's names down. Senator Hinch is next.

10:50 am

Photo of Derryn HinchDerryn Hinch (Victoria, Derryn Hinch's Justice Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak in support of the censure motion against Senator Anning. Early in Senator Anning's unexpected—and I hope short—Senate sojourn, I said here in this chamber: 'I'm starting to think that Senator Anning lies awake at night, trying to think up new ways and words to offend decent, rational, compassionate Australians.' There was his attack on vulnerable women who were terminating a pregnancy. Then Senator Anning attacked other people's rights to die with dignity.

His attempt to politicise the Christchurch mosque massacre, in my opinion, sank to a new level and is worthy of censure in this chamber. To me, it was straight out of the NRA handbook on how gun extremists can benefit from little kids being murdered. I'm actually surprised he wasn't on the sauce and on the plane with Pauline Hanson's treasonous apparatchiks, as they requested millions of dollars from the despicable gun lobby to undermine our gun laws and undermine this parliament and put Aussie families at risk.

Speaking of risk, yesterday in question time, Senator Anning tried to dismiss all of his grotesque comments as freedom of speech, as a part of free speech. Well, Senator Anning, I was a journalist for five decades, and I believe passionately in free speech. But, if you had done some research, you may have checked and found out there is an adage, a rule that journalists follow, and that I hope other people would follow, and that is the rule that you cannot shout 'fire' in a crowded theatre. That is not freedom of speech; that is irresponsible, reckless and totally dangerous behaviour—not free speech at all. And Senator Bernardi was leaning on you and saying the same sort of thing. You cannot shout 'fire' in a crowded theatre, because people may die.

For Senator Anning to get up after Christchurch, after all those people, 50 people, were murdered, and turn it into a political thing—that's what the NRA was telling One Nation, telling Pauline Hanson's people: 'This is what you do. If there's a massacre, you turn it to your advantage. Offence, offence, offence. You turn a murder of kids into a political thing on your behalf. You accuse your opponents, people who are against proliferation of guns, of dancing on the graves of children.' That's what the NRA was saying; that's what One Nation was trying to bring into Australia. So, all I can say, Senator Anning—and I say it quite deliberately—is: You besmirch this place. You should be ashamed of yourself, and I hope you're soon gone.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Anning, I'll do you the courtesy of offering you the opportunity to speak now or at the conclusion of the debate, before the motion is put, given you're the subject of the censure. Would you prefer to speak now or later?

Photo of Fraser AnningFraser Anning (Queensland, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

At the end of the debate will be fine.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I'll grant you that courtesy. Senator Dodson was on his feet earlier. I'll come to other senators next.

10:53 am

Photo of Patrick DodsonPatrick Dodson (WA, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Senate)) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak in support of the motion put by the Leader of the Government in the Senate and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. Our First Nations peoples have carried the consequences of murderous prejudice throughout our entwined history. First Nations peoples in Australia know what it's like to be powerless in the face of hateful prejudice, fanned by the illusion of superiority and the false courage created by a weapon in the hand of the oppressors—to be victims against superior weaponry. We know the impact of murder wilfully carried out and morally justified by hatred of minorities, misplaced power and bullying superiority, justified by a determined and arrogant rejection of the shared equality of human beings, where people of another culture, another religion, another social expression of our common humanity are viewed by cowards with power and guns as less worthy of humanity.

In the Gurindji country, in the Northern Territory, people still talk of the killing times. Mounted Constable Willshire was stationed at Victoria River Downs in the 1890s. He was a mass murderer in uniform, who took it upon himself to protect the interests of cattlemen and to disperse the traditional owners of the lands at gunpoint. He took to print, justifying his actions with boastful pride, emboldened by the rightness of whiteness, and condemned the First Nations people to death. He wrote about one day of killings on Wave Hill, saying:

It's no use mincing matters, the Martini-Henry carbines at the critical moment were talking English in the silent majesty of these eternal rocks.

The carbines were talking English.

I have walked through some of these sites of massacres, of mass murders, in Australia with the descendants of the victims and sometimes too with the descendants of murderers. In South Australia, Senator Gallacher and I visited a monument erected by both sides of the small community of Elliston to commemorate the mass murder of men, women and children pushed over the steep sea wall by charging horsemen and barking dogs. I have visited the sites of massacres, of mass murders, in Balgo, in Forrest River and at Coniston. At Coniston, near Alice Springs, those mass murders took place in living memory. I have sat down with old Warlpiri men and women who luckily survived those murderous attacks as young babies, hidden from the attacks. And 1928 was not so long ago. My mother was just seven years old. But we are in 2019 now, and a mass murderer—rejecting the richness of difference, driven by religious hatred and xenophobia, empowered by military-style weapons—has waged his atrocities in Christchurch on innocent, defenceless people.

In this Senate we stand for common humanity, respect of religion and tolerance of life in all its diversity. We reject the scourges of racism, of bigotry and of the kind of hateful, violent, murderous prejudice we saw at Christchurch. The murder of 50 innocent people does not just happen. It arises from the fuelling of hatred, irresponsible language and the demonising of people of colour and difference. It is neither fair nor honourable for that senator from Queensland to shift the responsibility of that crime to the community who were the targets. The senator said in his tweet:

The real cause of the bloodshed on New Zealand streets is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.

We know the victims were not Muslim fanatics. They were innocent men, women and children at Friday prayers, finding peace and communion with God and their fellow believers. We know that Senator Anning knows the real cause of the bloodshed in Christchurch. The real cause was prejudice, hate and a passion for violent action, aided and abetted by the availability of a military-style weapon. It's also entirely amoral for other senators from Queensland, seeking political leverage, to solicit donations from the purveyors and promoters of these designer weapons in the United States and to collude with them to overturn Australian laws that protect all our lives.

The senator from Queensland Senator Anning warrants our censure. Through his words and his actions he has aligned himself with the most vicious form of ethnic and racial hatred. He is exonerating the murderous actions of a deranged and hate-filled killer. We cannot let his words and actions define this chamber. We cannot allow his hateful values to go unchallenged. We cannot let the stench of racism and hate linger in this chamber. We call on all parties, including the One Nation party, to stand with us today to censure Senator Anning. We shall stand with Senator Cormann and Senator Wong in their joint effort to ensure that this Senate is clear and steadfast on our shared values and on what we affirm and what we reject.

We must be of one voice and one heart on this issue. We turn our back against xenophobia, against hate crimes and against any gunmen who hold innocent people in their sights. We call out those who exploit fear and ignorance for political gain, who mock the traditional dress of women of another culture, who seek donations from the manufacturer of weapons of war to override our own laws and who argue that it's all right to be white. Their actions and exhortations would plunge this country back into the killing times.

You've got to remember that this history is well known to First Nations peoples. Your language does matter. If this remains unchecked then we will go back to that awful period. We should instead turn our faces to the light of a new future—a peaceful, non-violent, tolerant country of hope, respect and unity, a country where no innocent man, woman or child is ever again the victim of mass murder.

I say to those faithful mourning for their families in Christchurch: Allah yer'ham hom. Rest in peace. I say to the people of New Zealand: pouri mo to mate ka kaha. We are sorry for your loss. Stay strong.

I support the motion.

11:00 am

Photo of Duncan SpenderDuncan Spender (NSW, Liberal Democratic Party) Share this | | Hansard source

This is not my first speech. I'd like to thank Senator Dodson for those words. I welcome this censure motion and I'll be supporting it. I want to note that I disagree with some of the additional words put by Senator Wong where she said that free speech does not include hate speech and that Senator Anning's comments were not part of the contest of ideas. Unfortunately, that's not true. We need to look at the polls. We are all failing to convince our fellow Australians about the importance and the rightness of non-discriminatory immigration.

All of us here, other than Senator Anning, perhaps, can talk about how vile those comments were—and they were vile—and we can all talk about how non-discriminatory immigration is so important. But that is not a view held by so many, probably millions of Australians. We need to convince them, not by deplatforming people like Senator Anning but by convincing people that he's wrong and that they're wrong and that they should think a different way. I find it amazing that we think we can solve our problem just by saying that Senator Anning shouldn't have been allowed to have said what he said. The problem will remain.

Senator Anning has free speech. I think he should have been free to say what he said. As it happens, we all have free speech and we can all strongly disagree in the strongest possible terms with what he said. That is why I will be joining you all in voting for this censure motion.

11:02 am

Photo of Mehreen FaruqiMehreen Faruqi (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak in support of the censure motion. Yesterday I tabled a petition signed by 1.4 million people, the biggest online petition in Australia's history, calling on this Senate to remove Senator Anning from parliament because of his despicable comments seeking to further demonise Muslims in the wake of the Christchurch massacre and blaming the targets of this horrific terrorist attack for their own deaths. I received this petition on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and it was, indeed, a fitting day to receive it. If there is one politician that trades in hate, fear and division, it is Senator Anning—and, believe me, there is some competition in here.

Some have stood up and used deflection tactics, or they are being apologists for hate speech. We've just seen that from Senator Bernardi. Senator Bernardi does not seem to have any understanding of the difference between hate speech and disagreement. He doesn't have any understanding of the difference between freedom of speech and hate speech. It seems he definitely does not have any understanding of the impact of hate speech on people in the community. Others have stood by and remained silent in the face of hatred. They have failed to call it out. I hope that they can all reflect and change.

People feel so strongly about what has been said in parliament and outside of parliament that, in their petition, they say:

Senator Fraser Anning's views have no place in the government of our democratic and multicultural country. Within the bounds of Australian law, we request that he be pushed to resign from his position as Senator, and if appropriate, be investigated by law enforcement agencies for supporting right wing terrorism.

This is the strength of community views. I know that there is no mechanism to force a senator to resign, but the sheer number of people who signed this petition shows how strongly the community feels about those who seek to divide us and create an atmosphere of hate and division to further their xenophobic agendas. We have seen that this has real consequences. Hate speech leads to political violence. The community stands against hatred. So the parliament must listen to those we represent and take action to make sure that people are held accountable for what they say and do. Senator Anning has well and truly crossed the line in here and out there. There is no question about that. He does not deserve to be in parliament. I have no doubt that the community will make sure that he's not re-elected in May, and I will be doing everything in my power to consign such awful, ugly views to the history books, where they are so clearly from and where they truly belong. There is no room for racism in Australia.

Sadly, what Senator Anning said after the Christchurch massacre, however shocking it is, isn't out of character. Just a week before I joined this place, he gave a speech calling for a ban on people like me coming to this country and for a white Australia policy. He even invoked the despicable 'final solution' in his speech. He has flown business class on taxpayer dollars, I might add, to St Kilda, to rally alongside Neo-Nazi sympathisers. So, yes, he should be condemned. Yes, he should be censured. And yes, he should be suspended from parliament. It is terrifying that right-wing extremist groups have found a mouthpiece in federal parliament. I have often referred to these groups and the politicians who support them as 'merchants of hate'. They prey on the anxieties of Australians with a rhetoric that is empty, hateful and divisive. They whip up hysteria against minorities, against women, against Aboriginal people and against Muslims. They thrive on problems, conflict and suffering, and this is creating a very dangerous environment for all of us in Australia and across the world.

How devoid of compassion and humanity is this senator to, in effect, blame the targets of this terrorist attack for their own deaths? How low can you go? What did three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim do to deserve this? What about Hamza Mustafa, who had just celebrated his 16th birthday? Senator Anning, you are an absolute disgrace. You should be ashamed of yourself and you should resign.

11:08 am

Photo of Stirling GriffStirling Griff (SA, Centre Alliance) Share this | | Hansard source

What a way to end the last week of the 45th Parliament. Senator Anning has barely been here for 18 months and, in that time, he has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. In doing so, he has brought the office of senator into disrepute. Perhaps the 19 people who gave him their first preference vote had an inkling of what he would be saying and how he would respond in this chamber, but certainly the rest of us could not have known that this once unremarkable man would very quickly become one of Australia's most divisive, hateful and indeed hated politicians.

My greatest regret in this parliament was following convention and shaking Senator Anning's hand after his maiden speech, and I'm sure there are many in this place who would feel the same way. As people will be well aware, it was not in support of his comments but instead a regrettable adherence to polite protocol. Well, manners be damned! It is something that I will never, ever do again. It seems that every time Senator Anning opens his mouth, Australia recoils. I'm very much glad that we're taking such a strong stance today to cut out his extreme, unapologetic and very ignorant views.

For too long now, Australia's leaders have done too little to stand up against racism and divisive comments. In fact, this government has often been happy to pile on; refugees in particular have been its favourite easy target. By not objecting loudly to extremist commentary and by not countering the lies with facts and a reminder of the good that migrants and refugees bring to our proudly multicultural nation, a negative mindset has been allowed to fester and grow. The tolerance of hate speech in our parliaments and sections of our media under the guise of so-called free speech has implied support for the venom that spews out of the alt-Right. John Howard at least saw One Nation and its dangerous appeal to the right wing for the poison it was. This government is still somehow trying to have it both ways.

The Liberal Party has finally and perhaps reluctantly drawn a line in the sand and decided to preference One Nation after Labor. It's still not clear whether this will actually happen in seats where One Nation preferences really matter to them, and, so far, the Nationals aren't prepared to do the same. It seems the government's conservative members still think that pulling to the Right and being some sort of 'One Nation lite' party will work in their favour. Ultimately, they're very wrong. Voters don't want empty pandering. They want leaders to create a strong, prosperous and safe nation. They want solutions. And, where voters are barking up the wrong tree, the answer is to give them the facts, not to indulge their ignorance.

I could not believe it when I saw a recent news item in which Barnaby Joyce urged his party to move to the Right to counter what he saw as an electoral threat from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. He reportedly said his constituents believed there was too much regulation on tree clearing, firearm ownership and pretty much everything they could do on their land. Incredibly, when asked whether those beliefs were correct, Mr Joyce said:

I don't have to believe whether it's right or not. I can just tell you that we lost a seat over it …

His solution was to pander to these sentiments rather than fight them with facts. That's not what leadership is about. Leadership is about bravery in the face of public ignorance, doing and saying what is right and bringing voters with you on matters of national importance.

If you want a cohesive society which welcomes migrants and refugees and which sees the good in others, no matter their differences, you have to talk the talk. Mr Shorten has been late to the party, but he was at least spot-on when he reportedly said:

The dog-whistling by political leaders about immigration and asylum seekers must stop.

The Prime Minister might like to deny that he has used religion to incite fear in the community, but he has certainly used race to do so. Who can forget that, after the medical evacuation bill was passed, the government's first instinct was to shamelessly demonise as murderers and rapists the refugee men and women who might be transferred for medical care.

It is time that we as politicians remembered that what we say actually does matter, not because it might help us at the ballot box but because our words guide the nation. With our words we can either reject hate or give it refuge. We can embrace and welcome cultures or sow fear and suspicion. All of us in this place have an obligation to lead by example and to remember that what we say echoes and helps shape our nation. With every word we utter about religion and race, we create a legacy—a long-term legacy. We must always be mindful of what that legacy will be. With this in mind, Centre Alliance most certainly supports the censure of Senator Anning.

11:14 am

Photo of Peter GeorgiouPeter Georgiou (WA, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak and put on the record that, as Senator Hanson is unwell, I am making the following contribution to the debate on her behalf.

I'd like to welcome the Australian people to the equivalent of a public flogging of an elected member in the Senate. Regardless of how many personal votes Fraser Anning may have received at the 2016 election, let me put on record that he still drew a stronger vote than a number of you sitting in this chamber here today. Just ask Liberal senator for Tasmania Wendy Askew. Senator, you sit here today after receiving zero votes from your Tasmanian constituents. In fact, Senator Askew joins us today as a result of the nepotism that runs deep through the Liberal Party. I've got no doubt your brother will be enjoying his plum job as Australia's consul-general in Chicago. Come to think of it, Fraser Anning polled a stronger number of votes than the Greens senator for New South Wales, Mehreen Faruqi, who received zero votes in the 2016 election from her New South Wales constituents. You, Senator Faruqi, are regarded as a token replacement for Senator Rhiannon. Neither of you received a single vote from the Australian public, but you line up in this chamber hungry for this public flogging of Senator Anning.

Australians were horrified at the murder of 50 people in Christchurch on 15 March this year, and we were horrified to think that these murders were at the hands of an Australian. Many of us thought Australia had witnessed its last mass shooting after the Port Arthur massacre, which resulted in John Howard, rightfully, introducing a ban on semiautomatic weapons throughout this country in 1996. But here we are, 23 years later, having to witness 50 innocent lives being taken at the hands of a crazed lone gunman. Hate, extremism and violence have no place in our democratic, civilised nations. I use this opportunity to reinstate One Nation's commitment to a peaceful rule of law for all, in accordance with our democratic Constitution and acts of parliament.

But, while Senator Anning's comments following the mass killings in New Zealand were untimely and, therefore, deemed highly insensitive, he still maintains a right to his opinion. If One Nation endorses your actions to censure Senator Anning today, our freedom of speech, as elected members of this chamber, will be removed. Who will be the next member of parliament stopped from speaking their thoughts or the thoughts of the people they represent? We refuse to be led like sheep in this chamber and, therefore, we will abstain from voting on this censure motion. Our vote will not contribute to the demise of freedom of speech and nor will it endorse the timing or tone of the comments made by Senator Anning. The exploitation of these murders in New Zealand is offensive and each one of you should be ashamed of the manipulation of the events that day to suit your own agenda. The people of Queensland, not us, will judge Senator Anning, at the ballot box.

Since the tragic event in New Zealand on 15 March, 65 additional terrorist attacks have been recorded across the globe. That's 418 people who have died as a result of terrorism over the last 18 days. Is this the future that politicians in this chamber want for the people of Australia? With more than 600,000 people coming into this country every year for work, permanent residency and education purposes, we have left ourselves vulnerable to the same carnage that is on display in other parts of the world. Only days ago, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement that this government would give an extra $570 million in funding to Australia's counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations. This is an admission that Scott Morrison's government has failed to keep terrorists out of Australia. Let's not forget—who opened the floodgates to the influx of these people coming to the country in the first place? The Labor Party. How many radical Islamic hate preachers have been allowed into Australia over the past decade, while we hear complete silence from Labor and the Greens on the vile language that spews out of their mouths while they indoctrinate and radicalise vulnerable Australians? You create a political witch-hunt when anyone dares question the immigration policy of this nation. The slightest whiff of protectionism in this country by the elites in this chamber sends you into a psychological frenzy.

Governments and elected members have three primary objectives: adhere to the Constitution, manage the economic stability and rule of law in our country and, lastly, stop telling people how to run their lives and businesses. Instead of getting on with the crafting of a robust economic narrative for Australia by drought-proofing our nation with visionary projects like the hybrid version of the Bradfield scheme or establishing ways to bring back manufacturing or cutting power prices with the construction of new coal-fired power plants, they're all here beating their chests. We've treated the people of this country with the same disdain and unworthiness that is thrust upon me and others who dare speak up—the forgotten voices of the nation.

The Australian people have been treated like mushrooms—fed complete BS and been kept in the dark. That is where One Nation steps in. We see the anguish, hurt and pain on the faces of ordinary Australians. We take the time to listen to their troubles and what they have to say. The people of Australia watch you sell your souls and this country out so you can hold your seats in this chamber. What do you say to the generational farmers who have been forced off the land due to the pittance they are being paid for their produce and lack of water which governments have failed to provide? Your actions speak louder than words because you continue flogging our prime agricultural land off to the highest bidder overseas. It's not foreign investment; it's called foreign takeover. What do you say to the homeless who once had no visible presence in our streets? Today more than 100,000 Australians are homeless, yet you bellow from the rafters when we dare to call to redivert the $4.2 billion in foreign aid into helping our own people. You've left the support of our returned defence personnel to the will of God, instead of assisting them to address the mental and physical scars that our wars have caused them. What do you say to the aged pensioners who are stumbling around in the dark, too afraid to use electricity because they're struggling to make ends meet, not even turning on their air conditioners and heaters because they're too scared? Today's censure motion is nothing but a public flogging, and One Nation won't be part of it.

11:22 am

Photo of Tim StorerTim Storer (SA, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak in support of this censure motion. I was shocked and appalled by Senator Anning's disgraceful comments in the wake of the Christchurch tragedy. He is an embarrassment to our country and to this parliament. We must take this opportunity to rise as one and show that he does not speak for Australia, that he does not speak for this Senate. More broadly, it's time to draw a line in the sand. The Islamophobic race baiting and dog whistling engaged in by some politicians, commentators and media outlets must stop. If there's one thing the Christchurch tragedy should teach us, it is that there are real-world consequences to this behaviour.

It's time for those of us with megaphones, those of us in positions of power and influence, to reflect deeply on the impact of our words. We must rise above the politics of religious and racial division and disunity; it has no place in a modern, tolerant, multicultural society. I stand here as a passionate supporter of multicultural Australia. Our diversity and differences are what makes us strong and vibrant, and should be celebrated and embraced. Let us send a message to all those who wish to divide us, to tear us apart, that we are united and proud of our diversity and we will fight like hell to defend it.

11:24 am

Photo of Fraser AnningFraser Anning (Queensland, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

This censure motion against me is a blatant attack on free speech. It is also an exercise in left-wing virtue signalling of the worst kind. Of course, this is exactly the kind of self-righteous left-wing intolerance of alternative views you would expect from an extremist party like the Greens. What is shocking is that it is a supposedly Liberal Prime Minister who is leading the charge, joining hands with Labor and the Greens. The specific reasons for moving a motion to censure me are barely coherent. The motion calls on the Senate to censure me for supposedly inflammatory and divisive comments seeking to attribute blame to the victims of a horrific crime. What inflammatory and divisive comments? What blame did I attribute to the victims? I said nothing of the sort.

Following this shocking attack on two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March, I issued a media statement condemning the shooting and the shooter in the strongest possible terms. However, after putting the immediate blame where it belonged, I looked for contributing causes. I identified that an immigration program that allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand was a key enabler of community violence. The claim that this somehow blames the victims is absurd. My real crime, of course, is that I simply told the truth at a time when the left-wing political and media elites least wanted to hear it.

In the three weeks before the shooting in Christchurch, 120 Christians in Nigeria were shot or hacked to death by Muslims. The tragedy was not reported in a single Australian news outlet that I am aware of. Much closer to home, in the Philippines, in January a cathedral was bombed by Muslims, and 20 innocents attending mass were killed with over 100 injured. Where was the statement from Morrison's government denouncing the killers? Where was the outrage from the others condemning me? Just three days after the Christchurch killings, a Muslim fanatic killed three and wounded five others in a tram in Holland. Again, there was silence from those seeking to censure me now. Since the attack in Christchurch on 15 May there have been 66 new terrorist attacks committed worldwide by Muslims, killing 342 people and injuring many hundreds of others. Since the Islamic attack on the Twin Towers in New York on 11 September 2001, there have been more than 34,000 terrorist attacks conducted in the name of Islam. This is a staggering number.

Once again, we hear the deafening silence on these figures from those moving this censure motion—because, of course, Muslims as perpetrators does not fit their current narrative. Where was the parliament's condolence motion for these victims of Muslim terrorism? Yesterday, the government expressed solidarity with Muslim victims of one New Zealand attack, but the growing list of thousands of civilian victims of Muslim terrorism is ignored. Has everyone forgotten the scores of heinous terrorist attacks committed by Muslim fanatics, here in Australia and in France, Germany, Britain, Spain and the United States and elsewhere? Australians and New Zealanders should be able to both condemn the attacks in Christchurch but also see them in perspective and discuss related factors without being shouted down or subject to parliamentary censure.

Following my comments on the Christchurch shooting, I was a victim of a physical attack in Melbourne. Even though this only involved a young adult with an egg, it was nevertheless an example of politically motivated violence. While those who don't like me may have been delighted to see me attacked, we might have expected a statesmanlike response from the Prime Minister deploring such action—not at all. Prime Minister Morrison said that I should be charged. He was reported as saying that—although I had been a victim of politically motivated violence—I should be subject to 'the full force of the law'.

Yesterday, I asked Minister Birmingham if the government backed the Prime Minister's shocking statement that I have no place in parliament, and his apparent lack of concern for politically motivated violence against me. The answer was a resounding yes. It may have only been an idiot with an egg this time, but there is a continuum which begins with this and ends with a fanatic with a gun or a bomb. But, apparently, according to Prime Minister Morrison, that's okay as long as the victims are conservatives.

The Prime Minister loves to recycle his predecessor's mantra that Australia is the most successful multicultural society in the world. What a ridiculous statement. By what criteria is this conclusion arrived at? It is an established fact that diversity undermines cohesion, increases alienation and is a key driver of increasing crime. It is also an established fact that if you import those who despise our values and beliefs and whose religion enjoins them to violence, then this sort of diversity leads to increasing violence and terrorism.

This censure motion against me is an attempt to deflect attention from the government's and the opposition's bipartisan commitment to reckless, indiscriminate immigration. They have a failed policy which is importing Muslims and Sudanese wholesale, despite the proven track records of both groups in causing crime and terrorism. In response to the Christchurch attack, the extreme Left, exemplified by the Greens, has seized on an opportunity to try to smear everyone right of centre as potentially violent racists. However, what is truly shocking is that the Prime Minister, Mr Morrison, seems to have bought into that as well.

Advocating politically or religiously motivated violence is an indicator of extremism, not the quiet, reasonable and peaceful advocacy for a change in our immigration program before European Australians become a minority in our own country. Now innocent conservatives and even the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation are being accused of guilt for mass murder on the flimsy basis that the killer's manifesto opposed Islamic immigration to Europe. To blame conservatives for Christchurch, as is now happening, is as irrational as blaming socialist democrats for communist mass murder.

Apparent government sanctions to this left-wing exploitation of the Christchurch killings has abruptly tilted the Australian political landscape to the far Left. It has created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion of anyone who dissents from politically correct, left-wing orthodoxy. The idea that anyone with right-wing views might somehow be likely to undertake an attack similar to the attack by the deranged psychopath in New Zealand is just absurd. It's sinister and Orwellian. That a supposedly Liberal Prime Minister would buy into this extreme, left-inspired witch-hunt is frankly shocking and just shows how far to the left the Liberal Party has gone.

However, what fair-minded Australians will find most offensive about Prime Minister Morrison's response to my comments and about his government's support of this censure motion is not simply the left-wing self-righteousness but the gross hypocrisy. This year, the Morrison government is giving $43 million in aid to the Palestinian territories and another $50 million in aid to Pakistan, despite the fact that the Muslim governments of both countries sponsor terrorist attacks on their neighbours. His government is giving nearly $100 million in Australian taxpayers' dollars to Muslim countries whose governments are killing innocent Israelis and Indians, and he has the nerve to condemn me.

This censure motion against me is actually a reflection of the creeping neosocialism that is gradually eliminating freedom of conscience in Australia. This government refused to replace section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and refused to rein in the commissars of the Human Rights Commission. Now, along with Labor and the Greens, they seek to condemn someone for simply speaking the truth to power.

Saying that free speech is conditional on staying within the bounds that those in power stipulate, as Minister Birmingham said yesterday, is actually to say that there is no free speech at all. What is being censured here is not really me; it is the right of anyone to say something that those in power disagree with. If, as a senator, I am not allowed to express my views, what chance do everyday Australians have to say what they think? This left-wing, virtue-signalling censure motion is also a metaphor for everything that is wrong with this government. Sir Robert Menzies would be rolling in his grave.

11:33 am

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

If anyone ever wondered why this man should not be in this place and why this censure motion should go ahead, they've just heard it. You are a disgrace. Don't smile at me. Don't smile at the rest of us. People lost their lives, and you think it's a joke. You think it's a joke. What an absolute disgrace. He has no right to have the privilege to stand in this place and spout that hatred and that racism, and to be an apologist for terrorism and for murder. He is not fit to represent Australians in this place. He's not fit to be able to stand here, with the privileges that the role of senator comes with, and feed hate, division and horror.

We know where this leads because we've seen it. We saw it on 15 March in New Zealand. We know where it leads, because we've heard the names of the 50 people who died. This man—I'm not even going to call him 'Senator Anning', because he doesn't deserve it—has come in here and doubled down. He must be suspended. He does not deserve another moment of privilege in this place. He is not fit to represent the Australian people. He is not fit to call himself Australian. He is not us.

11:35 am

Photo of Peter Whish-WilsonPeter Whish-Wilson (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to get a few of my thoughts on the record today. We've talked a lot, and rightly so, about the role the polity—this chamber, the other place—has played in the rise of the politics of division, hate speech and race-baiting. I want to comment a little bit on the role that the media in this country has also played in this.

It's quite clear, from Senator Anning's statements in his first speech when he talked in here about 'the final solution', that a policy adviser had said to him—and these are Senator Anning's own words—that he needed something that disgusting and that shocking to get his speech covered in the media. Since I have been here, I've noticed this trend towards outrage, towards shock. I noticed it with my previous Tasmanian colleague Senator Lambie. She was one of the first people in this place to race-bait, to talk about banning burqas and Muslim immigration. I've seen it degenerate over the years. It's about getting a headline. It's about their personal gain. It's about politics.

When I reflect on the role that the media plays in this, I recall what my previous Leader of the Australian Greens said when he talked about the 'hate media' in this country. I will call it out. There are Rupert Murdoch publications in this country, like The Daily Telegraph, that everybody knows, black and white, have traded on dog-whistling around Muslim immigration, around Muslim terrorism, around immigration, and so on and so forth. We've seen it in recent weeks, with Sky TV. How do they get people to come in day after day, hour after hour, to sing off the same song sheet and say the same words about the Greens? How do these Murdoch mouthpieces operate so effectively in this country?

I'm sorry, but we absolutely should be reflecting on the role the polity has played in race-baiting and the rise of hate speech, and ultimately the grooming and radicalisation of an Australian man who became a white terrorist—and I use those two words very carefully because they're often used in the hate media in discussions about Muslims. This man was groomed and radicalised, here and overseas, and the media played an important role in that.

So, while we should rightfully be reflecting on our role and how we can improve it, and always calling out race-baiting and hate speech within our own ranks, it is absolutely essential that the media, especially elements of the Murdoch media, do exactly the same thing in this country. They need to be called out every time they race-bait. They need to be called out for the role that they've played, and they absolutely need to change that as well.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm going to put the motion moved by Senators Cormann and Wong. I did have a request from a senator—Senator Bernardi, who's not in the chamber—to put clause (d) separately. I'll look to the Clerk to see what I should do, given that I've had the request but the senator is not present. In deference, I'll put the request separately. I have let Senator Bernardi know this is going to a vote now. Here is Senator Bernardi: paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) are to be put, in accordance with your request for (d) to be put separately. He has acknowledged that. The question is that paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) in notice of motion No. 2 in the names of Senators Cormann and Wong be agreed to.

Question agreed to.

Now I'll put paragraph (d) of that motion. The question is that paragraph (d) be agreed to.

Question agreed to.

11:40 am

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

I think it might be a good thing for the record to note that no senator voted against the operative censure provision in that motion.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Yes. I heard no voice against paragraph (d).

Photo of Cory BernardiCory Bernardi (SA, Australian Conservatives) Share this | | Hansard source

May I record, for the record, that I was opposed to (a), (b) and (c)?

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

So recorded. Senator Burston, are you raising a point of order?

Photo of Brian BurstonBrian Burston (NSW, United Australia Party) Share this | | Hansard source

No. For the record, I think it should be noted that One Nation abstained from that vote.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

It wasn't a recorded vote, so it only reflects those who were in the chamber.