An Australian crossbench senator has invoked the term “the final solution” in an inflammatory speech calling for a plebiscite asking voters whether they want to end all immigration by Muslims and non-English speaking people “from the third world”.
Fraser Anning, formerly of the far-right Pauline Hanson One Nation party, and now a member of the Katter’s Australia party, used his maiden speech in the Senate to call for “a plebiscite to allow the Australian people to decide whether they want wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the third world, and particularly whether they want any Muslims”.
His comments were widely condemned on Wednesday. Malcolm Turnbull said he condemned “racism” and said Australia was the most successful multicultural society in the world. Cabinet minister Mitch Fifield said the speech was deeply regrettable, telling Nine Network: “I thought we had moved beyond this in the parliament. Australia is a warm and open nation.”
Anning also invoked the white Australia policy, suggesting Australians may want “to return to the predominately European immigration policy of the pre-Whitlam consensus”. The white Australia policy, which restricted non-European immigration, ran from 1901 until it began to be dismantled in the late 1960s.
He said neither the former Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam, nor any subsequent government, had asked Australians what kind of immigration they wanted. “What we do need a plebiscite for is to decide who comes here.”
Anning declared on Tuesday the reasons “for ending all further Muslim immigration are both compelling and self-evident”.
“The record of Muslims who have already come to this country in terms of rates of crime, welfare dependency and terrorism are the worst of any migrant and vastly exceed another immigrant group,” he said.
“The majority of Muslims in Australia of working age do not work and exist on welfare. Muslims in New South Wales and Victoria are three times more likely than other groups to be convicted of crimes.”
“We have black African Muslim gangs terrorising Melbourne, we have Isis-sympathising Muslims trying to go overseas to try and fight for Isis and while all Muslims are not terrorists, certainly all terrorists these days are Muslims.
“So why would anyone want to bring more of them here?”