Fraser Anning during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Gary Ramage
Fraser Anning during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Gary Ramage

Senator’s ‘race baiting’ Bill condemned

A "RACE-baiting" Bill for a plebiscite to ban Muslim immigration and restrict non-European migration submitted by Katter's Australian Party Senator Fraser Anning has been rejected without support in the Senate, as it received condemnation from all sides of the Parliament.

The Government joined Labor in strongly condemning Katter's Australian Party Senator Fraser Anning's "race-baiting" Bill for a plebiscite to ban Muslim immigration and restrict non-European migration.

Government Senate leader Mathias Cormann said the government would "strongly oppose" the Bill.

"We do not want to see it proceed in any way. Australia has a very proud track record for many, many decades now of welcoming people to Australia from all corners of the world," Senator Cormann said.

"That has made Australia a richer, stronger, better country.

"We do not believe we in Australia should go back to what is reflected in this Bill.

"It is important for the Senate to reflect that very firmly today."

Labor earlier took an unprecedented move to block Katter's Australian Party Senator Fraser Anning from introducing a "race-baiting" Bill to create a plebiscite banning Muslim immigration and restricting non-European migration.

Senator Anning, who came under heavy criticism from both sides of Parliament and Pauline Hanson for his maiden speech in which he praised the White Australia policy and invoked the "final solution", will attempt to introduce the legislation this morning.

The plebiscite would ask if there should be a substantial cut in migration numbers, if the migration policy should be change to favour European migration and if Muslim Migration should be banned.

Senator Anning said he was not a bigot, despite seeking to discriminate against people of a particular religion.

"It's not bigoted at all. To give the Australian people a say on who comes here, I can't see how that's bigoted at all," he said.

Fraser Anning during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Gary Ramage
Fraser Anning during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Gary Ramage

He would not say whether he personally wanted to restrict immigration from Africa, Asia and South America, but that he was just saying it would be predominantly European.

"I'll let the Australian people have a vote," he said.

Labor will oppose the bill being introduced at its first reading, which is highly unusual as independents are traditional allowed to introduce legislation even if it will be voted down.

Queensland Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm said "race baiting" had no place in the Australian Parliament.

"Senator Anning is an accidental Senator and this behaviour will be condemned by Labor at every opportunity," he said.

"Australia is a proud multicultural destination and Labor will continue to sell the benefits of multiculturalism across Queensland and the country."

Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale said: "the quicker this bill is dealt with and consigned to the dust bin of history the better".

Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch said the Bill was "a foul thing, just wrong".

Senator Anning said for the past 45 years Prime Ministers had been "jamming immigrants into lots and lots of electorates" - with the timing referring to the end of the White Australia policy.

"They've never consulted the Australian people on their feelings on this," he said.

"All I'm asking for, and I can't see why it shouldn't be able to be done, is to give the people a say in who comes to this country. A plebiscite will do that."

He admitted he expected the bill would be voted down.



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