Queensland senator Fraser Anning was the only parliamentarian to turn up to a fascist demonstration in Melbourne in early January. Organised by leaders of the far right white supremacist group United Patriots Front to “reclaim St Kilda” from “African gangs”, the protest, which included people doing Nazi salutes and displaying Nazi paraphernalia, was the latest attempt to whip up racist hatred towards the African community.
Anning is no stranger to far right events. Last year he appeared with Canadian Lauren Southern, who regularly rails against feminism, immigration and Islam. In October, he spoke at the anti-Islam group Australian Liberty Alliance’s “Rally for Free Speech” because, he wrote in a post, he has been the victim of the “ongoing censorship of conservative political commentators”.
In November 2017, Anning was declared elected to the Senate as a member of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, after a recount following the disqualification of Malcolm Roberts on citizenship grounds.
Just before being sworn in, he split from One Nation and joined Katter’s Australia Party. After a short stint, he was dumped by Katter, who briefly defended Anning’s “final solution” maiden speech. He now sits in parliament as an independent.
In defending his attendance at the fascist rally, Anning said he was “representing the concerns of Queenslanders”. He told Channel 10: “ [Queenslanders] are very concerned with what is happening in Melbourne and Victoria with the African gangs, so it has now spread to Queensland … The Queensland people are quite concerned about that, and so are the people I represent”.
Does Anning represent Queensland? He was number three on the One Nation ticket and got only 19 personal votes. Sure, One Nation has some support, but it is limited to rural areas out west and regional towns in the north. And Anning isn’t a member of One Nation. He represents no-one and has zero chance of being re-elected.
Yet his claim that African gangs are a threat is part of a national racist offensive spearheaded by Hanson, home affairs minister Peter Dutton, backbench Liberal MP Tony Abbott and Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper. They use every opportunity to fabricate a “law and order crisis” and “concern over Sudanese gangs”.