CANBERRA – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has labelled Australian Senator Fraser Anning a “repeat offender” when it comes to racism.
According to Xinhua news agency, Anning has been widely condemned for joining neo-Nazi activists at a right-wing protest in Melbourne’s St Kilda Beach on Saturday.
The Queensland senator has confirmed he used taxpayers’ money for flights to Melbourne and for a commonwealth car.
“I… condemn Senator Anning for attending the racist rally in St Kilda and associating himself with extreme and offensive racist views that have no place in our society,” Morrison told reporters on Monday evening.
“He is a repeat offender on these issues. Australians are not anti-migrant nor racist.” The rally was organised to protest Melbourne’s alleged African gang problem.
Morrison said “genuine concerns held by fair-minded Australians” on migration should not be used to cover up for “hateful, ugly racist agendas.”
The opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) has called on the government not to have any deals with Anning in exchange for his vote in the Senate in the wake of the controversy. However, a spokesman for the prime minister said Morrison would “not be lectured to” by the ALP.
“The government has rightly called out as repugnant the views that Senator Anning has associated himself with,” they told News Corp Australia on Tuesday.
“Labor’s attempt to now try and extract some form of political windfall is cynical and shows bad faith.”
According to records, Anning has voted with the government on 90 per cent of legislation during his time as a senator.
“If Scott Morrison is serious about standing up to this sort of extremist views that Mr Anning is supporting, he should be making it clear he is not going to be doing deals with him. No more deals to get legislation through,” Penny Wong, the ALP leader in the Senate, said on Monday night.