Australian politician Teena McQueen ridiculed for accusing Jacinda Ardern of 'copying us'

An Australian politician was laughed at on live TV after claiming Jacinda Ardern copied Australia's gun reforms in her crackdown since the Christchurch shooting. 

Teena McQueen - the federal vice-president of the Liberal Party in Australia, the same party as Prime Minister Scott Morrison - made the claim on the ABC network's Q&A TV show on Monday night. 

"We did that years ago," she said, when asked about the New Zealand Government last week banning military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles in the wake of an attack that left 50 dead. 

"The Liberal Party did that years ago with John Howard," she added, referring to the former Australian Prime Minister who led the development of strict gun control reforms after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. 

McQueen's comments were met with laughter from the crowd, but she responded by doubling down: "You think that's funny? John Howard did do that. Jacinda Ardern is copying exactly."

She then went on to question the legitimacy of Ardern's leadership, pointing to the 2017 election when Ardern's Labour Party did not have enough seats to form a government and to form coalition with New Zealand First and the Greens. 

"Can I remind you, Jacinda Ardern is only there because she formed an alliance with Winston Peters? I think everyone forgets that," McQueen told the crowd. 

Teena McQueen.
Teena McQueen. Photo credit: Screenshot / ABC Q&A

McQueen was told by a panellist she lives "in a bubble" after making other claims that white supremacy is "not growing" in Australia. That's despite the alleged Christchurch shooter, a suspected white supremacist, being Australian. 

The politician also defended controversial British commentator and former editor of right-wing Breitbart News, Milo Yiannopoulos, who had his Australian visa revoked last week after comments he made over the Christchurch attack. 

He blamed the attack on "extremist leftism and barbaric, alien religious cultures", adding that extreme right-wing killers "get pushed to the far-right by the left".

McQueen said Yiannopoulos's comments were taken too seriously and instead targeted the Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale: "The vile language used against conservatives is disgraceful."

She was interrupted by Labor MP Tony Burke, who said it was wrong to imply that "somebody who is standing up against racism is guilty of the same sort of hate speech as the people who have allowed the hatred that we've seen in the last couple of weeks."

Senior members of McQueen’s Liberal Party have "disowned" her after the Q&A appearance, including party president Nick Smith, The Sydney Morning Herald reported

Ardern has received a flood of praise for her empathetic handling of the Christchurch attack, including an image of her being projected onto the world's tallest building over the weekend in Dubai as a show of thanks. 

But McQueen wasn't the only person this week to question the 38-year-old leader. Writing for The Australian, economist Judith Sloan said Ardern only came to be in her position through "extraordinary selectiveness".