Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Australian Senate condemn 'atrocious' Fraser Anning

The Australian Senate has censured controversial senator Fraser Anning after he blamed Muslim immigration to New Zealand for the Christchurch terror attack. 

And the condemnation has been echoed in New Zealand, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday calling Anning's statements on Christchurch "atrocious".

Earlier this week, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters described Anning to Sky News Australia as a "four-flushing, jingoistic moron" and an "absolute, democratic aberration". 

When asked on Wednesday if she agreed with Peters's remarks, Ardern said the Deputy Prime Minister has language that is very unique to him, "but in terms of the sentiment, I'd find it hard to disagree". 

"I've said that I thought that what was said was appalling, particularly in the circumstances of which New Zealand found itself - I thought the statements were atrocious and the person who said them, likewise."

Australian politicians from across the political divide also collectively condemned Anning in Canberra on Wednesday, with Senate President Scott Ryan initiating a censure motion against the One Nation senator. 

Fraser Anning.
Fraser Anning. Photo credit: AAP

Liberal Mathias Corman and Labor's Penny Wong were scathing in their denunciation of Anning, with Corman telling the Senate it was "important that the Parliament is unified in its condemnation of these appalling comments that have been made". 

Wong argued there was a difference between free speech and hate speech, and accused the Queensland senator of embracing the latter to victim-blame, rather than pointing to the person accused of carrying out the March 15 attack that left 50 dead. 

"While those injured were being treated, this senator sought to further fan the flames of division. How pathetic. How shameful," she said. 

Anning attracted censure for issuing a statement in the wake of the shooting, saying the "real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program that allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place".

Widespread criticism followed, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling the senator's comments on the shootings "disgusting", while in New Zealand, National MP Chris Bishop told Anning on Twitter to "f**k off".

The senator's rhetoric even prompted a teenage boy, Will Connolly, to slap an egg onto the back of Anning's head. The enraged senator immediately turned around and punched the boy in the face, sparking further condemnation. 

Anning's election to the Australian Senate was controversial, as despite only getting 19 votes in the 2016 election, he was the next eligible candidate for party One Nation after one of its senators had to step down.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson had ruled out supporting the censure motion against Anning, but it's understood she abstained. 


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