Australian parliament spreading 'political climate of hate' - Senator

An Australian senator says her parliament has inflamed racism in the country, with politicians openly encouraging xenophobia.

New South Wales Senator Mehreen Faruqi told The AM Show she faced a lot of abuse for being a Muslim woman in parliament, rather than for any of her policies.

"In recent years I think Muslim women, in particular, have become real targets of the so-called trolls who attack you on social media.

"I've received phone calls to my office, threatening, abusive calls, handwritten letters can you believe it and mainly the message is the same.

"It's not about what I say to protect public education or for women's rights, or for animal welfare, it's inevitably about who I am, what I look like, where I come from."

Dr Faruqi said some members of the Australian parliament openly fan the flames of racism, while others stand by and do nothing.

"We have others that stand by and say nothing, others who race bait.

"It has created a climate of the other, of someone who doesn't look like the mainstream Australian, it's caused a bit of hate."

Australia's politicians have in the past faced accusations of racism for stunts like wearing a burqa to Parliament, or saying the Christchurch terror attack was due to Muslim immigration.

Pauline Hanson, who wore the burqa to Parliament, was widely derided for the stunt, but her motion to declare "it's okay to be white" in Parliament got 28 votes in favour.

The phrase has been associated with white supremacy. Hanson's party, Pauline Hanson's One Nation supports Donald Trump's travel ban aimed at Muslim countries. She remains in Parliament after the 2019 Australian federal election.

Fraser Anning, who said the terror attack was due to Muslim immigration, lost his Senate seat at the 2019 election.   


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