Fraser Anning is an Australian senator who has represented Queensland since 2017. Anning made headlines around the world after he tweeted his reaction to the New Zealand shooting. Brenton Tarrant, a white nationalist Australian terrorist who livestreamed his massacre of dozens of people at a Christchurch mosque, left behind a disturbing manifesto in which he ranted about “white genocide” and “invaders.” But Anning has argued that white nationalists shouldn’t be blamed for the shooting. Anning’s views have sparked outrage and have even gotten him egged; you can read more about the egging here.
After the shooting, Anning tweeted, “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?” Anning also released a statement in which he said, “while Muslims may have been the victims today, they are usually the perpetrators” of violence.
Politicians in Australia and in other nations quickly condemned Anning’s remarks. Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, said:
“The remarks by Senator Fraser Anning blaming the murderous attacks by a violent, rightwing, extremist terrorist in New Zealand on immigration are disgusting. Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian parliament.”
Here’s what you need to know about Fraser Anning:
1. He Called Islam a ‘Savage Faith’ & Said the ‘Real Cause’ of the Shooting Was New Zealand’s Immigration Program
Anning released a statement after the New Zealand shooting, in which he said the country’s immigration policy was the real reason for the deadly shooting. He wrote:
“As always, left-wing politicians and the media will rush to claim that the causes of today’s shootings lie with gun laws or those who hold nationalist views but this is all cliched nonsense. The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”
Anning also wrote that Muslims are killing people on an “industrial scale” around the world in the name of their faith. He continued, “The truth is that Islam is not like any other faith. It is the religious equivalent of fascism. And just because the followers of this savage belief were not the killers in this instance does not make them blameless.”
2. He Famously Called for a ‘Final Solution’ on Immigration
During his first speech on the Senate floor, Anning talked about his views on immigration and culture. He began by describing an older Australia which he was nostalgic for:
“Fifty years ago Australia was a cohesive, predominantly Anglo-Celtic nation. Most people thought of themselves as Christian of some sort, although most of us didn’t go to church all that often. Everyone, from the cleaners to the captains of industry, had a shared vision of who we were as a people and our place in the world…Both sides of politics recognized the importance of our manufacturing industries as well as our farming and mining. Both parties recognised the importance of our predominantly European identity.”
Anning said that a “European-based immigration system” was the best answer for Australia. He called for a “final solution” to the country’s immigration woes, saying,
“The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, a popular vote…Who we allow to come here will determine what sort of nation we will have in the future, so therefore this isn’t the right of any one government to decide. It’s too important for that. Instead, we need a plebiscite to allow the Australian people to decide whether they want wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the Third World and, in particular, whether they want any Muslims or whether they want to return to the predominantly European immigration policy of the pre-Whitlam consensus.”
3. He Was Criticized for Using Taxpayer Funds to Attend a Rally Involving Neo-Nazis
In January, Anning came under fire after he used taxpayer funds to fly home from a far-right rally in Melbourne. Anning said that the rally was not extremist and that it was being held to protest “African violence.” But his critics pointed out that some attendees at the event were giving Nazi salutes. Politicians on the left condemned the events, and some singled out Anning for criticism too. Anning also took photos and appeared in a video alongside the rally’s leaders, Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson.
4. He Said a Program Aimed at Protecting LGBT Students Amounted to ‘Child Abuse’
“Safe Schools” is a program in the Australian school system designed to protect LGBT students from bullying. The program has been criticized by some who feel that it is “sexualizing” children. Anning is one of the program’s leading critics. In 2018, he made a speech on the Senate floor in which he slammed the program, saying:
“Fifty years ago, if a communist pervert had proposed that our nation’s children be forced to listen to sexually deviant propaganda, they would probably have been strung up. Today, this disgusting garbage is called the Safe Schools program, and its leading exponents hold comfortable government funded positions.”
5. Anning & His Wife Have 2 Daughters, Who Have Both Settled in the US
In a speech on the Senate floor, Anning described his upbringing and his family. He said that he had grown up in rural Queensland and had studied in Brisbane, before returning home to marry the “girl next door,” a young woman named Fiona. He and Fiona went on to have two daughters. They raised their daughters in regional towns and Anning worked a series of manual labor jobs to support the family; he said:
“Fiona and I spent our working lives as our children were growing up in and around regional towns over the years covering the length and breadth of the state. I’ve been a grazier, a builder’s labourer, a pilot, a light aircraft manufacturer, a gas industry worker and a hotelier.” The family eventually opened a hotel in Gladstone, which they ran until Anning won a seat in the Senate.
Anning’s daughters and their husbands have moved to the United States, where they are raising their own families.