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William Fraser Anning (born 14 October 1949) is an Australian politician who was a senator for Queensland from 10 November 2017 to 30 June 2019.[1] Third on the One Nation list in the 2016 Federal Election, he was elected to the Senate after a special recount was triggered by the removal of One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts. Anning chose not to join One Nation in the Senate, sitting instead as an independent until June 2018, when he joined Katter's Australian Party (KAP) as its first senator. Anning was expelled by Bob Katter’s Party in October 2018 for his views on race and immigration.[2] Anning sat again as an independent, until registration of Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party was granted in April 2019. He failed to get re-elected to the Senate in the 2019 Federal Election, when standing under his own party’s banner.

Fraser Anning
Fraser Anning on The Unshackled Waves.jpg
Anning in 2018
Leader of Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party
Assumed office
2 April 2019[citation needed]
Preceded byParty established
Senator for Queensland
In office
10 November 2017 – 30 June 2019
Preceded byMalcolm Roberts
Personal details
Born
William Fraser Anning

(1949-10-14) 14 October 1949 (age 69)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
NationalityAustralian
Political partyFraser Anning's Conservative National Party (2019–present)
Other political
affiliations
One Nation (1997–2003; 2014–2018)
Katter's Australian (2018)
Independent (until 1997; 2018–2019)
Spouse(s)Fiona Anning
ResidenceGladstone, Queensland, Australia
OccupationHotel owner
(Self-employed)
Sheep and Cattle farmer
(Self-employed)
ProfessionGrazier
Businessman
Politician
Military service
AllegianceCommonweath of Australia
Branch/serviceAustralian Army Reserve
Years of service1969–1973[1]
Unit49th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment

Anning holds far-right, anti-immigration and anti-Muslim views,[3][4] and has been criticised for his use of the Nazi euphemism for the Holocaust, when he proposed a plebiscite to be the "final solution" to "the immigration problem" in his maiden speech. Anning also generated controversy for his statements shortly after the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, in which he blamed the attacks on "the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate".[5][6]

The White Rose Society, researchers, and ABC News have detailed the white supremacist links of some of Anning’s closest advisers. His entourage has included convicted criminals and extremists such as Neil Erikson and members of the militant white supremacist group True Blue Crew, whose members and supporters have been linked to right-wing terrorism.[7]

Contents

Personal life and family historyEdit

Anning was born to W. Henry Anning and his wife, who owned the family cattle station at Wetherby.

Anning grew up in north-west Queensland on Wetherby Station, one of the Anning family's pastoral properties near Richmond. His great-grandfather was Charles Cumming Stone Anning, a British pastoral squatter who migrated to Australia in the mid-19th century. Charles and several of his adult sons established several properties in the area north of Hughenden.[8] The Anning family was involved in frontier conflicts taking land from local Aboriginal people. In response to attacks on their cattle, the Annings would attack Aboriginal campsites and capture adolescent boys who survived to use them as labour on their cattle and sheep stations.[9] The Annings occasionally requested the services of local Native Police paramilitary units to assist in removing Aboriginal people.[10]

Anning and his wife own a number of hotels and live in Gladstone. They have two daughters.[11] Anning is a Catholic, but not a regular churchgoer.[12]

Political careerEdit

Anning holds strongly anti-abortion views. He opposes same-sex marriage and was one of twelve senators who voted against the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017, which made same-sex marriage legal in Australia.[13] In 2017, when Cory Bernardi moved a motion opposing Medicare funding of gender-selective abortion, Anning was one of ten senators who voted for the motion, which was defeated with 36 votes against.[14][15]

On 22 March 2018 Anning announced that he would support the Turnbull Government's proposed company tax cuts.[16][17]

Anning introduced a private members' bill calling for less stringent import laws for mace, pepper spray and tasers, to "allow women to defend themselves". It was supported by David Leyonhjelm, Peter Georgiou, Cory Bernardi and Brian Burston, but rejected by both major parties and the Greens.[18]

On 4 June 2018 Anning joined Katter's Australian Party, becoming the party's first senator;[19] however, he was expelled in October 2018 for his inflammatory rhetoric concerning immigration.[20]

In 2018 Anning described the perpetrators of attacks on South African farms as "subhuman",[21] also claiming that a state-orchestrated "genocide" was underway in South Africa.[22]

Anning stated in a Senate speech that he believed Safe Schools was "sexually deviant propaganda" and undermined "the white family". He criticised the curriculum as "gender fluidity garbage".[23]

On 5 January 2019 Anning attended a far-right rally in Melbourne led by Blair Cottrell, founder of the United Patriots Front.[24][25][26][27]

In January 2019 he began the process with the Australian Electoral Commission(AEC) to register a new political party, called "Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party" with a registered abbreviation of "The Conservative Nationals".[28] After the proposal to register that abbreviation was withdrawn, the AEC granted formal registration on 2 April 2019.[29]

Zack Newton, an electoral officer on Senator Anning’s staff, was reported by the ABC as saying in early April 2019 that it was “Amusing to think I went from shitposting at home and now I'm shitposting in parliament, but here I am lmao,”[30]

One NationEdit

In 1998, he stood as a One Nation candidate for the lower house division of Fairfax at that year's federal election.[31]

Anning was third on the One Nation senate ticket in Queensland at the 2016 federal election. He gained just 19 below-the-line first-preference votes under the optional preferential voting system.[32] Due to its high statewide count, One Nation elected two senators in Queensland at the 2016 election – party leader Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts. In October 2017, during the parliamentary eligibility crisis, the Court of Disputed Returns ruled Roberts was ineligible to be elected to the Senate due to his failure to renounce his British citizenship.[33] The following month, on 10 November, Anning was declared elected in place of Roberts following a special recount.[34] Prior to his elevation to the Senate, he was facing bankruptcy legal action due to money owed to the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. This could have made him ineligible to sit in parliament, but the case was withdrawn.[1]

Upon his swearing in to the Senate on 13 November 2017, Anning was vouched for (a parliamentary custom indicating that the new member is who he claims to be)[35] by two crossbenchers from other parties: Cory Bernardi (Australian Conservatives) and David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democrats).[36] Later on the same day, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson issued a media release saying that Anning had "abandoned" the party to sit as an independent "until something else comes along".[37] Anning responded that "she [Hanson] made my position pretty much untenable with her conditions."[38] On 16 November, it was reported that neither Anning nor Hanson had formally made their intentions clear to the Senate chamber regarding his party status, and he therefore remained a One Nation senator in the eyes of the Senate. It was also unclear whether Hanson intended to expel Anning solely from the parliamentary group or the wider organisational party as well.[39] On 15 January 2018, Anning advised the Senate President that he would henceforth sit as an independent.[40] On 5 February 2018, he formed a voting bloc with Bernardi and Leyonhjelm.[41]

Maiden speechEdit

On 14 August 2018 Anning delivered his maiden speech to the Senate. In it, he called for a plebiscite to reintroduce the White Australia Policy, especially with regard to excluding Muslims. Anning went on to criticise the Safe Schools Coalition Australia, as "gender fluidity garbage" and "cultural Marxism".[42] He also condemned what he described as the abuse of the external affairs power of the Australian constitution, and spoke in support of a fundamental right of civilians to own firearms, and the Bradfield Scheme irrigation proposal.[43]

His speech included a reference to a "final solution"—the phrase used by the Nazi Party to refer to the preparation and execution of the Holocaust,[44] when he said “The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, a popular vote.”[45] Anning claimed that his comments were taken out of context, that he had used the phrase to introduce the last of six policies he proposed about immigration. His comments were condemned across the Parliament, including by the Labor Party, the Liberals, the Nationals, the Greens, Pauline Hanson's One Nation and the Centre Alliance, among other crossbenchers in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. He has refused to apologise for his comments.[46] Pauline Hanson said she was appalled by Anning's comments and described them as "straight from Goebbels' handbook".[47] However, Anning's party leader Bob Katter described it as "a magnificent speech, solid gold" and said he "1000 percent supports" Anning.[48] Anning was expelled from Katter’s party two months later.[20]

Christchurch mosque shootings and egg incidentEdit

Anning was sharply criticised for his comments about the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, in which 51 Muslim worshippers were killed. He claimed that immigration of "Muslim fanatics" led to the attacks, and that "while Muslims may have been victims today, usually they are the perpetrators". Anning also stated that the massacre "highlights...the growing fear within our community...of the increasing Muslim presence."[49][50] The comments received international attention and were overwhelmingly criticised as being insensitive and racist, and sympathetic to the views of the perpetrator. As of 18 March 2019, a petition calling for his expulsion from the Australian parliament had amassed 1.2 million signatures, although the ability the for the Senate to expel a senator was removed with the passage of the Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 into law.[51][52]

On 16 March, Anning was struck by an egg on the back of his head by 17-year-old William Connolly while speaking to media and his supporters in a disused industrial warehouse in the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin. Anning subsequently punched Connolly twice in the face. Connolly was then tackled by several of Anning's supporters, including United Patriots Front leader Neil Erikson, one of whom held the youth in a choke hold until police arrived and took the teenager away. The boy was taken into custody by police, but was released without charge, while they launched an investigation into the violence.[53]

On the day following the incident, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison criticised Anning, arguing that "the full force of the law" should be applied to the senator.[54] A fundraiser was started to support Connolly's legal fees and "to buy more eggs", claiming to have raised over $10,000 in under 24 hours.[55] Connolly said he would give the money raised to the victims' families.[56] The money was held by a law firm acting without fee and on 27 May Connolly announced that a total of $99,922 had been donated to two funds providing for the victims of the Christchurch shooting.[57]

The police announced the completion of their investigation three weeks after the incident, saying that Anning would not be charged as his actions had been in self-defence, and that Connolly had received an official caution. However, a man who allegedly kicked Connolly several times while he was held down was charged with assault.[58]

Fraser Anning's Conservative National PartyEdit

On 2 April 2019, Senator Anning's party Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party was registered by the Australian Electoral Commission.[29][59] Anning said he would “be announcing candidates across most lower house seats" and "running a Senate team in every state" for the 2019 election.[60] Two parties, the Australian Conservatives and The Nationals objected to the name, arguing it was too similar to theirs and would cause confusion for voters. However, the AEC said the use of "Fraser" and "Anning" in the party's name was "sufficient to aurally and visually distinguish the party's name and abbreviation from other names and abbreviations on the ballot paper". There were similar objections to the request to adopt the abbreviation “The Conservative Nationals”. Registration was only granted following the withdrawal of that proposal.[29]

On 26 April 2019, during the 2019 Federal Election campaign, Anning used the site of the 2005 Cronulla race riots in Sydney to announce his party's candidates for New South Wales. A 19-year-old supporter of Anning was arrested and charged with assault and intimidation after being involved in an altercation with members of the media immediately after the announcement, allegedly punching a photographer and abusing a journalist. Video footage shows the young man repeatedly punching the photographer, who sustained injury.[61][62] The assailant was a member of the militant white supremacist group True Blue Crew, which has been linked to terrorism.[7]

Anning lost his Senate seat in the 2019 election.[63]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Remeikis, Amy (27 September 2017). "One Nation's next-in-line senator mired in legal proceedings since April 2016". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 November 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  2. ^ Doran, Matthew; Belot, Henry; Probyn, Andrew (25 October 2018). "Fraser Anning dumped from Katter's Australian Party for views on race, non-European migration". ABC News. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  3. ^ far-right views:
  4. ^ anti-immigration views:
  5. ^ Kwai, Isabella. "Australian Senator Calls for 'Final Solution' to Muslim Immigration". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
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  8. ^ "Anroud [sic] the Campfire". Townsville Daily Bulletin. LXIX. Queensland, Australia. 16 November 1949. p. 7. Retrieved 14 November 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ Loos, Noel (2017). Invasion and Resistance (2 ed.). Salisbury: Boolarong Press. pp. 44, 57.
  10. ^ Gray, Robert (1913). Reminiscences of India and North Queensland. London: Constable and Company. p. 198.
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  35. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original on 18 August 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
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  44. ^ Graham, Ben; Farr, Malcolm (15 August 2018). "'While all Muslims are not terrorists, certainly all terrorists these days are Muslims,' Senator Anning said". News.com.au. news.com.au. Archived from the original on 14 August 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
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  49. ^ Bedo, Stephanie (15 March 2019). "Politician lashes out at Muslims after Christchurch shootings: 'They are the perpetrators'". News.com.au. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  50. ^ Fury as Australian senator blames Christchurch attack on Muslim immigration, The Guardian, 16 March 2019
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  52. ^ Price, Jenna (17 March 2019). "More than 1 million sign petition to have Anning removed from Parliament". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  53. ^ Egg boy:
  54. ^ Karp, Paul (17 March 2019). "'Full force of the law' should apply to Fraser Anning after egging incident, Morrison says". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  55. ^ Yurcaba, Josephine B. (16 March 2019). "There's A GoFundMe Page For "Eggboy," The Teen Who Egged An Australian Senator". Bustle. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  56. ^ Kwai, Isabella (18 March 2019). "Money Raised for 'Egg Boy' Will Be Donated to New Zealand Victims". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
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  63. ^ "Senate results: Hanson-Young returns, but Hinch, Anning and Burston are gone". The Guardian. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.

External linksEdit