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. 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. 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.
Anning in 2018
|Leader of Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party|
|Assumed office |
2 April 2019
|Preceded by||Party established|
|Senator for Queensland|
10 November 2017 – 30 June 2019
|Preceded by||Malcolm Roberts|
William Fraser Anning
14 October 1949
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
|Political party||Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party (2019–present)|
|One Nation (1997–2003; 2014–2018)|
Katter's Australian (2018)
Independent (until 1997; 2018–2019)
|Residence||Gladstone, Queensland, Australia|
Sheep and Cattle farmer
|Allegiance||Commonweath of Australia|
|Branch/service||Australian Army Reserve|
|Years of service||1969–1973|
|Unit||49th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment|
Anning holds far-right, anti-immigration and anti-Muslim views, 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".
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.
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. 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. The Annings occasionally requested the services of local Native Police paramilitary units to assist in removing Aboriginal people.
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. 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.
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.
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". After the proposal to register that abbreviation was withdrawn, the AEC granted formal registration on 2 April 2019.
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,”
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. 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. The following month, on 10 November, Anning was declared elected in place of Roberts following a special recount. 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.
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) by two crossbenchers from other parties: Cory Bernardi (Australian Conservatives) and David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democrats). 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". Anning responded that "she [Hanson] made my position pretty much untenable with her conditions." 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. On 15 January 2018, Anning advised the Senate President that he would henceforth sit as an independent. On 5 February 2018, he formed a voting bloc with Bernardi and Leyonhjelm.
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". 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.
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, when he said “The final solution to the immigration problem is, of course, a popular vote.” 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. Pauline Hanson said she was appalled by Anning's comments and described them as "straight from Goebbels' handbook". However, Anning's party leader Bob Katter described it as "a magnificent speech, solid gold" and said he "1000 percent supports" Anning. Anning was expelled from Katter’s party two months later.
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." 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.
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.
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. 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. Connolly said he would give the money raised to the victims' families. 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.
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.
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. Anning said he would “be announcing candidates across most lower house seats" and "running a Senate team in every state" for the 2019 election. 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.
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. The assailant was a member of the militant white supremacist group True Blue Crew, which has been linked to terrorism.
Anning lost his Senate seat in the 2019 election.
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