Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion should apologise for shaking hands with Queensland senator Fraser Anning after his “deplorable, racist” maiden speech, the Northern Territory’s Chief Minister has said.
Politicians around the country have lined up to condemn the Katter’s Australian Party member’s maiden speech, in which he advocated a return to the White Australia policy and invoked the Nazi expression of a “final solution” to Muslim immigration on Tuesday night.
Senator Scullion is one of the Northern Territory’s two senators and has handled the Indigenous Affairs portfolio since 2013.
In parliamentary video, he is seen in a line of senators congratulating Senator Anning after his speech, shaking his hand, grasping his elbow, and patting him on the back before moving along.
During Question Time in the NT Legislative Assembly in Darwin on Wednesday afternoon, Chief Minister Michael Gunner condemned that action.
“Last night Australia witnessed perhaps the most deplorable, racist speech delivered in an Australian parliament,” he said.
“These words and views are appalling, they are disgusting, they are against the values of this country.”
He said it was “with great dismay” that he viewed the footage of Senator Scullion, who is also the party president of the Country Liberals.
“Senator Anning’s views should be opposed in the strongest possible terms; they must be repudiated, they must be called out, they must not be given succour, they must not be embraced,” Mr Gunner said.
“That Senator Scullion, Indigenous Affairs Minister, would warmly embrace someone who called for the return to the White Australia policy beggars belief.
“That Senator Scullion — who represents the great multicultural NT and all of us who are lucky enough to call it home — should embrace someone who attacks our way of life, our history, our future, brings shame upon us all.”
A third of Darwin residents born overseas: Gunner
Mr Gunner said the NT was one of the most multicultural jurisdictions in the world, which celebrated its “incredible” 65,000-year history of Aboriginal, Asian, and European migration.
“The Chinese built the railroads and pioneered the gold industry in the Top End, so that in the late 1800s they outnumbered Europeans here seven to one,” he said.
“Japanese pearl divers were 70 per cent of Darwin’s male population in the ’20s. The Greeks built much of our skyline. We celebrate the Afghan cameleers of the centre. We celebrate that Australia’s first mosque was built in Alice Springs.”
Mr Gunner said almost a third of Darwin residents were born overseas.
“We celebrate that centuries before Senator Anning’s forebears were ever pitching a tent in this nation, the First Australians of the Territory were trading with Indonesia,” he said.
“Multiculturalism in the NT is a way of life as natural to our kids now… as getting up in the morning, as natural as the sun setting over our beautiful harbour.”
He called on Senator Scullion to apologise for his apparent support of Senator Anning.
“Senator Scullion must apologise and repudiate Senator Anning’s outrageous comments, they have no place in Australia or the NT.”
Senator Scullion has been contacted for comment.
CLP Opposition Leader Gary Higgins told the NT Parliament that while he supported Mr Gunner’s rejection of Senator Anning’s comments, it was “completely inappropriate” to comment on Senator Scullion’s actions.
Topics: politics-and-government, government-and-politics, political-parties, darwin-0800, nt, australia