Culture

This Liberal Politician Desperately Wants The Government To Copy Pauline Hanson’s Policies

Another Liberal MP wants to tighten immigration controls.

According to recent reports George Christensen might be one of the most powerful Liberal backbenchers around. Fresh from successfully leading an internal Liberal party revolt on superannuation policy, he’s turning his attention to immigration. Just 24 hours after Pauline Hanson delivered her first speech calling for a ban on Muslim immigration, Christensen has backed the proposal and called for tighter immigration controls.

Christensen is a prominent voice within the conservative wing of the Liberal party. He’s previously slammed the #IllRideWithYouCampaign as “pathetic” and has accused refugees of taking “Australian jobs”.  More recently he’s spearheaded the successful campaign within the Liberal party to weaken proposed changes to superannuation laws. Despite promising to target the savings of the “super rich” during the election campaign, the government has now backflipped due to pressure from George Christensen and other conservative Liberal MPs.

But one policy victory isn’t enough. Christensen has now turned his attention to immigration. He wants Australia to restrict migration “from countries where there is a high prevalence of violent extremism and radicalism.”

In a speech delivered to the House of Representatives last night, Christensen said, “There are other countries that they [immigrants] would find less offensive, countries where they could enjoy a similar level of oppression and violence to which they are accustomed, which they obviously want. It is not necessary to travel half way around the world to come to Australia and demand that Australians change their culture, their society and their laws to match those of their former homeland.”

In an interview with Sky News, Christensen said that the difference between his policy and Pauline Hanson’s was “subtle”. Christensen’s comments directly contradict Liberal party policy. He named Syria as a country that Australia should block migration from, but the government has promised refuge to 12,000 Syrians (though so far it has only settled 3,500).

Christensen isn’t the first Liberal MP to echo Hanson’s policies. Last month another Queenslander, Senator Barry O’Sullivan, called for migrants to be “quizzed on their religion” before being allowed to enter Australia. The Prime Minister responded to Christensen by saying, “Seeking to demonise or denigrate all Muslims or seeking to alienate all Muslims and suggest they are somehow not part of Australia or shouldn’t be in Australia, that is exactly what the extremists are saying to the community.”

Which is all well and good, but George Christensen is still a vocal Liberal MP who clearly wields a decent chunk of influence in the party, judging by what happened on superannuation policy. It’s clear that some conservative Liberals are worried that Hanson is a threat to their vote, so they’re trying to demonstrate they’re as ‘tough on immigration’ as she is. Even though Turnbull has stepped in to try and shut down the discussion, it doesn’t seem like Christensen is going to be staying quiet.