Culture

Fraser Anning Claims He Wasn’t At The Neo-Nazi Rally Because He Was 100 Metres Away

"There were no Nazis at the rally I was at."

Fraser Anning denies being a Nazi sympathiser, says he was at a different St. Kilda rally.

Two days after being pretty universally slammed for attending a far-right rally full of neo-Nazis, Queensland Senator Fraser Anning is now seriously trying to claim that there were no Nazis at the rally he was at, just down the street. He also reckons taxpayers should absolutely pay for his business class flight to said rally, because attending is “the job that I’m supposed to do”.

Speaking to Sunrise this morning, Anning told hosts that “there were no Nazis at the rally I was at”, despite widespread videos and photos of people standing at the rally making Nazi salutes and wearing Nazi symbols. When a Sunrise host pointed out the existence of this footage, Anning clarified that he was standing “100 metres down the road”.

Anning doubled down on these claims on Studio 10 this morning, insisting that he was at a different, peaceful rally “about 100 or 150 metres down the road”. He also claimed that the people making Nazi salutes nearby were in fact “radical left-wingers”, and denied being a Nazi sympathiser.

Studio 10 hosts then pointed out that Anning’s own Facebook Live broadcast from the protest showed him hanging out with Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson, both of whom have been convicted of inciting serious contempt of Muslims. They also pointed out that Anning used the term “final solution” to refer to a ban on Muslim immigration in his maiden speech to Parliament, and suggested that given all of this, Anning’s presence at the rally was “not a good look”.

“No, it’s fine,” was his response. “I was there representing the people of Queensland, they’re very concerned with what’s happening in Melbourne and Victoria with the African gangs.” The very idea that there’s a problem with “African gangs” in Melbourne has been slammed by Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane as well as Melbourne’s Sudanese community, who point out what should be obvious: politicians and media singling out a racial group as criminal is inaccurate, racist, and is causing a lot of suffering for African-Australians.

Anning was not particularly interested in reason, though. When asked how his attending a Melbourne rally helps the people of Queensland he represents, all he could offer was “it’s good to know what’s happening”. And when he was asked whether taxpayers should be paying for him to fly to Melbourne to hang out with (or 100 metres down the street from) neo-Nazis, Anning was pretty clear: they should.

“Well, I didn’t go down there for a picnic, I went down there doing the job that I’m supposed to do, and that’s representing the people of Queensland — the people who support me,” he said. “That’s what we get a travel allowance for.” He also confirmed that he flew business class.