Politics

Penny Wong Has Delivered A Powerful Response To Fraser Anning’s Racist Bullshit

"Those of us who have been on the receiving end of racism know what it feels like, and know what leaders say matters."

Labor’s Penny Wong has slammed Queensland Senator Fraser Anning for his racist maiden address to Parliament, calling on the Senate to reject prejudice and division in a powerful speech this morning.

Anning, who represents Bob Katter’s Australian Party after defecting from One Nation, sparked outrage on Tuesday after he praised the White Australia policy and suggested Australia needed a “final solution” to Muslim immigration.

On Wednesday, Wong said the Senate should offer its “bipartisan support” for “those Australian values of inclusion, acceptance and respect”.

“Yesterday in this chamber we saw a speech which was not worthy of this Parliament,” she said. “We saw a speech that did not reflect the heart of this country. We saw a speech that did not reflect the strong, independent, multicultural, tolerant, accepting nation we are.”

“Instead we saw a speech that sought to divide us. We saw a speech that sought to fan prejudice. We saw a speech that sought to fan racism.”

“Think of what might be happening in some of the schoolyards in Australia today,” she continued. “Those of us who have been on the receiving end of racism know what it feels like, and know what leaders say matters.”

“To be prejudiced against a group, the first thing you have to do is to diminish them. Is to say they are somehow lesser and not deserving of the empathy that you would want for yourself and your family. And that is the worst thing about the speech we saw last night. It sought to make one part of Australia less worthy of empathy.”

The Senate subsequently passed a motion moved by Wong acknowledging the work of the Holt government in dismantling the White Australia Policy and giving its “unambiguous and unqualified commitment to the principle” that “race, faith or ethnic origin” should never be used to determine who is allowed to come to Australia.