Australia’s politicians have a history of ‘othering’ Muslims and normalising right wing bigotry

Following the New Zealand terror attack, there has been a plethora of statements from politicians worldwide, ranging from perfunctory condolences to victim blaming. Australian Senator Fraser Anning’s tweet, “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?” is not a solitary sentiment. Indeed, the only factor distinguishing Anning from the right-wing elements in any society is his political office, which gives him leverage to influence and incite the masses against minorities.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned Anning’s statements, yet his intervention does not reflect a consistent approach. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Morrison had, as opposition spokesman for immigration in 2011, urged “to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about Muslim immigration, Muslims in Australia and the inability of Muslim migrants to integrate.”

This month, Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, spoke out against refugees and asylum seekers stranded on Nauru accessing medical treatment in Australia. Morrison backed the arguments, stating, “If we’ve got to treat more people in Australia then obviously they’re going to take the place of people who were getting that treatment anyway. It’s just simple math.” The government’s claims were contradicted by medical directors, who said that asylum seekers and refugees could be accommodated to seek treatment. Read more.

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