Former One Nation State Secretary Jim Savage told senator Fraser Anning to “hit that f***ing nerve” in his maiden speech “otherwise you’ll be forgotten”, a recording leaked to Sky News reveals.
Anning entered parliament last year on One Nation’s ticket – replacing Malcolm Roberts who was forced from the Senate over dual citizenship – but immediately fell out with his leader, Pauline Hanson.
In June he became the first senator in fellow Queenslander Bob Katter’s Australian Party and on Tuesday, delivered his first speech in the Senate, calling for a return to the White Australian Policy, a ban on Muslim immigration and using the term “the final solution” – a phrase widely associated with the Jewish Holocaust – in a call for a popular vote on immigration.
The speech was condemned as racist and offensive by all sides of politics, including Hanson, in parliament yesterday.
Turnbull said it was a “shocking insult” to Jewish people.
But Anning’s party leader, Bob Katter, called it “absolutely magnificent”.
Anning refused to apologise for his comments, claiming “the thought police got onto that” and he didn’t even think about the choice of “the final solution”.
The senator claimed everyone was trying to “take it out of context” to “try and shut down debate”.
“Good men died for our right to say whatever we wanted to say and use whatever words we want to use. If people want to take it out of context that is entirely up to them,” he said.
“It was never meant to denigrate the Jewish community, it is two words and if that offends anyone, unfortunately that is the way it has to be.”
But it appears the offensive comments were a deliberate ploy designed to grab attention for the Queensland senator, who received 17 primary votes on the One Nation ticket and faces re-election next year.
Savage, an unsuccessful candidate for One Nation in last year’s Queensland elections, met with Anning “months ago” according to the expletive-laden recording obtained by Sky News.
“When you make your maiden speech Fraser, you’ve gotta get up there and say something really controversial – hit that,” Savage says on the recording.
“We told him to do that, and that’s exactly what he did.”
“He’s out there on TV this morning – I gotta let him know, hold your f**king nerve, don’t start apologising and say, ‘Oh yeah, I shouldn’t have done that’, hold your f**king nerve.”
But as the controversy over his comments enters a third day, it’s emerged that Anning’s adviser, lawyer Richard McGilvray, resigned immediately following the speech, saying he didn’t know the senator planned to us “the final solution”.
“I do not condone Senator Anning’s speech. His reference to ‘the Final Solution’ was not something I had seen, heard of, or discussed prior to his remarks last night and as a consequence, within hours of Senator Anning’s speech, I resigned my position effective immediately,” McGilvray said on LinkedIn.
You can listen to the Sky News recording of Savage talking about his advice to Anning here.
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