A petition to remove Senator Fraser Anning from the Australian government has received over 1 million signatures as of Monday morning.
Anning, a far-right politician who has been called out for his controversial views in the past, faced public backlash after he blamed Muslim immigration for the New Zealand mosque shooting which left at least 50 people dead.
On Saturday, Anning again prompted criticism after he punched a 17-year-old for cracking an egg on his head during a press conference in Melbourne. The incident, which was caught on camera, is now being investigated by police.
The “Remove Fraser Anning from Parliament” petition on Change.org has racked up over 1.14 million signatures as of mid-morning on Monday. The petition has an updated goal of 1.5 million signatures.
“Senator Fraser Anning’s views have no place in the government of our democratic and multicultural country,” Kate Ahmad, who started the petition, wrote on the page. “Within the bounds of Australian law, we request that he be pushed to resign from his position as Senator, and if appropriate, be investigated by law enforcement agencies for supporting right wing terrorism.”
“We call on the Australian government to assist in demanding a resignation from this man who blames victims for their own violent deaths, and uses references to genocide to further his hateful agenda. There is no place in the Australian government for Neo-Nazis. There is no place for bigotry. There is no place for hate speech.”
The death toll from New Zealand’s deadliest mass shooting has risen to 50. The shooting has prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to review gun laws in the country.
“I can tell you right now, our gun laws will change,” she said on Saturday. “Now is the time for change.”
Following the terror attack, Anning tweeted a series of controversial comments which were broadly criticised by Australian politicians, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison who said Anning’s comments were “disgusting.”
Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, said Anning did not represent Australia.
After far surpassing its initial goal of 35,000 signatures, Ahmed thanked those who have shown support. “Wow! One million signatures and it’s still heading up. One million people opposed to the hateful rhetoric of Senator Anning. One million people saying that it’s not ok to persecute a group of people based on their religion. One million people standing in solidarity with the devastated Christchurch Muslim community. One million people who care to preserve the peaceful, multicultural society we live in. Thank you so much for your kindness and co-operation.”
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