Queensland MP George Christensen has thrown his two cents worth into the debate about marriage equality issuing the following warning to Tony Abbott:
“The party policy to retain the definition of marriage as contained in the Marriage Act is supported by the majority of Liberal and National MPs and senators and I’d say many of them would hold the view that this is what our party stands for.
To many it would be both bizarre and a slap in the face to our grassroots members to suggest that the conservative parties adopt a policy which says we don’t have a stance on marriage and everyone can be a free agent and vote how they want.
The party membership didn’t like being ignored on the ETS and they won’t on this one either.”
Aside from the hubris of an inexperienced backbencher issuing veiled threats to the Prime Minister, and the fact that the government have already broken more promises than I can list, Christensen is courting danger by inviting attention in this area.
As editor of a student newspaper, he published a series of virulently racist, anti-semitic, homophobic and woman-hating rants back in1998.
On one page, Christensen expressed concern that new versions of the Bible were “removing accusations that the Jews killed Christ.”
On another page, he tells jokes about AIDS:
“A homosexual walks into the Doctor’s office, sobbing. ‘Doctor, Doctor’, he says ‘ think I’ve got AIDS. ‘Well,’ replied the Doctor, shocked ‘Who gave it to you?’
‘I dunno, says the homosexual. ‘I haven’t got eyes in the back of my head.’
He doesn’t restrict his venom there either. In an article about the Hollywood actor Will Smith he expressed his thoughts on women:
Most Aussie men often try to crack onto good-looking women and neglect the not-so-good looking (read fat) ones
Perhaps it’s the intelligence of women or, rather, the lack of it?
My thoughts: the truth is women are stupid and that’s that. So on behalf of you, me and the guy that’s shrugging his shoulders in bewilderment after reading his sister’s copy of Dolly, let me just say: Will Smith, you’re lucky God gave women no bloody brains.
Other contributions express concern about the special privileges being bestowed on Aborigines, the transgendered, republicans and so on. He is even critical of former Prime Minister John Howard for being a sell-out to aboriginal interests. He argues that there is an Australian system of “apartheid” which benefits Aborigines through land rights, Abstudy and so on.
After this was revealed during the 2010 election campaign, Christensen apologized. Kerry O’Brien interviewed Tony Abbott who brushed it off as adolescent silliness and defended Christensen as a good candidate.
Gay group, the Coalition of Equality, accepted Christensen’s apology:
“If he has apologised for that particular publication and he’s willing to recant the fact that they were not in the best of taste, and he apologises for them, then I think we should let bygones be bygones and move forward,” he said.
“[We should] make sure that we do understand what is acceptable and suitable comment in regards to gay and lesbian people in Australian.
“We have to accept that what he says now on face value is a sincere and heartfelt apology.
“If in the future, it turns out not to be, I’m sure there will be words said at that point, and embarrassment caused to him.”
But George seems impervious to embarrassment.
Right from the start his tenure was questionable as he had failed to resign from his position on the Mackay Regional Council before the election, putting himself at risk of high court action because of the constitutional ban on “officers of profit under the crown” being elected to federal parliament.
Coming from generations of cane farmers, in 2012 Christensen launched an attack in parliament on the National Health and Medical Research Council which he accused of demonising the sugar industry through their new food guidelines. The strong defence of the sugar industry earned Christensen the title of “sugar plum fairy”.
George hates environmentalists with a passion. In September 2014 he labeled Greenpeace and other environmentalists as terrorists, stating that they are “gutless green grubs” for opposing the expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in his electorate. In a speech to Parliament, Christensen said “the greatest terrorism threat in North Queensland, I’m sad to say, comes from the extreme green movement”.
In January this year he posted on his Facebook page a cartoon depicting Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk naked on a wrecking ball, crashing through a wall with the words “Abbot Point Coal Terminal jobs” written on it.
When criticised, he defended his actions saying “Some people need to get a sense of humour I think it’s pretty pathetic to fake outrage at a cartoon that’s satirical just to score political points.
“Taking the mickey especially out of politicians has always been a strong part of the Australian culture and I think we should all just lighten up and have a laugh sometimes because as a nation we’re losing our sense of humour to political correctness.”
Unsurprisingly perhaps, George is also in favour of the death penalty. In May 2011, he refused to back a motion condemning the death penalty and instead told federal parliament he supported the death penalty “for terrorists and for those found guilty of the most heinous of crimes – murder of a child, particularly those involving rape, murder of an elderly person or a person with disabilities, again particularly those involving rape.”
And when it comes to Muslims, George really fires up.
He started off slowly with the live trade export ban, blaming Islam for the torture of cattle in Indonesia and saying it wasn’t the concern of Australian farmers.
He ramped up in the wake of the 2012 Sydney anti-Islam film protests, launching a public attack on those taking part in the demonstration, saying those who broke the law, other than himself, should “jump on the first plane and head back to where you come from because that stuff is just simply not on in this nation.”
In 2013, Christensen was the only federal MP to attend a rally featuring controversial Dutch politician and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders during his tour of Australia. Christensen said he supported Wilders’ view that “people of dual citizenship who act in a way that is contrary to the values of this country and engage in extremist violence should have their citizenship stripped and be deported.”
Last year George tweeted “We shouldn’t tolerate sharia law in Aust and the burqa/niqab shouldn’t be worn in public.”
In November 2014 Christensen claimed in an online opinion piece that Halal certification was “outrageous” and a “religious tax.” He also claimed that it is “entirely feasible” to think some halal certifiers could be financing groups such as Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood.
When the #illridewithyou campaign was created to counter potential anti-Muslim sentiment in the wake of the Sydney siege, Christensen took to Twitter calling it a “pathetic left-wing black arm band brigade campaign” that casts “Aussies as racists who will endanger Muslims”.
He elaborated further on his public Facebook page.
“So Twitter has erupted with a typical politically correct, left wing response to the Sydney siege with these hashtag campaigns #weridetogether & #illridewithyou going viral,” he wrote.
“These campaigns falsely portray Aussies as thugs who terrorise Muslims and, in doing so, create victims where there are none.
“How about we just focus on the real victims of the Sydney siege (who, in my view, are more heroic than the left-wing twitter clicktivist keyboard warrior army combined): Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.”
So, in summary, George appears to hate Jews, Muslims, Aborigines, republicans, environmentalists, gays, transgender, women, and anyone who says we should cut down on sugar.
And the scary part is that he is feeling increasingly empowered to thrust his views upon us as our government continues its lurch to the extreme right.