MP wants immigration restricted in wake of terror attacks
MEMBER for Dawson George Christensen has stopped short of backing a controversial call by media personality Sonia Kruger to ban Muslim immigration to Australia.
But he does want far tighter immigration controls and said Ms Kruger was entitled to air her opinion.
Taking to his Facebook page yesterday afternoon, Mr Christensen aired his thoughts but stopped short of advocating a complete ban on Islamic immigration.
"Should we put a ban on further Islamic immigration into Australia? TV news identity Sonia Kruger says yes," he wrote.
"I believe we should severely curtail immigration from countries where radicalism and violent extremism is rife."
Ms Kruger's comments, made on The Today Show on Monday, attracted national attention.
She called for an end to Muslim immigration, saying she wanted to "feel safe", but noted "I have a lot of very good friends who are Muslim".
"I would like to see it stopped now for Australia because I want to feel safe, as all our citizens do, when they go out to celebrate Australia Day and I'd like to see freedom of speech as well," Ms Kruger said.
The comments were met with derision by some Australians and applause by others on social media.
Later, Ms Kruger stood by her opinion, but conceded "my views yesterday may have been extreme".
"This type of attack (in Nice) affects people from all walks of life and I want to make it very clear that I have complete respect for people of all races and religions...," she said.
Several days before, in the wake of the devastating terrorist attack on Nice in France which killed at least 84 people and injured dozens more, Mr Christensen linked an article titled 'My year undercover with Australia's Islamic radicals'.
"Those who say Islamism isn't a threat to Australians should read this report by a courageous young reporter," he added.
The post, wildly supported by many frequenting Mr Christensen's social media page, was somewhat par for the course for the conservative Nationals MP.
In March this year, in one of many social media statements critical of Islam, Mr Christensen made it clear he was not backing down from his views anytime soon.
"When anyone raises criticisms of Islam these days, the PC (politically correct) brigade try to shut it down with cries of 'racist', 'bigot' and 'Islamophobe'. But it's wearing thin," he wrote.
When asked to clarify his position, Mr Christensen defended Ms Kruger's "right to express her views on immigration" and said in April he called for a ban on all immigration from countries with "high levels" of radicalisation.
"We need to actively consider the banning of immigration from countries where we know the populace is radicalised or at least a significant proportion of the population is radicalised," he said.
"It's not racist to say this; it's not bigoted to say this. This is a discussion this nation needs to have and Ms Kruger should be able to express her views.
"In my opinion, some immigration restrictions are simply common sense.
"Given this warning from the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre that the problem of violent extremism is 'mushrooming' and now constitutes a 'clear and present danger' across the world, we should move to protect Australian citizens from this threat."
Me @ 5. Never been religious (born Muslim). Under the Hanson ban I would never have been able to come to Australia. pic.twitter.com/mK7ql2W4JE— Sam Dastyari (@samdastyari) July 19, 2016
It appears Mr Christensen's views align with a sizeable number of voters in Dawson, considering his re-election and the strong backing of Pauline Hanson's One Nation in the electorate.
One Nation, which asserts Islam's "religious aspect is fraud" and opposed the religion as one of its major platforms, was the most popular Senate vote in the electorate and the neighbouring seat of Capricornia, outside of major parties.
The Islamic Society of Mackay has been contacted for comment.