Fraser Anning still has some supporters, but definitely not Egg Boy.
Fraser Anning still has some supporters, but definitely not Egg Boy.

The few friends Anning has left

ANALYSIS

Believe it or not, Fraser Anning still has friends in politics.

Close to 1.3 million people have condemned him in an online petition, but there is a small group of Anning supporters.

And a remarkable number come from the old gang at One Nation where Mr Anning once was an election candidate and almost a party senator until his spat with Pauline Hanson.

Elsewhere, people - and even one country - are lining up to isolate the Queenslander who roused fury and an egging with his comments blaming Muslims for the 50 murders in Christchurch mosques.

He said in a statement: "This kind of violent vigilantism can never be justified, what it highlights is the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence."

The response, including condemnation from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, was immediate.

And in two weeks there will be a bipartisan motion in the Senate censuring him, the strongest rebuke available.

 

Senator Fraser Anning cleans egg off himself. Picture: AAP Image/David Crosling
Senator Fraser Anning cleans egg off himself. Picture: AAP Image/David Crosling

 

But Ms Hanson has said she will abstain because to her the motion would mean nothing. Calling it an abstention does not avoid the fact she is refusing to criticise Mr Anning.

This is possibly a self-defence position rather than a pro-Anning stance.

Ms Hanson might realise that if senators get into the censuring mood, she might be the next target.

However, One Nation's Anning association and her absence of criticism of him could hurt Pauline Hanson's chances in the weekend NSW election as well as the federal poll.

But there are stronger demonstrations from Anning allies.

Qantas has said it will review Mr Anning's access to the Chairman's Lounge, the plush waiting room reserved for the political and business top ranks.

This might seem churlish, as Mr Anning has been a stout Qantas customer, flying himself and family interstate - business class - on taxpayer money so often it is unusual to see him in his home town of Brisbane.

But One Nation backroom boy Malcolm Roberts - who briefly sat in the Senate despite being ineligible - has seen this as a free-speech issue, and he wants a boycott to keep Mr Anning airborne in comfort.

"Qantas are free to decide who should & shouldn't enter Chairman's Lounge," Mr Roberts tweeted in a jumbled argument.

 

Fraser’s old One Nation teammate Pauline Hanson.
Fraser’s old One Nation teammate Pauline Hanson.

 

"In return, Australians who think this decision is an unjustified attack on free speech can retaliate by not flying Qantas. That's how free speech works, we each live with lawful consequences of our actions."

It is doubtful the airline is expecting a substantial decline in passenger numbers.

And it is unlikely Mr Anning will be flying to Indonesia.

Indonesia has used diplomatic channels to make clear he is not welcome there.

"It is our view that you cannot associate the issue of terrorism with Islam or, for that matter, any other religion," a Jakarta foreign affairs spokesman told ABC news.

The ultimate political sanction against Mr Anning will come at the May election. It is unlikely he will be returned to Parliament.

And despite Ms Hanson's support, he has said he will not return to the One Nation fold.

"A lot of people have been asking why I don't join Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party," he tweeted six days ago.

"This is an example of why it won't work, in this case Pauline has chosen to run a Muslim candidate Emma Eros in the NSW election. I stand totally against any Muslims in our Parliament."

It is likely many Queensland voters will be against him being in Parliament.


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