Free speech essential in parliament: Bernardi

August 15, 2018

Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi says it's essential that free speech is preserved in federal parliament after debate raged over the content of a belated maiden speech by Queensland Senator Fraser Anning.

The Katter's Australia Party senator has been widely criticised for his invoking of the 'White Australia' policy and use of the controversial and historically-laden term “final solution”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Labor, the Greens and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson condemned racially inflammatory elements of his 'first' Senate speech.  Senator Anning entered parliament as the replacement for former Queensland One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, who was disqualified on dual-citizenship grounds. However, allegedly due to his refusal to immediately step down so former Senator Roberts could resume his seat, Senator Anning fell out with One Nation and became an independent. After almost nine months of participating in Senate debates - and making speeches not considered his 'first speech' - Senator Anning joined Katter's Australia Party earlier this year.

The Senate this week passed a censure motion against Senator Anning the day after his headland 'first' speech.

Senator Bernardi says he doesn't think there should be any restriction on expression of ideas within the federal parliament which lies at the heart of Australian democracy.

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