Petition To Remove Fraser Anning From Parliament The Biggest Of Its Kind In Australian History
An online petition calling on Fraser Anning to be removed from parliament has cracked more than one million signatures.
Two almost identical change.org petitions were published following remarks from the far-right Queensland senator and former One Nation member who claimed that Muslim immigration was the "real cause" of the terror attack on two Christchurch mosques.
Anning's comments were made in a press statement just hours after the massacre on Friday that has claimed at least 50 lives and were swiftly condemned by politicians and the public.
Sydney doctor Kate Ahmad and Melbourne author Harris Sultan both started petitions requesting the government remove the senator from parliament, and later agreed to merge them.
The combined petition passed one million signatures on Sunday night and is now the largest of its kind in Australian history.
It quickly took the baton from the petition to strip horse racing advertising from the Sydney Opera House last year.
At the time of writing on Monday morning, the petition sits at around 1,103,000 signatures and is rising by the second.
Executive Director of change.org Sally Rugg said the numbers were "absolutely unprecedented".
"Change.org petitions capture what Australians en masse care about at any given time," she wrote on Twitter.
"Enormous response to these petitions shows exactly how Australians feel about hate speech and hate crimes."
Reactions have also been drawn after a teenage boy cracked an egg on Anning's head as the senator spoke in Melbourne on Saturday.
Footage from the incident shows Anning turn around and punch the teen on the head twice before Anning's supporters tackled the teen to the ground and held him.
Rugg said petitions defending Anning or 'Egg Boy' have, on average, 15 signatures.
Both the Liberal and Labor parties will move a joint motion calling on the Senate to censure Anning when parliament resumes.
While the parliament can censure -- or officially condemn -- a member, constitutional experts say there is no mechanism by which a federal elected official can be removed from parliament by a simple decision or vote.
Politicians can be deemed ineligible to sit in parliament by reason of criminal convictions or other eligibility issues.
Calls from The Greens to change the law have been rejected.
Greens leader Richard di Natale on Monday told The Australian newspaper his party is "exploring all options" including amending section 8 of the Privileges Act to allow members of parliament be expelled by their fellow MPs.
On Sunday, The Project host Steve Price too called on a stronger political response.
"Scott Morrison should have a media conference tomorrow and say that when parliament resumes on budget week, that Anning will not be allowed in the building," Price said.
"I don't care what the law is."
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton instead said voters could have their say at the next election.
"People can express their view freely and respectfully at the ballot box and I think that is the strongest possible message that can be sent," the minister, who also hails from Queensland, told Nine.
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