Anning expelled from exclusive club
Qantas has expelled Fraser Anning from its exclusive Chairman's Lounge club in the wake of yesterday's dramatic censure motion in the Senate.
The plush waiting room, reserved for the top ranks of politics and business, is invite-only. Membership is often offered to members of parliament.
But Qantas decided to review Anning's access after his comments on the Christchurch terror attack. Now he has been kicked out.
News.com.au has contacted Anning for comment.
The Chairman's Lounge offers the highest level of service possible for a Qantas customer, eclipsing the airline's Platinum One membership. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce once described it as "probably the most exclusive club in the country".
It is not even possible to buy a membership.
Details of the club's features and perks are largely kept secret, though we know they include seat upgrades and unlimited food and alcohol.
Anning was labelled "pathetic" and "shameful" by his colleagues in the Senate yesterday over his reaction to the Christchurch attack.
The government and opposition joined together to move a motion censuring Anning, who issued a statement just hours after the attack blaming it on Muslim immigration.
The shooting targeted Muslims and left 50 people dead.
The censure motion passed on the voices with near-unanimous support.
Cory Bernardi said he opposed parts of the motion, but was broadly in favour of censuring Anning. One Nation abstained.
Anning himself did not bother to stay in the chamber for the vote.
The censure was a searing official rebuke of Anning's comments - a powerful piece of symbolism - but otherwise had no real effect on him.
The Greens pushed for Anning to be suspended from the Senate, which would have been a more tangible punishment, but that motion was defeated 40-10.
Senate President Ryan explained there was no precedent for suspending a senator for something they had said, either inside or outside the chamber.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale was suspended for a day in November, but that was for defying one of Mr Ryan's rulings.
Anning remained defiant and unapologetic when he spoke shortly before the vote, labelling the reaction to his comments a "witch hunt".
"This censure motion against me is a blatant attack on free speech. It is also an exercise in left-wing virtue signalling of the worst kind," he said.
"This is exactly the kind of self-righteous, left-wing intolerance of alternative views that you would expect from an extremist party like the Greens. What is shocking is that a supposedly Liberal prime minister is leading the charge.
"What is really being censured here is not me, it is the right of anyone to say something that those in power disagree with."
Anning said the reasons for the censure motion were "barely coherent".
"What inflammatory and divisive comments? What blame did I attribute to the victims? I said nothing of the sort," he said.
"After putting the immediate blame where it belonged, I looked for contributing causes. I identified that an immigration program that allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand was a key enabler of community violence.
"The claim that this somehow blames the victims is absurd. My real crime, of course, is that I simply told the truth."
Anning said the media and other politicians "ignored" terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims.
He slammed Prime Minister Scott Morrison's response to the infamous egging incident, which happened a day after the Christchurch attack.
RELATED: 'Egg Boy' breaks his silence
Seventeen-year-old Will Connolly cracked an egg on Anning's head at a public event. The senator responded by turning around and taking a swing at him.
Mr Morrison reacted by saying Anning should be "subject to the full force of the law".
"I was the victim of a physical attack in Melbourne," Anning said.
"While those who don't like me may have been delighted to see me attacked, we might have expected a statesmanlike response from the Prime Minister condemning that action. Not at all.
"It may have only been an idiot with an egg this time but there is a continuum which begins with this, and ends with a fanatic with a gun or a bomb."
The censure motion was introduced by the government's Senate leader, Mathias Cormann.
"These comments were appalling, and sadly made even worse by Senator Anning's position in this parliament," Mr Cormann said.
"Senator Anning's comments were ugly and divisive, they were dangerous and unacceptable.
"In Australia we do not accept and we do not tolerate that sort of commentary that seeks to vilify people."
Labor's Penny Wong was even harsher on Anning.
"In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, in the aftermath of horrific acts of hatred, whilst people were grieving, whilst a nation was grieving, a senator in this place made an extraordinarily offensive and divisive statement," Ms Wong said.
"He blamed the horrific act of terror not on the extremist right-wing terrorist, but on the victims of his evil acts.
"How pathetic. How shameful. A shameful and pathetic attempt, by a bloke who's never been elected, to get attention by exploiting diversity as a fault line for political advantage.
"This motion makes it clear he does not speak for us. He does not speak for this Senate. He does not speak for this nation. And he does not represent Australian values."
Ms Wong said the issue was broader than Anning's conduct, and some members of parliament had failed to take on hate speech.
"Hate speech cannot be defended on the grounds of freedom of speech because it is an attack on our democracy. It inflicts real and direct harm," she said.
"What we saw tragically in the loss of life in Christchurch was where hate leads us."
She reminded her colleagues that some of them had shaken Anning's hand after his maiden speech, in which he called for a "final solution to the immigration problem".
The phrase "final solution" is closely associated with the Nazis' systematic murder of Jews during World War II.
"While all Muslims are not terrorists, certainly all terrorists these days are Muslims. So why would anyone want to bring more of them here?" Anning said during the speech.
"It is a disappointment to many of us that many Coalition senators lined up and shook your hand. And I'm sure many of them regret doing so now," Ms Wong said.
Anning smirked in his seat and rolled his eyes as he listened to Ms Wong speak.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale echoed her comments, saying Anning had shown himself to be "a pathetic man lacking any empathy".
He said the hugs and handshakes Anning received after his maiden speech were a sign of how "desensitised" Australia had become to hate speech.
"When you say someone has a right to be a bigot, the next step is giving them permission to act on that bigotry," Mr Di Natale said.
Mr Di Natale's Greens colleague Sarah Hanson-Young spoke immediately after Anning, and reacted furiously to his speech.
"This man should not be in this place," she said, before addressing Anning directly.
"You are a disgrace. And don't smile at me. Don't smile at the rest of us. People lost their lives, and you think it's a joke. You think it's a joke.
"What an absolute disgrace. He has no right to have the privilege to stand in this place and spout that hatred, that racism. To be an apologist for terrorism, for murder. He is not fit to represent Australians in this place."