Fraser Anning, the right-wing senator from Australia who blamed Muslims for the New Zealand mosque shootings, was voted out of office in the country’s elections. According to The Hill, the controversial lawmaker appears to have lost his race to his opponent, meaning he will be out of office at the end of June.
Anning faced intense backlash in March after saying that the devastating shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 51 people dead and many more injured, were the result of Muslim immigrants in the country.
“I am utterly opposed to any form of violence within our community, and I totally condemn the actions of the gunman,” Anning wrote. “However, whilst 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 real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pushed back against Anning, saying, “Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian parliament.”
Many are hailing Anning’s defeat as evidence that Australians are rejecting conservative extremism in their country. North Sydney Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman called the defeat a win for Australians, and said that Anning’s position was “reprehensible.” He said that it was evident that Australian voters agreed with him, according to Business Insiders.
Anning, who is a former member of the far-right, anti-immigration One Nation party, was also condemned by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Anning had previously faced backlash after supporting a ban on immigrants from Muslim countries and used language often utilized by Nazi sympathizers.
Anning gained international attention a few days later when he was hit with an egg by a teenage boy named Will Connolly while he was giving a press conference in Melbourne, Australia. A 17-year-old smashed a raw egg over the lawmaker’s head while filming the incident with his phone, at which point the senator turned around and punched the boy two times. Connolly was then wrestled to the ground and held in a chokehold by Anning’s supporters.
Zimmerman eventually took Connolly’s side and called for a censure against Anning.
Controversial Independent Senator Fraser Anning has been caught on camera punching a young protester after the boy cracked an egg on the back of his head at an event in Moorabbin. A 17-year-old boy was arrested and released without charge pending investigation. #auspol #7News pic.twitter.com/lbXLDwfS96— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) March 16, 2019
The boy was arrested and released without charges. The footage of the event went viral, with fans creating a GoFundMe to pay for any of the legal fees associated with his case. Connolly vowed to donate the money to the victims of the shooting instead.