politics

Days after Christchurch, Senator Linda Reynolds has made a number of tone-deaf comments on Q&A.

Since the terrorist attack in Christchurch that saw 50 innocent people murdered, a handful of Australian politicians have attracted significant attention for their insensitive comments.

First, there was Fraser Anning’s statement in response to the attacks, which said 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”.

Then, Pauline Hanson appeared on Sunrise, saying it’s important we ask questions like, “Why do we have terrorist attacks in this country? Why is it happening around the world?” after referencing Sydney’s Lindt Cafe siege, where an Iranian-born gunman held 18 people hostage.

Side note: take a minute to listen to The Quicky’s episode in response to the Christchurch terror attack.

Adding fuel to the fire, on Monday night’s episode of Q&A, Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds appeared to link terrorism with refugees seeking medical treatment in Australia.

The Minister for Emergency Management and North Queensland Recovery urged fellow politicians on the ABC panel show not to politicise the terror in Christchurch, and then she revealed the issue was “very personal” to her.

Apparently, she was sickened when members of the senate supported Labor’s amendments to the medivac bill because she has “lived through terrorism.”

“I was one of the few who has lived through terrorism and the impact up in the Bali bombings, I was up there, I saw, I smelt… and I got to understand the what was happening,” she told the Q&A audience in Townsville.

“There are people in our own nation and there are people overseas who want to do us harm. They don’t respect our compassion. And they certainly do not respect our way of life.”

“Can I interrupt you there,” host Tony Jones said. “Are you drawing a link between the Bali bombings and refugees coming to Australia for medical services?”

Senator Reynolds appeared to try and defend her comments saying she was “highlighting that the policy would inevitably lead to the boat trade coming again”.

“There are thousands of people, people smugglers don’t see them as human beings, they see them as commodities to profit from. And I saw that first hand in 2001 and 2002 … And I saw the consequences of those who were desperate enough to pay to come here.”

Viewers responded with anger, not only because of her links between terrorism and refugees, but also because of her blatant contradiction. She went on to politicise terrorism, immediately after telling the panel not to.

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Also brought up on Monday night’s episode were claims Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously suggested the Liberal Party capitalise on anti-Muslim sentiment in Australia.

It’s something Waleed Aly mentioned on The Project in his response to the Christchurch attacks. Apparently Mr Morrison is threatening to sue Aly and Channel 10 for defamation as a result.

Aly also referenced the then immigration minister Peter Dutton’s comments in 2016 that “we made a mistake as a country by letting in Lebanese Muslims in the 70s.”

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