Australians have received a rare glimpse inside the highly secretive Q Society with the far-right, anti-Islam group holding a pair of fundraising events in Sydney and Melbourne this week.
As the sun was setting on Friday evening, more than 100 anti-racism protesters tried to block those arriving at a dinner in St Kilda, where newly independent Senator Cory Bernardi was a guest of honour.
They carried signs, rocked a bus and shouted slogans including, “Racist, sexist, anti-queer Cory is not welcome here”.
Bernardi wasn’t the only high profile politician on the guest list either, conservative Nationals MP George Christensen was also billed to speak, prompting widespread criticism.
“Bigotry and racism have no place in Australia,” Greens leader Richard Di Natale said in a scathing Facebook post.
“Malcolm Turnbull has to condemn George Christensen for supporting this vile event.”
On Thursday night 160 people attended a similar event at an RSL in Sydney, where a number of attendees were outed for spouting anti-Muslim rhetoric by Fairfax reporter Jacqueline Maley who attended.
“Let’s be honest, I can’t stand Muslims,” cartoonist Larry Pickering declared, according to Maley’s piece in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“If they are in the same street as me, I start shaking.”
Pickering donated some of his own works, including a cartoon depicting a woman in a niqab being raped by her son-in-law, to be auctioned off as part of the group’s fundraising effort.
They are hoping to raise money to pay the legal bills — estimated at up to $1 million —of Kirralie Smith, NSW Senate spot with Australian Liberty Alliance last year, and Q Society President Debbie Robinson, both of whom are being sued for defamation.
“Australia is much further down the path of political correctness than most people realise,” Robinson told the room at one point.
“People are beginning to wake up. Brexit and recent results in the US and Europe are indicative of the rise of conservatism.”
Controversial ex-Liberal MP Ross Cameron has also been labelled homophobic after repeatedly referencing homosexuality in his speech and referring to the NSW branch of the Liberal Party a “gay club”.
“I don’t mind that they are gay, I just wish, like Hadrian, they would build a wall,” he said.
He defended attending the event on Sky News yesterday.