Senator Fraser Anning will again sit in the Senate as an independent after he was fired from Bob Katter’s party for refusing to abandon his push to ban “non-European” migration.
Party leader Bob Katter said it was his “melancholy duty” to sack Senator Anning after the senator defied orders from the party leadership to stop using language that divided “Europeans” and “non-Europeans”.
He said there had been repeated “warnings” to drop the racial language.
“If you touch any of these issues again, Fraser, you do so at your own peril,” Mr Katter said, recounting the warnings.
Mr Katter originally backed his Senate colleague’s maiden speech, in which Senator Anning lamented the fact Australians were “not asked” if they wanted “non-European” migration when the White Australia Policy was dismantled in the 1970s.
On Thursday, Mr Katter said he “could not find” the reference in the speech, but if it existed, he would “apologise” for missing an important detail.
In a later press conference, SBS News read Mr Katter the relevant segment from the speech.
“Hey listen, no one is perfect in this world,” he replied. “You pick my speech, there’ll be imperfections in it”.
Mr Katter distanced himself from the plebiscite idea. He said he would “vote against” the motion, if it came up again, and would advocate against it.
“He wants to pursue a crusade, it’s not the KAP’s crusade. He wants his freedom, we should give it to him,” he said.
“This bloke’s 99 percent solid gold but there’s a problem,” Mr Katter said.
But the maverick Queenslander said he still believed the immigration rate needed to be cut dramatically.
“We make no apologies to anyone for saying that the level of people coming into this country has to be lowered dramatically, not on a racial basis.”
Mr Katter originally said he supported his senate recruit’s maiden speech “1000 percent” and called it “solid gold”.