MELBOURNE, Australia — A far-right Australian lawmaker who blamed the slaughter at two Christchurch mosques on immigration policies that “allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place” literally had egg on his face Saturday.
Sen. Fraser Anning, no stranger to controversy, was left with raw egg dripping down his back and the front of his shirt after a teenager raised his phone with one hand and, with the other, smashed an egg on the side of the politician’s head at a Melbourne news conference.
Anning, in footage that went viral, was seen punching the boy in the face and then taking another swing before the two were separated. The teenager was tackled to the ground.
The encounter occurred a day after the massacre at two New Zealand mosques left at least 49 people dead and dozens injured.
The same day, the lawmaker said, “This kind of violent vigilantism … highlights the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence.”
Anning said he opposed violence and condemned the gunman’s actions but added, “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.”
His comments, which his media team confirmed as legitimate, sparked widespread outrage, including a tweet from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“The remarks by Senator Fraser Anning blaming the murderous attacks by a violent, right-wing, extremist terrorist in New Zealand on immigration are disgusting,” Morrison wrote. “Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament.”
Anning was speaking Saturday with reporters as CNN Australian affiliate Seven Network captured the scene was the unidentified teenager.
“What I said was that a terribly unfortunate thing, a tragedy, but it’s going to be eventually accepted or expected that these sort of things happen. When people are getting attacked in their own … ,” he said as the youth cracked the raw egg on the senator’s head.
The 17-year-old was later released pending further investigation, according to the network.
Anning fanned outrage in August when he called for a “final solution” to immigration during a speech in the Australian Parliament.
The lawmaker referred to the infamous White Australia policy, which effectively banned non-European migrants in the mid-20th century. He invoked the term “the final solution,” which the Nazis used to describe their genocide of Jews in Europe.
The speech was immediately condemned by members of Parliament of all political stripes. The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council called Anning’s language “beyond deplorable.”