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EDITORIAL: Eggboy versus Anning

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Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons

That a young boy cracked an egg at an obnoxious racist politician might be seen as amusing, but it may also be the catalyst we require.

#EGGBOY: THE UNWITTING HERO

It was obviously done without the intention of physical harm since the boy calmly walked up to the Senator and lightly cracked an egg on his head. There was no force in the action, or even the momentum that may have been generated had the egg been thrown. It was more the method one might adopt if intending to make an omelette, for example.

There are those who have labelled this simple form of protest as outrageous, defending the right of politicians to hold court – regardless of the unconscionable comments they may be streaming to the world – without risk of being egged.

Others have turned "Eggboy" into an unwitting hero figure. There has been a collection for his legal fees, social media pages set up in his honour and on, and on. Anning was, after all, proceeding to further disgrace himself at the time of the egg crack stunt, by insisting Muslim immigration was to blame for the Christchurch massacre, in which 50 innocent people lost their lives.

Unfortunately, the egg protest – which would have been unpleasant but hardly harmful for Anning – attracted a violent assault from the Senator and his goons. The Senator punched Eggboy twice in the head in “retaliation”, until his bouncers pounced on the boy, held him in a stranglehold and then proceeded to pile on top of him. 

While four of Anning’s thug entourage held the boy down, one of them told him:

"You’re nothing but a weak, human fucking being.”

But the significance of 17-year-old Will “Eggboy” Connolly‘s simple act of protest is not whether Anning deserved to be egged or not, alhtough we may all be inspired to take up eggs and follow suit. The significance is that, up until that point, when the egg made contact with Anning’s quite probably very thick head – even in the wake of the Christchurch atrocity – the Senator’s usual vile, racist White supremacist commentary would be allowed to spew forth as easily as his supporters could holler “freedom of speech”.

The impact of Eggboy’s prank is that attention is now focused on Senator Fraser Anning’s true character — and what is coming to light is extremely disturbing.

ANNING'S BOUNCERS

At least one of Anning’s “associates” who held Eggboy down – the one who is filmed choking and abusing the protestor – appears to be the same man who broke into Fr Rod Bower’s Gosford Anglican Church and terrorised the congregation during Ramadan last year. There is a warrant for his arrest in relation to this matter in NSW. This is Neil Luke Erikson.

Erikson has been convicted before for inciting serious racial vilification:

Erikson, along with other far-Right leaders Blair Cottrell and Christopher Shortis, were also convicted and fined in September 2017 for inciting serious vilification of Muslims through their stunt of beheading a mannequin with a toy sword outside the Bendigo Council offices in 2015.

The above conviction included storming Yarra and Moreland council meetings to "protest" their decision to scrap Australia Day celebrations.

He was also fined $10,000 (although the penalty was suspended) for failing to comply with a judge's order to remove social media posts which feature him, and a few associates, accosting and abusing former Labor Senator Sam Dastyari

Though ordered to pay costs for the contempt of court case, Erikson's response was:

"I have no money to pay any fines, so they can chase me ... I'm in court pretty much once a week now, it's becoming a regular thing. It doesn't bother me at all."

As New Zealand faced the country’s worst ever terror attack, Erikson posted a YouTube video, in which: 

'He called the attack "a big news day for the leftists”, said the deaths of 50 people at two mosques was “karma” and declared “we’re the sleeping dragon and we have woken”.

 

“What do you expect is going to happen,” he said. “Don’t play the victims now."'

These are the people with which Senator Anning surrounds himself. These are the values they espouse.

A NEO-NAZI IN PARLIAMENT

Of course, managing editor David Donovan has been warning about ‘The enemy within’ our Federal Parliament, for some time:

... at a rally on St Kilda Beach organised by convicted violent criminals Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson, far-right nationalists were seen performing Nazi salutes and carrying SS paraphernalia and swastikas. The rally was ostensibly about “reclaiming the beach” from so-called African gangs and these neo-Nazis were also seen violently attacking anti-racism protesters. However, it is notable that 5 January 1919 was the date the precursor to the Nazi Party, the German Workers Party, was founded in Munich.

 

A Federal Senator, Fraser Anning, used taxpayer money to fly from Queensland to attend this event, and was photographed alongside Cottrell and Erikson. Senator Anning described the protesters as “ordinary working people who’d had enough”. This is the same Senator who, in his maiden speech to Parliament, praised the White Australia Policy and spoke of a "Final Solution to the immigration problem".

The man who became Senator on a quirk of our electoral system – which allows someone to serve in parliament with only 19 votes – isn’t just a far-Right, White supremacist Nazi sympathiser, he is a neo-Nazi. A neo-Nazi in our Parliament. A neo-Nazi who can vote on key legislation and hold the balance of power. A neo-Nazi whose maiden speech invoked the “Final Solution”.

EGG POWER

Until the Eggboy incident, however, Anning's true nature and  '... full-throated white nationalism … would have allowed the long-term project of mainstreaming racist fear and loathing to proceed apace' — perhaps with a few carefully worded criticisms from the mainly complacent mainstream media. 

Since then, the spotlight is now on Anning the neo-Nazi. Over 1.3 million people have signed a petition calling for Anning to be kicked out of the Federal Parliament.

The Greens have called on Labor and the Liberals to support a suspension motion on Anning, which may effectively suspend him for the duration of the parliamentary year, though this may not eventuate. 

Labor has indicated it will preference Anning and, fellow racist bedfellows, One Nation last in the coming election.

Now that it is no longer de rigueur to incite Islamophobia, even Prime Minister Morrison – who only five minutes ago was happy to dog whistle with the best racists – has condemned the Senator's comments, but stopped short of a suspension motion or even preferencing Anning and One Nation last — let's not get too carried away!

Perhaps Eggboy has sparked enough attention to effect change. The spotlight is now on Anning the neo-Nazi.

This editorial was originally published as part of the Independent Australia weekly newsletter. These editorials are usually only available to subscribers and may be read online in the IA members only area.

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You can follow executive editor Michelle Pini on Twitter @vmp9. Follow Independent Australia on Twitter at @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

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