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Calls for Raheem Kassam to be banned from Australia

The Labor party have called on the government to turn down a visa application from conservative speaker Raheem Kassam saying that his previous comments about the muslim community, women and homosexuality make him an undesirable guest in Australia.

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Kassam is a British political advisor and writer who previously worked for UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and was the British editor of Breitbart. He currently edits the website Human Events.

The conservative activist has previously made derogatory comments about people who follow Islam, transgender people and women. He once suggested that Scottish politician Nicola Sturgeon should have her mouth and legs taped up so she could not breed.

He is scheduled to be a featured speaker at the CPAC – Conservative Political Action Conference in Sydney next week. The top speakers at the conference are British politician Nigel Farrage, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, One Nation’s NSW leader Mark Latham, and Sky News host Peta Credlin.

In parliament this week Labor asked the government why it was allowing Kassam into the country, and why many government MPs would be sharing a bill with the controversial speaker.

Senator Mathias Cormann said Kassam’s views and previous comments were abhorrent, but it was important that Australia recognises free speech. In the lower house the Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was important to the recognise “the principles of freedom of thought, speech, expression and association.”

Liberal senator Amanda Stoker, who will be speaking at the conference told Sky News that CPAC was an event filled with “really credible local conservative politicians, and thinkers, and academics and commentators”.

“I’m not afraid to walk into a room with people I don’t know, listen to their views and debate them if they’re wrong,” Senator Stoker said. The Queensland senator said people needed to learn there was a difference between be “not classy” and hate speech.

There’s a world of difference between being a person who’s not very classy and committing the crime that is hate speech.” Senator Stoker told David Speers.

Senator Stoker said she thought Kassam’s previous comments were “crass”, but the government should not be banning people it disagreed with. Senator Stoker said she was disappointed when the government banned Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking in Australia. Senator Stoker said she thought he was a “twit” but did not deserve to have his visa application rejected.

Liberal Senator James Paterson accused Labor of trying to smear Liberal MPs who were also appearing at the conference. Craig Kelly is also speaking at the event alongside a range of conservative speakers, many of whom have taken offence at comments made by Senator Penny Wong on social media.

Senator Wong tweeted that the US version of the conference had become an extremist breeding ground.

“A conference sounds like a place where harmless ideas are discussed. CPAC is not. It has been an extremist breeding ground in the US. We do not need to import its antisemitism, white supremacy and bigotry to Australia.”

Conservative commentator Daisy Cousens took offence at Senator Wong’s description of the event, and posted to Twitter demanding to know if Senator Wong considered her to be a antisemite, white supremicist or a bigot.

“…do I qualify as an “extremist”? What about an antisemite, white supremacist, or bigot? If yes, please provide me with 50 examples of me displaying those qualities.” Cousens demanded.  Cousens defended Kassam’s previous comments saying they could not be described as hate speech, but were best described as “naughty comments”.

Western Australian independent MP Charles Smith posted his views to social media saying Labor MP’s were “self righteous clowns” and Senator Kristina Kenneally was a “self-righteous ctrl-left fruitcake.”

Labor leader Anthony Albanese appeared on television saying he viewed Kassam to be an extremist, based on his previous comments.

“We make no apologies for saying there is no place here to import hate speech. He is an extremist. We make no apologies for Keneally calling to ban him.”

Kassam posted to his Twitter account calling Albanese and threatening legal action over the description of him being an extremist. In an early post Kassam described Albanese and shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristina Kennedy as “psychos”.

OIP Staff


 

 

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