The Story Of How A Seat In The Senate Takes Just 19 Votes

A look at Senator 19 votes.

Ever heard of Santa Spruce-Peet-Boyd?

No?

Me neither.

Santa, a self-described artist and prophet, stood at the last federal election as an Independent, seeking a seat in the Senate for NSW.

Santa got a grand total of 80 votes.

It is hard to imagine a more obscure political career.

Until you come to Fraser Anning.

Because even Santa Spruce-Peet-Boyd attracted more than four times as many first preference votes as the now Senator for Queensland.

Fraser Anning got just 19.

Ponder that for a moment.

Anning got his seat in the Senate, with its $200,000+ salary, travel and staff entitlements, generous superannuation and unrivalled platform to mouth off, from 19 votes.

His break came when One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts was binned for being a Brit. His Senate seat was a party entitlement and Anning, a publican, “aircraft manufacturer” and Pauline Hanson fan, suddenly found himself thrust onto the reddish-pink carpet of Australia’s house of review.

Hanson didn’t rate him. Between his arrival in Canberra and his first appearance in the Senate chamber, the pair bickered. Anning strolled into the Senate as a newly declared independent. He has since joined Bob Katter’s Australia Party led – it might be noted - by the grandson of a Lebanese immigrant.

Anning’s first speech to the Senate overnight sparked condemnation in both Chambers today. It inspired the rare sight of Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten shaking hands over the despatch boxes, after the Prime Minister condemned Anning’s speech as racist.

Katter's Australian Party Senator Fraser Anning Photo: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

In case you missed it, Anning used his first speech in the Senate to call for the return of the White Australia Policy and for controls on travel by Muslims. He also referred to a “final solution” on immigration.

Even Pauline Hanson has declared herself appalled, describing Anning’s speech as “straight from Goebbels’ handbook.”

Anning now says he was not intending to echo Hitler’s language in pursuing a “Final Solution” to the “Jewish question” by killing them all. Given his factual lapses elsewhere it is possible he really is that ignorant.

But now the world knows the views of our accidental flotsam Senator. Senator 19 votes.

Doubtless he has taken a liking to the pleasures of Senatorial life and is keen to improve on those 19 votes at the next election. The race card has worked for others. Why not?

Bob Katter is backing him.

Bob Katter. Image: Getty Images

“His speech was absolutely magnificent,” says Katter. “Ninety percent of Australia has been waiting for someone to say it. You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to figure out that we as a race of people – we Australians – are being buried.”

Katter says his party represents not the racist right but the “hard left” of Australian politics.

“We are differentiated from every other party now, including One Nation,” he says. “Are we racist? Well, we’re Australian!”

Australia, over to you.