For those who assumed climate-denying, citizenship-ignoring ex-senator Malcolm Roberts would see last night’s Q&A descend into madness, you were right – but not entirely. The show was predictably cooked, but it was Roberts’ co-panellist, Coalition senator James McGrath, who dragged the programme to hell when faced with a question about the rise of white nationalists in Australia‘s political system.
Roberts and McGrath were faced with a fair question: how can the Coalition and One Nation wind back the influence of white nationalists and their sympathisers within their own ranks?
Roberts jumped straight into a pretty goofy answer about letting people be heard and enforcing law and order, which had almost nothing to do with the issue at hand (it’s worth reiterating that Senator Fraser Anning, who has done just about everything to prove his white nationalist credentials outside of uttering the 14 words, was only admitted to Parliament because Roberts was found to be ineligible).
Perhaps sensing that nothing of merit would come from Roberts, guest host Virginia Trioli turned to McGrath. Everything went to shit.
“Sorry, I don’t accept the premise of your question, that there’s a rising tide within the Liberal National Party,” he said. Undeterred, the questioner brought up a 2018 photograph of McGrath surrounded by young party volunteers who flashed the white supremacist ‘OK’ sign.
“If people do silly things like that, stupid things like that, that offend people, that are wrong, they should be dealt with,” McGrath said, glazing over the fact that one of the NSW National Party figures accused of mainlining neo-Nazis into the party last year was yesterday awarded a plum role advising state Water Minister Melinda Pavey.
McGrath said he thought Labor and The Greens would agree with the idea of treating everyone as equals, regardless of their ethnicity. “I don’t think Peter Dutton would,” said Greens senator Larissa Waters in reference to the current Home Affairs minister.
Her response set McGrath off like a particularly wobbly Beyblade, knocking everything and everyone as he spin around the bowl. Over boos from the audience, McGrath defended the offshore detention policy which has been shepherded by Dutton and his predecessor, current Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Where are your tears for those people who drowned at sea and were eaten by the sharks?” McGrath said.
“Where were your tears there? So don’t come here with your crocodile tears talking to me about what Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison did.”
Fair effort making Liberal Party Vice President Teena McQueen look competent on the show, let alone Roberts. Have a gander below:
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) April 15, 2019