Australian politicians are falling over themselves to claim credit for US President Donald Trump’s immigration and travel ban on people from seven Muslim countries, saying they suggested it first.
Federal MP Bob Katter – not known for his reticence in blowing his own trumpet – has become the latest Australian politician to say that he had the idea ages ago.
Mr Katter claims Trump must have heard his ‘cooee for a ban on Middle Eastern peoples from entering the country’ all the way from his Innisfail office and obviously decided to act on it.
“Mr Katter didn’t expect the American President to take action before the Australian Government,” exclaimed the press release from the MP’s office.
“Trump is the most powerful man on the planet and the American people have made their decision. No more!
“These people stay at home. If Saudi Arabia and Dubai won’t take them – why should Australia?”
The outspoken Independent MP, whose grandfather was Lebanese, called for a ban on anyone travelling or immigrating to Australian from the Middle East or North Africa in August last year, after an Algerian-French backpacker murdered two British backpackers at backpacker’s hostel Home Hill, Queensland.
“The time has come now to stop people from those countries coming to Australia. And if that is an extremist position, is it an extremist position for Saudi Arabia and Dubai; they won’t let any of those people in,” Mr Katter told Sky News last year.
“There comes a point where I’m worried about Australians, not worried about people over there,” he said.
Mr Katter issued a press release today (Tuesday) saying he would keep campaigning for a similar ban to be introduced in Australia.
“We’ve been screaming for this, particularly since the attempted mass murder that took place in my backyard at Home Hill last year.
“As I’ve said on the public record many times, it is imperative the people from countries between Greece to India and in North Africa are barred from entering Australia.
“There is an incident of this nature by people of Middle East origin intercepted far too regularly in Australia.”
Mr Katter said he would exempt persecuted Jews, Sikhs and Christians from his edict and also leave out Muslims who lived outside the Middle East, in countries such as Indonesia.
Treasurer and former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison entered the debate yesterday when he told radio host Ray Hadley that Trump and the rest of the world was “catching up” with Australia’s tough guy immigration stance which he said was “the envy of the world”.
“I remember when we came in in 2013 and I was implementing our border protection policy people threw their hands up – and I said I’m doing what I said I would do in the way I said I’d do it – and guess what, I’m now getting the results I said I’d get,” Morrison told Hadley.
“The rest of the world would love to have our borders and the way they are secured and the immigration arrangements we have put in place, particularly most recently, over the last three or four years.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter, One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson praised the Trump travel ban but said it didn’t go far enough. She tweeted that Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia should also be included.
Citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are all on Trump’s banned list.
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