National

Anning to start Conservative Nationals

By AAP Newswire

Controversial Queensland senator Fraser Anning is seeking to expand in the hard right-wing political space with immigration changes on his mind.

The independent senator thinks Australia's immigration minister should be elected directly by the people, and separately from the rest of the government.

"Could that work, what do you reckon," he writes in an article.

Senator Anning had wondered last year how he would get re-elected, telling the Townsville Bulletin in November it would be hard because he wasn't so well known.

He's raised his profile significantly since then, flying business class to an extreme right wing racist rally in Melbourne, and dipping deep into taxpayer pockets for travel expenses.

He's now casting his net wide for conservative voters, registering his party as the Fraser Anning Conservative National Party or, for short, the Conservative Nationals.

The senator made headlines this week for spending almost $3000 to go to a hard right racist rally "to represent ordinary Australians who say we have had enough of that violent behaviour."

He was referring to migrant violence, not home-grown violence.

Senator Anning insists there is a problem with African gangs operating in Queensland although the state's top cop says that's not so.

The senator wants to change immigration laws, and throw out people who divorce after getting residency by marriage. He thinks a directly elected immigration minister would best do the job.

His use of taxpayer dollars also questioned this week over staying last year at his brother Harry's pub in Babinda - despite offers of free accommodation from his sibling.

A spokesman for the senator said his boss was hardworking and his travel expenses fell within parliamentary entitlement requirements.

"He does not sit idle and through a combination of travel within Queensland and interstate, he represents the interests of his constituents," the statement said.

The senator has also defended his family travel costs, after it emerged he had claimed $19,000 from July to September 2018.

He said his wife travels with him because she is a volunteer in his office, so it is within the rules.

Senator Anning started with One Nation before falling out with Pauline Hanson.

He then joined maverick Bob Katter's Australian Party before they kicked him out over what they described as his appeals to racism.

Acting opposition leader Penny Wong says she urges Australians to reject senator Anning's extremist views at the election "under whatever name they are wrapped in".

"The real question is whether the Liberals and Nationals will preference him, as they have done with One Nation, or join Labor in putting extremists like him last," she said.