Senator Fraser Anning called for a national vote on whether to ban Muslim migration, saying Muslims were responsible for acts of terror and crime and were dependent on welfare. His use of the term 'final solution' in his comments provoked outrage.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and all major political parties on Wednesday condemned a speech by a minor senator who used the term 'final solution' in calling for a revival of a "White Australia" immigration policy.
Senator Fraser Anning used the term on Tuesday, while calling for a national vote on banning Muslim migration.
The Final Solution or the Final Solution to the Jewish Question was a Nazi plan for the extermination of the Jews during World War Two.
It was one of the most divisive speeches seen in Australia's parliament since 1996 when far-right politician Pauline Hanson declared incorrectly that Asians were swamping the country.
Anning said Muslims were responsible for acts of terror and crime and were dependent on welfare. However, census data show that Muslims account for less than three percent of Australia's population.
Amid national outrage Turnbull, who will head to the polls within nine months, condemned Anning.
"We reject racism in any form"
"We reject, we condemn racism in any form, and the remarks by Senator Anning are justly condemned and rejected by us all," Turnbull told Australia's parliament.
Opposition Labor party leader Bill Shorten told parliament on Wednesday: "You have to be pretty outrageous to be condemned by everybody in the Australian parliament, but Senator Anning has managed to do just this."
Australians will return to the polls by May 2019, and recent polls show the majority of the electorate back multiculturalism, but far-right politicians are expected to pose a challenge to the mainstream parties.
"Turnbull can and must bat this away," said Haydon Manning, a political science professor at Flinders University in South Australia.
Ignorant of the phrase
Anning, who has been in parliament for less than a year has entered into a loose alliance with several conservative independent lawmakers that has boosted his otherwise inconsequential role in Australia's upper house.
Anning split from Hanson's One Nation party shortly after being sworn in, though his speech had many of the hallmarks of his former leader who has called for cuts to Asian and Muslim immigration.
Following his speech, Anning said he did not know the phrase 'final solution' has a Nazi history.
Hanson joined the condemnation, telling the Senate she was appalled by Anning's speech.
"We are a multi-racial society and I have always advocated you do not have to be white to be Australian," she said.
Under what was commonly called a "White Australia" policy Australia restricted non-European immigration from 1901 until the late 1960s using various laws.