As the RU486 bill moves to the House of Representatives, the anti-choice forces were putting their best foot forward yesterday with a group of Liberal Party women MPs attacking the bill. But one of them went a bit too far: Danna Vale, member for Hughes and former veterans affairs minister, expressed the view that the problem with abortion had something to do with racial-cum-religious balance:

I’ve actually read … where a certain imam from the Lakemba mosque actually said that Australia’s going to be a Muslim nation in 50 years’ time …

I didn’t believe him at the time, but you know when you actually look at the birth rates and when you look at the fact that we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence by 100,000 abortions every year and that’s on a guesstimate.

You multiply that by 50 years, that’s five million potential Australians we won’t have here.

The fertility “crisis” is only a crisis for those who are worried specifically about white fertility. Here you have it explicitly: the problem isn’t underpopulation, or even abortion per se, it’s race suicide.

Vale’s comments don’t seem to have been fully appreciated at first, but gradually some reaction has been building. Amir Ali, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, put it mildly by saying “I think she has gone overboard”. Even her colleagues backed away; Jackie Kelly, another of the RU486 foes, said “I think Danna’s on her own on that one”.

This morning Vale was trying to defend herself, but without much success. She denied saying that Muslims were having too many children, but said “I did say that Australians are aborting ourselves out of existence”. In context, however, that comment could only mean that Muslims don’t count as Australians – just the view that some of Vale’s constituents expressed so forcefully at Cronulla before Christmas.