George Christensen has distanced himself from a fellow speaker who was slated to appear at an online anti-abortion rally this week who has espoused neo-Nazi beliefs in the past.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Queensland LNP Member for Dawson told Crikey that the MP was not aware of the identity and beliefs of one of the other two listed speakers for March For The Babies. The protest, which has been run by Victorian state Liberal MP Bernie Finn to mark the anniversary of the passing of an abortion law in 2008, is set to take place online this year.
Last month, the event’s website named three speakers: Christensen, Professor Priscilla Coleman and a third speaker credited as a “Disability Support Worker”. Crikey has chosen not to name them due to concerns about their mental health.
This speaker’s extreme views have previously been noted by Australian anti-fascist researchers. According to researcher Andy Fleming, the speaker took part in a rally organised by far-right Australian group United Patriots Front in 2015, and has a history of sharing Nazi iconography and memes on their Facebook page.
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As recently as last month, they shared a “Strasser Gang” meme, a seeming reference to a worker-oriented form of neo-Nazism, along with references to the alt-right slogan “it’s okay to be white”. Other posts on their profile reference their belief in national bolshevism, a radical ideology combining nationalism and communism.
Since Crikey’s inquiries, the speaker’s name has been removed from the protest’s Facebook event and been replaced with Bernie Finn.
Finn did not respond to questions about how this speaker was chosen to headline the event.
That speaker is not the only controversial figure appearing at the rally. Coleman is a highly controversial researcher whose research on the psychological effects of abortion has been discredited due to concerns with her methodology and skepticism about the results.
In 2010, The Washington Post reported that a review of Coleman’s research linking abortion with mental health problems found the findings were “logically inconsistent with other research” and were unable to be reproduced.
“Our inability to replicate the findings of the Coleman study makes it clear that research claiming to find relationships between abortion and poor mental health indicators should be subjected to close scrutiny,” review author Lawrence Finer said. A panel from the American Psychological Association, which considered Coleman’s research, found that there’s no greater risk having an abortion than carrying a pregnancy to term.