WATCH: Labor’s Tim Watts Smokes Anti-Muslim MPs For ‘Hijacking National Security Debate’

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The Member for Gellibrand was at it again, turning the words of security officials against a renegade group of Coalition MPs who appear determined not to let the rhetoric of the Abbott government die with it. Max Chalmers reports.

Malcolm Turnbull has dialled down the terror-scare rhetoric since taking the reins from Tony Abbott – and some in his party are not liking it one bit.

A number of MPs have been speaking out with cabinet member Josh Frydenberg and the member for Canning Andrew Hastie leading the charge this weekend, doing their bit for social cohesion by arguing there is an intrinsic link between terror and Islam.

In an interview with Murdoch tabloid the Herald Sun Hastie said “modern Islam needs to cohere with the Australian way of life, our values and institutions. In so far as it doesn’t, it needs reform”, in an article title ‘Islam must change: War hero MP Andrew Hastie leads radical push’.

Frydenberg reiterated criticisms Australia’s Grand Mufti, while MP Michael Sukkar said Islam had not reformed as Christianity had.

George Christensen, the Nationals MP who appeared at a Reclaim Australia rally earlier this year, moved a motion in Parliament today which, among other things, “calls for continued action in countering violent extremism and in particular, radical Islam within Australia in order to prevent further acts of terrorism within our borders”.

Somewhere along the way Labor MP Tim Watts – who has previously taken aim at the Reclaim Australia movement – decided enough was enough.

In four minutes and 58 seconds flat the Member for Gellibrand shredded the dissenting Coalition MPs in Parliament today.

“These people need to get in touch with what we’re trying to do with this nation. It’s an important national security issue that is being hijacked by irresponsible, ignorant members of a minority group within the Coalition. It’s about time it stopped,” Watts said.

Watts was heckled by Christensen as he delivered the address, and paused briefly to ask that Hansard record the interjections. Aside from that the Labor MP barely stopped for breath.

Watts chastised the Christensen and co for thanking police and security forces on the one hand, but subsequently ignoring their advice about the importance of community cohesion in preventing radicalisation on the other.

“The more we marginalise and vilify the Muslim community in Australia the harder our job will be to tackle the real problem, the vanishingly small number of perverts who use the text as justification for barbarity,” he said. “Modern Islam isn’t the fever-dream of bigotry and paranoia inside the minds of some conservative MPs. It’s the individual life choices of half a million Australians.”

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Max Chalmers

Max Chalmers is a former New Matilda journalist and editorial staff member. His main areas of interest are asylum seekers, higher education and politics.

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