Bernardi defends appearance at anti-Halal function
Conservative Senator Cory Bernardi has denied any wrong-doing after attending a hotly protested anti-halal function in Melbourne on Friday night.
It was his first public appearance since quitting the Liberal Party.
The function was organised by the right-wing anti-Islam group, the Q Society, to raise funds for an upcoming defamation action initiated by Mohamed El-Mouehly of the Halal Certification Authority.
At a similar event held in Sydney on Thursday, political cartoonist Larry Pickering made a series of anti-Muslim and homophobic comments.
“Let’s be honest, I can’t stand Muslims,” he was quoted as saying, following up with a comment that they were “not all bad”.
“They do chuck pillow-biters off buildings,” Fairfax Media reported him as saying.
Former Liberal MP, Ross Cameron, joined Mr Pickering at the event, where he also criticised homosexuality.
There were angry scenes in Melbourne, where protesters gathered to surround a bus carrying Q Society members to the Friday night meeting.
A lot of pushing and shoving ensued, and one protestor was almost driven over by a member of the society.
A protest organiser said they wanted to send a message of solidarity to Muslims and members of the LGBTQI community.
“We’ll be standing up and showing the elite racists in our society that that we stand against them,” Anneke Demanuele told 7 News.
Police guarded the door to the event on Flinders Street, where Senator Bernardi received a standing ovation after his speech in support of the anti-halal movement, ABC News reported.
He said many people in the community had concerns about the halal industry, but condemned comments that were made at the previous night’s meeting as “out of line”.