Comment: George Christensen makes me embarrassed to be a Queenslander

LNP MP for Dawson George Christensen suggested refugees could take Australian jobs. Source: AAP

For all the XXXX, cane toads, pet rabbit bans, and ancient sex laws, LNP MP George Christensen is the most embarrassing part of Queensland.

There are a number of embarrassing things about being a Queenslander.

It is embarrassing to be from a place that cherishes XXXX as its state beer, even after knowing what XXXX tastes like.

It is embarrassing to live in a place that is overrun with cane toads, one of the ugliest creatures on earth. Sorry cane toads, I’m sure you all have nice personalities.

Conversely, it is embarrassing to live in a state that bans citizens from keeping adorable bunny rabbits as pets, as is the case in Queensland. Sure, you can get a licence if you are a magician, but it doesn’t really seem worth it. Nothing does.

It is also embarrassing that Queensland is the only state where the laws for "age of consent" differ between vaginal and anal sex, a holdover from the entrenched homophobia of the 19th century.

But in all honesty, what has been most humiliating about being born and raised in this great state is its long tradition of producing embarrassing politicians.

It would be easy to devote paragraphs to the classic and iconic examples: from Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s institutional corruption, all the way to the race-baiting idiocy of Pauline Hanson.

But unluckily for those of us in the Sunshine State, embarrassing politicians are not a thing of the past. The dilapidated and overworked Mortification Factory that creates them is still going strong, churning out pollie after pollie forcing Queenslanders to be in a state of near-constant remorse for their political leaders.

I could segue easily here into talking about the singing, dancing, dinosaur-park-building Clive Palmer, or even the boom-mike ignoring Peter Dutton. However, both of those men have been overshadowed by the latest in this series: the long-running political and personal embarrassment that is LNP MP for Dawson, George Christensen.

When I first discovered his Twitter account, I initially assumed it was a parody account of a politician anyone would dread being represented by.

As an embarrassing Queensland politician, Mr Christensen has it all. He not only uses his mouth to say embarrassing things in parliament, but he then uses his fingers to post those things all over social media, doubling down where others might not.

When I first discovered his Twitter account, I initially assumed it was a parody account of a politician anyone would dread being represented by. When deciding what examples to use to demonstrate how Mr Christensen’s behaviour could be found embarrassing by some people, I had to narrow it down to a select few of the many examples.

There was the time he called conservation groups "eco-traiters" for daring to lobby the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to save the Great Barrier Reef from destruction. Or the time he posted a naked cartoon of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palasczuk, and responded when people didn’t appreciate it that Australia was losing its sense of humour to "political correctness" – aka "not putting up with overtly sexist jokes".

Then there are his sensitive and nuanced positions on matters of race and religion. He launched a Twitter tirade against the #illridewithyou hashtag, which was started as a means of offering companionship to people wearing religious attire on public transport after the Sydney siege, calling it a "typical lefty campaign" amongst other snippets of genius.

Speaking of genius, in July he attended an anti-Islam Reclaim Australia rally in Mackay, claiming that Australia is at "war with radical Islam", and that Australia’s lifestyle should not be "surrendered".

He is reflecting poorly upon the rest of Queensland. And let’s face it, haven’t we suffered enough?

And let’s not forget the blog post (he is impressively embarrassing across all platforms) where he wrote that all products certified as Halal, such as Vegemite, should be labelled in order to protect people: “To be frank, I find it outrageous that some of my grocery spending could go to propagating a religion.”

More recently, Christensen was called "repugnant" by shadow immigration minister Richard Marles after he made comments (and also tweeted) that refugees accepted into Australia would either take jobs meant for Australians, or end up on the dole. The timing of his comments were particularly graceful, offered during a week where Australia was debating how many Syrian refugees should be re-settled here.

Unfortunately, the internet does not have enough space available to continue to list the ways in which Mr Christensen makes me feel embarrassed to be from the same state as him, so I have to leave it there.

As someone who spent a year in Mackay (where Christensen is from), and as a decent person who has lived elsewhere in Queensland her entire life, I implore the voters of Dawson to reflect upon what has been written here (and many other places, including a special section on his Wikipedia page) about their representative.

Think about the fact that for every second he is in office, and after almost every tweet he sends, he is reflecting poorly upon the rest of Queensland. And let’s face it, haven’t we suffered enough?

Rebecca Shaw is a Brisbane-based writer and host of the fortnightly comedy podcast Bring a Plate.

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