Labor wants right-wing 'bigot' banned from Australia ahead of conservative conference

Labor wants right-wing figure Raheem Kassam banned from Australia ahead of his scheduled speech at a conservative conference in Sydney.

Labor has called on the government to block a firebrand right-wing figure from visiting Australia where he is due to speak at a conservative conference alongside former prime minister Tony Abbott and Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage. 

Former Breitbart editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam is billed as a "British political activist" by the organisers of the Conservative Political Action Conference to be held in Sydney next week. 

But Labor's Home Affairs spokesperson Kristina Keneally described Mr Kassam as a "career bigot", citing a series of offensive social media posts. 

Raheem Kassam has accused Kristina Keneally of spreading lies about him.
Source: Getty

In one tweet, Mr Kassam said Scottish Party Leader Nicola Sturgen, who had suffered a miscarriage, should have her mouth and legs taped shut so she could not reproduce.

The 32-year-old also described a female politician as a "wrinkly old ginger bird" and suggested a former British minister "was in the special needs class" at school. 

"Mr Kassam has an extensive history of vilifying people on the grounds of their race, religion, sexuality and gender," Senator Keneally told Parliament on Tuesday. 

"He has described the Koran, the holy book of the Muslim faith, as fundamentally evil."

Raheem Kassam alongside former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Source: Getty

Senator Keneally also said Mr Kassam had campaigned for limited migration to control, what he has described as "large-scale Muslim immigration". 

Senator Keneally called on Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to refuse "career bigots" a visa to visit Australia. 

"Why is the Home Affairs Minister allowing this individual into the country?" 

Mr Kassam said he was not phased by Senator Keneally's "lies" declaring he would still be coming. 

"I got a massage and played ping pong instead," he tweeted. 

"I'll see her in court if she repeats her defamation outside the chamber, where she currently hides behind parliamentary privilege." 

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally says Raheem Kassam is a career bigot.
Source: AAP

It's the first time the Republican-aligned conference which attracts tens of thousands of people in the United States each year, is being held in Australia. 

Conference on track to sell out

Liberal MPs Amanda Stoker and Craig Kelly will join former Liberal candidates Warren Mundine and Jacinta Price at the event sponsored by Liberty Works, the American Conservative Union and Advance Australia. 

The speakers list includes Fox News commentator Jeanine Pirro, American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp and NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham.

In an interview with SBS News, Ms Stoker defended her participation and that of other Liberals in the conservative conference.

"If we are doing our job properly as politicians we should be talking to people from all walks of life," she said.

"Trying to shame into silence anyone who would speak to a person who is wrong on an issue damages our capacity for constructive democracy." 

Fox News commentator Jeanine Pirro has spoken at previous CPACs in the United States.
Source: Getty

Liberty Works founder Andrew Cooper said Senator Keneally's blast did not make sense.

"What she's done is called a Muslim man an Islamaphobe and she's accused Warren Mundine and Jacinta Price, who are both Indigenous Australians, she's essentially accused them of being racists. 

Mr Cooper said Mr Kassam, a former chief adviser to former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, would have some interesting things to say. 

"Brexit is a significant moment in world politics and I think it's important that we hear from the people that were intimately involved in those events. 

"Raheem Kassam is a respectable, well-known, albeit potentially controversial in some aspects of what he says, but he's a respected speaker and he speaks all over the world."

Mr Cooper said Ms Keneally's attack would not hurt the three-day event which was on track to be a sell out at the 600-seat Rydges World Square. 

Published 31 July 2019 at 7:57am, updated 31 July 2019 at 4:02pm
By Rosemary Bolger