Australia

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie denies meeting far-right figure, but colleague disagrees

0:00

West Australian Liberals MPs have different versions of what occurred at a rally in support of white South African farmers.

Two federal Liberal MPs are at odds over meeting far right activist Neil Erikson at a 2018 Perth rally in support of white South African farmers.

Mr Erikson, who has been convicted and fined for inciting contempt and ridicule of Muslims and has been banned from Twitter and Facebook, claims he met with West Australian MPs Ian Goodenough and Andrew Hastie.

A Liberal MP says he and another MP met with far right activist Neil Erikson (pictured) in Perth last year.
A Liberal MP says he and another MP met with far right activist Neil Erikson (pictured) in Perth last year.
AAP

While Mr Goodenough says they had an inadvertent encounter with Mr Erikson, his fellow West Australian Mr Hastie says he's confident he didn't meet him.

"A guy whose identity we did not know at the time who was dressed like a rapper approached me from the crowd with followers carrying a video camera," Mr Goodenough told AAP.

"We had a brief encounter but did not discuss or agree to anything. As politicians it is usual for strangers to approach us. We did not have a meeting."

The MP for Moore had earlier told The Guardian that he and Mr Hastie had a brief meeting with Mr Erikson at the rally at Forrest Chase in Perth in April 2018.

WA MP Andrew Hastie says he never met with far-right figure.
WA MP Andrew Hastie says he never met with far-right figure.
Facebook

"He came up and there was a conversation," Mr Goodenough said.

"It was a very brief meeting from what I saw, two to three minutes."

But Mr Hastie, the MP for Canning and chair of the parliament's intelligence and security committee, has denied having met Mr Erikson, telling reporters on Tuesday: "I don't answer defamatory questions and I won't get involved."

He later added in a written statement: "I have never sought to nor agreed to meet with Mr Erikson.

"I'm confident that I did not encounter him on the day.

"I find his views abhorrent and his views should not be given a platform."

Ian Goodenough said he and Mr Hastie had a brief meeting with Mr Erikson at the rally at Forrest Chase in Perth in April 2018.
Ian Goodenough said he and Mr Hastie had a brief meeting with Mr Erikson at the rally at Forrest Chase in Perth in April 2018.
AAP

Mr Hastie thanked Google for removing a video posted by Mr Erikson which he said made "false and defamatory claims".

A photo posted on Mr Hastie's Facebook page shows him attending the rally with Mr Goodenough.

Mr Hastie said he had gone there "in support of South African farmers fleeing from the threat of violence".

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said both MPs had serious questions to answer.

"The rise of right-wing extremism in this country is of serious concern, and instead of condemning it, the Liberals appear to be cosying up to it," Mr Dreyfus said in a statement.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch