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Let's hope Fraser Anning soon returns to the obscurity he deserves

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Illustration: Jim Pavlidis

Fraser Anning got just 19 first preference votes as a candidate for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party at the 2016 election.

This should’ve been enough to render Anning an irrelevance. Yet recently the Queensland senator has commanded more column inches than any other political figure, and certainly far, far more than he deserves.

On the fringe: Queensland senator Fraser Anning at the St Kilda rally.Credit:AAP

His presence in the Senate and thus in a position to use taxpayers’ funds to advance an extreme right-wing agenda is the result of his accidental elevation from the unwinnable No.3 spot on the Hanson Senate ticket to membership of the upper house.

This followed a High Court finding that the hardly less odious One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts was ineligible under section 44 of the constitution.

Let us hope Anning will soon return to the obscurity he deserves at the hands of Queensland voters in elections due in May when he puts himself forward as representative of a newly registered party.

That said, his participation in a neo-Nazi rally in Melbourne against “African gangs’’ speaks to a wider issue that cannot simply be ignored.

Police stand between far-right and anti-racism protesters at the St Kilda rally.Credit:Darrian Traynor

This is the continuing resurgence of the anti-immigration nationalist right in Australia and its implications for the stability of a two-party system now under considerable stress.

Mainstream parties are shedding votes by the bucketload to populist forces mainly – but not exclusively - on........

© The Age