Fiery debate as MP impresses Reclaim Australia fans
RECLAIM Australia supporters might have been decked out in Aussie flags, but Pip Hazelwood had a pet dingo.
The most vocal opponent at Mackay's Reclaim Australia rally yesterday said her issue with the group was that it distracted from the big problems facing Australia.
"I think generalising all Islam as radical Islam is dangerous," she said.
"But really, I'm here today because the keynote speaker is talking about reclaiming Australia while his party has just approved the Shenhua coal mine.
"This is just a distraction to the real issues we have."
Keynote speaker was Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen who, despite social media uproar, addressed the rally.
With references to speeches by former United States President Ronald Regan, he was quick to win support from the crowd of about 200 yesterday.
"(They) said I shouldn't address you. Because you, apparently, are a crowd of racists, bigots, islamophobes, extremists, white supremacists, skinheads and Nazis," he said
"But when I look here today, and I look at this crowd, that is not what I see.
"What I see is mums and dads who love our country, the Australian culture, the Australian lifestyle and our freedom."
While Mr Christensen said he didn't agree with all the group's values, freedom of speech was the one which resonated most strongly.
"I see people criticizing Christianity every single day of the week... without fear of being called a 'christianophobe'," he said.
But Peter McCallum, who was among the 30 people protesting the rally, thought the values walked a fine line.
"I'm opposed to the vilification of people for political purposes," Mr McCallum said.
"In the wrong circumstances the views (of Reclaim Australia) could be dangerous."