MELBOURNE: A far-right Australian senator had to be restrained by security officials on Saturday (Mar 16) after punching a young man protesting his offensive comments about the Christchurch mosques attack.
Queensland Senator Fraser Anning drew international condemnation for his efforts to blame the attack that killed 49 Muslim worshippers on immigration.
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Amid the controversy, an unnamed young man threw an egg at Anning during a press conference in Melbourne, prompting the senator to hit him in the face repeatedly before being stopped by what appeared to be a security guard.
In a statement on Friday, Anning had said the attack which killed 49 Muslim worshippers in the southern New Zealand city was the result of Muslim immigration into the country.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described Anning's comments as "appalling" and "ugly" with "no place in Australia", as he announced a bipartisan motion of censure would be launched.
Anning was elected in 2017 by a fluke of Australia's proportional voting system, having received only 19 first preference votes.
He is unlikely to be re-elected when Australians go to the polls in a vote expected this May.
Friday's attack, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelled as terrorism, was the worst ever peacetime mass killing in New Zealand and the country had raised its security threat level to the highest.
Australian attacker Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, has been described as a suspected white supremacist, based on his social media activity.
Footage of the attack on one of the mosques was broadcast live on Facebook, and a "manifesto" denouncing immigrants as "invaders" was also posted online via links to related social media accounts.
He was charged with murder on Saturday. He is due back in court on April 5 and police said he was likely to face further charges.
Two other people were in custody and police said they were seeking to understand whether they were involved in any way.
None of those arrested had a criminal history or were on watchlists in New Zealand or Australia.