Christensen stands by rally appearance
FEDERAL Member for Dawson George Christensen kept his promise at the weekend, speaking to a crowd of around 200 protesters at a Reclaim Australia rally in Mackay.
As Mr Christensen last week announced his intentions to address the rally, public outcry soon ensued online with a GetUp! petition even calling on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to step in.
Mr Christensen took to the podium on Sunday to cries of encouragement from Reclaim Australia supporters, saying he was "proud to be a voice for North Queensland".
When asked if, given the public outcry, this statement could be considered correct, Mr Christensen said "there wasn't too much outcry from people in my electorate".
"I noticed the outcry seemed to be coming from southern media and political activists from capital cities," he said.
"In fact, overwhelmingly the response from my constituents has been extremely positive."
As outbursts of violence have been reported at similar rallies in Sydney and Melbourne, Mr Christensen has stuck by his decision to support Reclaim Australia.
"The rally at Mackay was vastly different to that which other people organised down in Sydney and Melbourne," he said.
"Those rallies were marred by violence, whereas the Mackay one was peaceful."
Mr Christensen said he attended the rally because he was asked to do so.
"I went along to that rally because I was invited by constituents. I had a look at (Reclaim Australia's) mission statement... and not one of those principals I thought was racist or bigoted," he said.
"I've got to say (the anti-rally protestors) didn't contact me to talk about their concerns before I went there."
Addressing the crux of the debate on Sunday, Mr Christensen said "we would be foolishly naive to think we are not at war with radical Islam".
"Islamism is a political system whereby everything that happens in your life and everyone's life must fit under the laws of radical Islam, of Sharia (law)," he said.
"It's not a threat that only exists on foreign shores; it's a threat that exists in our midst as well.
"(Sharia law) is quietly executed in Australian mosques, unfortunately, on a daily basis."
Mr Christensen has since clarified these statements, saying not all those who follow Islam support Sharia law.
"I don't know that there's too many mainstream Muslims that want to implement Sharia law in Australia," he said.