Australian MP Faces Backlash After Posting Image With Gun On Social Media

By Alexandra Wells, International News Writer

George Christensen, an Australian MP, has received recent backlash for posting a photo of himself on Facebook holding a gun with the caption “You gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky, greenie punks?” only days after the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The post, put up on February 17, has received a large amount of criticism in a short amount of time. Green party members of the Australian Parliament have called the post “disgraceful,” according to the BBC, and noted that the post was made only days after the recent Florida shooting in which 17 people died. BBC also quotes Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about the post, who said it was “very inappropriate”. A member of the Greens, MP Sarah Hanson-Young also criticized the post. She is quoted by The Guardian in reaction to Christensen’s post, “Last week 17 people were shot dead at a US high school and this is how an Australian member of parliament responds?”

Controversy over the post has led some to demand the resignation of the MP, like Sam Lee, the chair of Gun Control Australia, who is quoted by The Guardian saying, “This is a stupid and selfish and childish act in response to a national tragedy in the United States… We should be supporting the US calls for better gun laws… But instead, Mr. Christensen makes threats to other politicians. This action brings into questions whether Mr. Christensen is a fit and proper person to be a representative in our parliament, let alone be allowed to have access to a firearm.” Despite the widespread backlash online, Christensen stands unmoved by the criticism.

George Christensen defended the post by saying to reporters the following Monday, “Putting a joke up on social media – if that’s doing something wrong, then there are a lot of people that are going to be in trouble,” along with the comment, “It happens every day, every hour in this country.” In response to what Mr. Christensen is calling the criticism of “Keyboard Warriors”, the caption of the photo was changed to say, “You gotta ask yourself, do you have a sense of humour, greenie punks? Obviously not.” The post was later deleted from Facebook. This is not the first post of the MP’s to create controversy. He has also called for Australia to ban the burka, consider using corporal punishment against addicts, and posted a political cartoon with Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, naked on a wrecking ball in 2015.

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, February 27th print edition.

Contact Alexandra at

alexandra.wells@student.shu.edu

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