Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar has used parliamentary privilege to accuse those challenging the eligibility of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to sit in Parliament of being “disgusting, disgruntled, debauched” and anti-semitic.
The extraordinary attack was condemned as “a total abuse of parliamentary privilege” on Thursday night.
But Mr Sukkar said he felt compelled to highlight the issue, given the rise of anti-semitism. The Treasurer is Jewish.
Mr Frydenberg’s mother, a survivor of the Holocaust, migrated to Australia from Hungary after World War II.
The High Court has been asked to rule on Mr Frydenberg’s eligibility on two grounds.
The first is based on whether he holds dual citizenship through his mother.
The second deals with misleading Chinese how-to-vote signs prepared by the Liberal Party.
Mr Sukkar said the Treasurer’s mother, Erika Frydenberg, then Strausz, was born in Hungary in 1943, and survived the Holocaust before spending time in a displaced persons’ camp after which she arrived in Australia in 1950.
“Her documentation upon arrival in Australia clearly states her nationality as stateless. She subsequently became an Australian citizen,” he said.
“This is why the move this week by a small number of disgruntled, debauched political activists is so offensive, so disgusting and so abhorrent.
“A man who wants, in his own words to ‘liberate the debate on the holocaust’ Trevor Poulton, and has authored a book called The Holocaust Denier, made clear his intent to find a signatory to take the Member for Kooyong to the High Court over his citizenship.
“Well this despicable individual, with his nefarious intent, has been successful in getting Kooyong resident – and Green activist, GetUp charlatan – Michael Staindl to initiate the case.
“Surprise, surprise, Staindl has been linked to failed Kooyong candidate Oliver Yates, with Yates admitting that: ‘I know Mr Staindl through his community work’.
“Staindl, and his fellow travellers like Yates, have stooped to the lowest of the low, trying to get Frydenberg thrown out of the Parliament just weeks after the people of Kooyong emphatically endorsed him for a fourth time.
“You see, Yates’ father William Yates, who also served in this place, has been reported as calling international Zionism ‘a terrorist military organisation’.
“People could legitimately ask, ‘Has the apple fallen far from the tree?’”
A former independent candidate for Kooyong, Oliver Yates said Mr Sukkar’s speech represented “a total abuse of parliamentary privilege”.
Mr Yates said he had nothing to do with challenging Mr Frydenberg’s eligibility on the basis of Section 44.
His challenge does not relate to the Constitution but is on the basis of misleading and deceptive signs on polling day.
“To try and paint me as anti-semitic is close to derangement, frankly. It’s offensive, it’s cowardly and it is gutless,” he told The New Daily.
“It’s a total abuse of parliamentary privilege. It’s also totally untrue. I am not involved in the Section 44 challenge.
“There’s no depth really they won’t go to when it comes to harassing and bullying people. I am entitled as a citizen to take this to the Court of Disputed Returns.”
Mr Sukkar said Mr Yates’ decision to challenge the result was wrong.
“True to form, the citizenship challenge has also been supported by the other failed candidate in Kooyong, the Greens Julian Burnside.
“Burnside is on the record as supporting the BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, which is of its very nature anti-semitic.
“Burnside has also trivialised the Holocaust by equating Peter Dutton on social media to a Nazi officer – something which Holocaust survivors has said publicly is deeply offensive to them.
“So what is with these pathetic extremists? Yates, Burnside, Poulton and Staindl. They just can’t accept defeat at the ballot box.
“Mr Speaker, how low can you go?”