A senator from Australia’s ruling coalition has been criticized two weeks before the May 21 federal election, after he thanked the Chinese-Australians for “putting up with racism.”
Addressing participants at the Chinese Australian Forum on Friday, the Liberal Party senator for New South Wales Andrew Bragg admitted that, amid the coronavirus pandemic and tensions in bilateral relations with Beijing, his country has seen an increase in the number of racist incidents involving Chinese nationals. He claimed that much of the political rhetoric about China had been “at times unsophisticated” and emphasized that racism was unacceptable.
“Thank you for your steadfastness, thank you for putting up with some intemperate rhetoric at times, thank you for putting up with racism at times. It’s not good,” he said.
These remarks immediately sparked outrage among Bragg’s political opponents and social media users, with one saying they show “a terrible tone-deafness.”