Fact check: Testing the claims in Fraser Anning's first speech to Parliament
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Fact check: Testing the claims in Fraser Anning's first speech to Parliament

Senator Fraser Anning made a number of claims in his maiden speech and in subsequent media interviews. Fairfax Media has tested them against the available evidence.

CLAIM: Australia's immigration policy is designed on a "whim".

FACT: The government of the day decides on the number of people allowed to enter Australia in different visa categories. The program can be altered as the government believes is appropriate, taking into consideration the country's economic needs and capacity to absorb people from different countries. Of the people migrating to Australia, 68 per cent are skilled migrants and 32 per cent are from family visa streams. (Source: Department of Home Affairs website).

CLAIM: 457 visa holders "steal jobs from Australians".

FACT: The 457 visa was abolished by the Turnbull government in 2017. The visa which replaced it - the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa - is restricted to areas where there are critical skills shortages. Mandatory labour market testing must be done before the visas can be applied for. There are also training obligations in place to ensure employers train workers in the areas of skills shortages. (Source: press release from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, 18 April 2017).

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CLAIM: The "vast majority" of Australians want Muslim immigration cut.

FACT: According to a regular, large-scale survey of attitudes to migration run by Monash University, about 80 per cent of Australians support a non-discriminatory immigration program. In 2017, just 15.8 per cent of respondents said it should be possible to reject migrants based on their race or ethnicity. Although the survey found negative sentiment toward Muslims was "relatively high", the figure did not exceed 25 per cent. (Source: Scanlon Foundation's Mapping Social Cohesion study).

Protesters against an anti-Muslim rally in Melbourne.

Protesters against an anti-Muslim rally in Melbourne.

Photo: Craig Sillitoe

CLAIM: "Muslims in NSW and Victoria are three times more likely than other groups to be convicted of crimes."

FACT: Fairfax Media repeatedly asked Senator Anning's office for the source of this claim, and did not receive a response. Both the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research and Victoria's Crime Statistics Agency told Fairfax Media they did not possess or publish reliable data on the religious affiliation of criminals.

CLAIM: The people killed on Bourke Street were killed by a Muslim terrorist

FACT: Dimitrious Gargasoulas, charged with six counts of murder over the Bourke Street attack in January 2017, is an Australian citizen believed to be of Greek-Tongan descent, and who Victoria Police have said had no known connection to any terrorist group. He has a history of drug use and mental health problems and was heard in court referring to Islam as "the correct faith", while also speaking about "the Illuminati".

Michael Koziol is the immigration and legal affairs reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in Parliament House

Stephanie Peatling is a senior writer for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House

Dana is a federal politics reporter, covering health and industrial relations. Previously, she was a reporter for The Australian.