George Christensen’s gun post, photo slammed by PM Turnbull
MALCOLM Turnbull has criticised the "very inappropriate" Facebook post by outspoken Nationals MP George Christensen showing himself holding a handgun.
The post, captioned "You gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky, greenie punks?", has been referred to the Australian Federal Police by Greens leader Richard Di Natale and an environmental activist.
Mr Christensen also came under fire at the weekend for posting the image after last week's deadly high school shooting in the United States.
Prime Minister Turnbull refused to comment further on Mr Christensen's post this morning but said it was clearly very inappropriate.
"I think we agree on that and he's taken it down," he told 3AW radio.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and independent senator Derryn Hinch have also slammed the post.
"For him to do that stuff with a gun yesterday when kids are being buried in Florida, it is sick," Senator Hinch told Channel Seven's Sunrise program today.
"I think the man should apologise on his knees," he said.
"This is the most disgusting thing I have seen since I've been in Canberra."
Senator Hanson also said she had heard the image was "wrong" and "distasteful".
Senator Di Natale said Mr Christensen was giving licence to people to behave in a violent way towards others with a different view.
"It's disgraceful, irresponsible, it's shameful," he told ABC radio.
Anti-Adani protester Ben Pennings confirmed on Sunday he had added Mr Christensen's post to a complaint he filed on Thursday with Queensland police after receiving more than 100 death threats online.
"George Christensen is an appalling example to his constituents and should be ashamed of himself," Mr Pennings said.
"When tensions are high, threats of physical violence to peaceful protesters are particularly unacceptable." Mr Christensen later amended his post to read "You gotta ask yourself, do you have a sense of humour, greenie punks? Obviously not".
EARLIER: Queensland Nationals MP George Christensen has been reported to police over a Facebook post, and a photo of himself holding a gun, captioned appearing to threaten "greenie punks".
It is just days after the deadly shooting at a Florida high school in the US, which claimed the lives of 14 students and three teachers.
The outspoken Member for Dawson posted a comment on his Facebook page on Saturday challenging 'greenies' to 'make his day' while holding a pistol.
When the post appeared it wasn't Mr Christensen, but environmentalists who took action. They reported it to police. Stop Adani's Ben Pennings said yesterday Mr Christensen was an "appalling example" to his constituents and "threats of physical violence to peaceful protesters are particularly unacceptable".
Mr Pennings said he'd added Mr Christensen's post to a complaint he filed on Thursday with Queensland police after receiving over 100 death threats online.
"I reckon the abusers are ultimately cowards but I've gone to the police just to be sure," Mr Pennings said.
"I've added George Christensen to the list and will report him to the Federal Police also. We shouldn't allow bullies to be Federal MPs."
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young took to Twitter following Mr Christensen's post to suggest the Member for Dawson should be sacked.
"A Member of Parliament inciting violence against a group of voters should be a sackable offence," Senator Hanson-Young wrote. "If the leader of the Nationals had any class he'd sack him."
But Mr Christensen fired back yesterday, saying the bigger threat was the environmentalists, like Stop Adani. "These greenies get all high minded over a joke that didn't actually threaten anyone, but their illegal actions threaten the lives and safety of workers and their own protesters," he said.
Queensland Police confirmed on Twitter that it was aware of the photograph and the "circumstance behind it". "Preliminary enquiries would indicate that no offence has been committed," the police said in a statement.
Mr Christensen does not own a gun nor is he a regular shooter. The photo was taken on Saturday while he was at the SSAA Mackay range at Brightly to see the new $500,000 upgrade of the shooting facility.
After the opening the guests, including Mr Christensen, were invited to shoot with members.
The gun in the photo was unloaded at the time.
During his speech, Mr Christensen said "people who own firearms are not criminals, some are Olympians and some are Commonwealth games medallists".
"One thing that that needs to be said by me as your federal member, is that your sport is a legitimate sport," he said.
"I recognise that - and I wish for one thing -and that the regulations that are in now are as far as they go."
He said the "pendulum has swung too far" when it comes to regulations.
In the initial post he defended sporting shooters, writing that "Gun owners aren't criminals. They are olympians, Commonwealth games medallists, conservationists, farmers and many of them veterans."
But in a further comment below the photo, he posted an image of himself with a handgun, writing "You gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky, greenie punks?".
The comment was later edited to read: "You gotta ask yourself, do you have a sense of humour, greenie punks? Obviously not."
A short time later the post was deleted.
When asked about the post, Mr Christensen said "I think people need to lighten up to be honest".
Christensen, who holds a valid firearm licence in QLD, told Buzzfeed he "thought it had been blown out more than it needs to, to be honest. I don't think any malice was intended."
"I stand by the comments made."
Meanwhile, the Australian Workers Party is asking party members and residents of the Dawson electorate to join a campaign to oust Mr Christensen.
Australian Workers Party National Secretary Mark Ptolemy said: "The latest image splashed across social media (by George Christensen himself) of him pointing a hand gun and jokingly threatening violence indicates this clown doesn't have the maturity nor the common sense to sit in any Parliament.
"This is just another in a long list of ill-thought out actions or comments from a man who really doesn't add any value to his electorate or to the national Parliament of Australia."
WHAT YOU SAID
Mathew Bing: Completely unacceptable and reprehensible behaviour. I hope he is charged.
Ben Kelly He is at an approved range with licensed people under guidance so no laws have been broken no matter how much the left idiots claim
Jack Craig This is the second time George has done this so he knows better. He will have to face the legal penalties of using a carriage service to threaten.
Clayton Goode Initially Mr Christensen was making a fair point about sports shooters being law abiding people and should be entitled to their legally bought firearms. Then he made this immature and frankly puerile comment undoing any good work he had done for the sports shooting community. Anyone who has ever read the comments on Mr Christensen's Facebook page should know that his supporter hold him in very high regards. Because of his banning of any critics, the comments section on any if his posts can quickly descend into a feeding frenzy on the ills of Left supporters with next to no control from Mr Christensen himself. It's high time he realizes all it takes is one single misguided, disenfranchised mind to read this and a real tragedy could strike. And when someone gets injured or killed, no excuse of "It was just a joke" or "Harden up snowflake" will change a damn thing.
Fee Mason It may seem a crass joke to many, but those whose lives have been affected by gun violence probably find it horrifying, and those slightly unhinged like the latest U.S school shooter may just be inspired by George's words.... tell me again is the National Party relevant any more in Australian politics, or have we moved on from their bible waving preaching?
Pete Rolfe What a waste of police resources. So the hundreds of threatening comments made towards George on the now deleted post are acceptable? Being an elected member of Parliament and all vs a posed photo with some silly lines, who is the real threat?
Alex Shanks "Well, the US might just have had another highly publicised mass gun murder AGAIN, but I think that now is a good time to verbally threaten someone online while there is a picture of me pointing a gun. That'll go down real well in today's news media climate."
John Borg This is our elected representative. This is his attitude, and he has been very open about it in the past. Just remember that fact next election day.
Gareth Taylor Once again George proves himself as not suitable to be representing our region in parliament
Debra Kay It should be a sackable offence. There is no standards left in Canberra, it's disgusting.