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The Petition To Stop George Christensen Attending An Anti-Islam Rally Was Started By A Queensland Teen

"We get taught history in school for a reason, and I'm fairly sure that we don't need to relive Australia's past."

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In a defiant post on his Facebook page, Christensen declared, "Hell will freeze over before I give in to such intimidation."

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Well, today it's snowing in Christensen's home state of Queensland. Hell may not have frozen over, but the Sunshine State certainly has.

This photo was taken at Spicers Peak Lodge in Maryvale, west of the Gold Coast.


Christensen wrote "there are those who want to silence me and stop me from being at the rally."


"The left-wing GetUp website, CommunityRun, already has a petition on it trying to get the Prime Minister to stop me from attending this gathering of my local constituents," he wrote, noting that Bill Shorten was once on the GetUp board.

But what he didn't know was that the petition was not started by GetUp, or Labor, but a 16-year-old boy in his own electorate.

"I decided to start the petition when I realised that he was attending, and that it would probably pass under the radar," Mackay high-school student Tom Rainsford told BuzzFeed News.

His petition has nearly reached its goal of 800 signatures.

"When a member of parliament goes to a rally that sends the message of religious intolerance and many untruths are spread, it's important that local representatives actually represent all of their constituents, not just the select few who love waving their flags telling everyone that Islam is taking over," he said.

Tom said he'd never witnessed racist behaviour growing up in the North Queensland city, "but I know that we need to tell the community that religious discrimination isn't tolerable, especially when people get scared because of things in the news like the PM saying stuff like ISIS are coming to get us."

Tom says it will send a bad message to all Australians if the PM doesn't step in to stop Christensen from appearing at the rally.

Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

"It sends a message that the people making the decisions support a cause that wants to regain stuff like our 'white heritage'. We get taught history in school for a reason, and I'm fairly sure that we don't need to relive Australia's past."

The CommunityRun website says the online petition platform was established by GetUp but its campaigns are not run or endorsed by the activist group.

A spokesperson for GetUp has confirmed that they had no involvement in Tom's petition.

Christensen told BuzzFeed News the Reclaim Australia rally is a protest against "extreme Islam" but police say right-wing extremism poses just as much of a threat.

Joe Castro / AAPIMAGE

NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas told a conference on social cohesion at UWS that marches such as the Reclaim Australia rally "encourage divisive notions of us and them."

"I'm loathe to give them any oxygen but I would say that there is definitely activity on the right wing, the extreme right wing, of politics and people who are using events around the world to create incidents in Australia and NSW and in Sydney," he said.

"We're not taking our eye off that ball. We are watching it just as much as we watch anybody else."

Today, foreign minister Julie Bishop refrained from criticising her colleague for attending the rally when asked about the issue on ABC Radio.

Saeed Khan / Getty Images

"As you know, we have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly in this country and each member of Parliament will be held accountable for their actions," she told Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast.

"I don't know anything about the organisation. I certainly haven't been briefed on it. I've been briefed intensively and extensively on Islamic extremism and other threats to national security but I can certainly say that the security forces in Australia are keeping a very close eye on any form of extremism," she said.

Labor has called on the prime minister to denounce George Christensen for attending "such a hate-filled event."

"Tony Abbott is happy to stop members of his government from appearing on Q&A, yet he allows his Coalition MPs to attend these racist rallies," shadow minister for citizenship and multiculturalism Richard Marles said.

BuzzFeed News has contacted the prime minister's office for comment.

Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

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