SYDNEY, Australia, March 11 (JTA) An Australian extremist is welcoming the support of the country’s most prominent Holocaust denier.
Pauline Hanson, who sat for a term in Parliament as the sole representative of the One Nation Party, was invited to speak at the South Australian Press Club after her party gained representation in two local Parliaments in recent elections.
Hanson’s 45-minute address was punctuated by applause and shouts of encouragement from Fredrick Toben, who served a prison term in Germany for Holocaust denial and whose distribution of anti-Semitic material on the Internet has been declared unlawful in Australia.
During the question-and-answer session, Hanson said, “Toben is probably like a lot of other Australians that he is supporting me here today, and I thank him.”
A prominent member of South Australia’s Jewish community told JTA that Toben actively campaigned for One Nation during the 1999 federal election, although Toben told reporters at the press club speech that he does not have a party preference.
Hanson lost her Parliament seat in the last election and has since suffered a series of setbacks, including the dissolution of her political structure and negative publicity over her use of public money and supporters’ funds.
For his part, Toben will face Australia’s Federal Court later this year, having defied orders from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission to remove anti-Semitic material from his website and to publicly apologize to the Jewish community for offending them.
Toben also has been informed that if returns to Germany where he served jail time for material he sent by mail from Australia he will face charges under anti-racism legislation for the contents of his Internet site.