Bob Katter has claimed Christianity is under attack in Australia and likened Manly players boycotting an NRL match over rainbow jerseys to Jews in Nazi Germany.
The maverick independent MP delivered an extraordinary spray in Parliament House hours before the Sea Eagles’ match against the Sydney Roosters.
Manly will play without seven of its top Pacific Islander stars who refused to wear the LGBTQI pride uniforms on ‘religious grounds’.
Mr Katter brought a Bible to his press conference in the Parliament’s Mural Hall, and held it aloft saying he was about to make the most important statement of his life.
‘You believe in this book, you’re gonna be persecuted, they’re coming for you. So stand up,’ he said.
‘I’m sorry, people like myself in our cowardice haven’t stood up before but now we must.’
Bob Katter brought a bible to his press conference in the Parliament’s Mural Hall, and held it aloft saying Christianity is under attack in Australia
The North Queensland stalwart recounted his family’s history playing rugby league, including one who was killed on the field, and challenged those responsible for the jersey fiasco to compare their records to his.
He recounted how followers of the Bible, from ancient Egypt to the Holocaust, were oppressed for their faith – and this was just another example.
‘Six million people were sent to the gas chambers in Germany because they believed in this book. It started pretty unthreatening “oh we just want you to tell us whether you believe in the bible and that you’re a Jew”,’ he said.
‘This continued persecution is well and truly alive today. Just have a look at what’s happened to these seven boys from Manly.
‘They have been persecuted for no other reason than they have moral conviction and whether you agree with their convictions, or not, is irrelevant.
Manly players Sean Keppie (left), Kieran Foran (middle) and Reuben Garrick posed with the club’s Everyone in League jersey, which was unveiled on Monday
‘The conviction shown by these seven men is heroic and every decent member of society should admire them.
‘Whether you agree with them or you don’t, they have stood up for what they believe in at great personal sacrifice and that is truly admirable.
‘This is what the people of self-righteous arrogance have done to them: They have had their jobs taken off them, taken their family security off them, taken their incomes from them, they have put the house they live in in great jeopardy, their futures, their aspirations – all in jeopardy. What brutality.’
The maverick independent MP delivered an extraordinary speech in Parliament House hours before the Sea Eagles’ match against the Sydney Roosters
Mr Katter said not only should the players no have had to wear the rainbow jersey if they didn’t want to, the uniforms should never have been made.
‘Prostituting the great game, that one of my family lost his life in, and use it to promote your beliefs… that is the complete opposite of what rugby league is,’ he said.
‘It’s a brotherhood, you stick by your mates, it is a manly game – bit of irony there. Well how did the Manly club love their fellow players?
‘Where is the commitment of the captain to his team? Does he look after them or sell them out and throw them on the scrap heap?
‘I cannot be more appalled and I’ve never seen anything that comes close to it in the game. They should never have used our game to promote [their] private opinions.’
Mr Katter returned to his Holocaust comparison, saying that Jewish persecution started small, before pivoting to using Aboriginals in his local area.
This should send a shiver down every Australian’s spine: These players have been confined to their houses, they have been locked up, because they “might get hurt”,’ he said.
‘Apparently, they are doing this to protect the players, but do you know what they said to the First Australians when they rounded them up in chains and sent them to Palm Island? They said, “we are doing this to protect you”.’
Mr Katter explained this was personal as he is ‘dark and from Cloncurry’ and identifies as a member of the local Aboriginal tribe.
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