May 23, 2014 – 11:57AM
National political reporter
MP George Christensen with Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Photo: Nat Bromhead
Government backbencher George Christensen says he has received a death threat following comments he made about the federal budget and has accused Opposition Leader Bill Shorten of ”fanning this violence”.
Labor has called on the Prime Minister to immediately force the Liberal National MP to apologise for the ”offensive” comments and said threats of violence were never acceptable.
Mr Christensen, the LNP member for Dawson, stirred up anger on social media on Thursday when he tweeted that Australians complaining about the federal budget should get some perspective and do a ”tour of Asia and live like locals”.
The tweet, coupled with an image of an impoverished child from Cambodia, prompted an immediate backlash from Twitter users.
Australia is on the verge of signing a memorandum of understanding with the South-East Asian nation to send refugees to resettle there from Nauru.
Mr Christensen’s comments about Asia stand alongside a budget that rips $7.8 billion from foreign aid over five years.
On Friday morning, Mr Christensen tweeted that he had received a death threat.
“I received a death threat in relation to my comments re budget. This is where public discourse has sunk. Shorten is fanning this violence,” he wrote.
Mr Christensen could not be reached for comment on Friday and his office would not supply details of the alleged threat.
A spokesman for Mr Shorten said the suggestion that the Opposition Leader was somehow responsible was ”a disgusting new low for the Liberal Party”.
”If the Prime Minister has any sense, he’d instruct George Christensen apologise for this offensive and irresponsible statement,” he said.
”There is a right way and a wrong way to protest this unfair budget – making threats like this is never acceptable.”
Earlier this week Mr Shorten criticised student protesters who mobbed Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and former Liberals MP Sophie Mirabella at separate events at Australian universities.
Mr Christensen is not the first MP to receive death threats, with crossbenchers Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott receiving threats while they served in the Gillard minority parliament.
The chief executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society, John Falzon, criticised the MP’s comments on Thursday and said the public response reflected a deep feeling of injustice over a budget that ”hurts and humiliates” those doing it toughest.
Source : The Sydney Morning Herald