Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce isn’t exactly known for his soft-hearted side, so his comments about Islam have come as a surprise to many.
Mr Joyce was speaking about Pauline Hanson’s views on Muslim immigration and Islam, saying he completely disagrees with her party’s policy.
“What happens if we turn that on its head and start banning people because they’re Catholics or because they’re Protestants or because they’re Jewish?”
“I’m not into banning people on the premise of their belief. How they see their god is completely and utterly their personal reason,” Mr Joyce told Sky News.
He also commented on Ms Hanson’s calls for security cameras in mosques, saying he is opposed to the idea.
“If you can put them in mosques, then when I go to mass we’re going to have one in a Catholic church?” Mr Joyce said.
“Every group has their ratbags, even Catholics. We had, in the past, the IRA (Irish Republican Army) but if someone says every Catholic is a member of the IRA, I’d say no.
“They have nothing to do with the religion that I practise. Islam at the moment also has a lunatic fringe.”
The topic of Islam and terrorism dominated much of the election, with Ms Hanson calling for a ban on Muslim immigration.
While she has found a lot of support, there are also many who have slammed her beliefs and argue you can’t blame an entire religion for the actions of a minority of extremists.
There have been calls by some pollies to ban immigration for people from ‘hotspots’ for violent extremism in the Middle East, but others say that proposal just opens the gateway to a blanket ban across the board.
Either way, Mr Joyce’s comments are somewhat surprising given his tough stance on so many other issues.
While he has received praise from some for his views, others have slammed him and accused him of putting the country at risk.
“The IRA were never a threat to Australian lives and culture, neither have been the Catholics. Same with the Buddhists, Scientologists and Mormons etc. Islam is different,” said one commenter.
“Joyce. You are fast becoming, a disappointment. We pinned our hopes on you curtailing Turnbull’s left wing tendencies, instead you are playing up to them. We just might have to get rid of the lot of you,” said another.
However, others leaped to his defence saying they were thankful to hear a politician standing up for Islam.
“How refreshing to finally see someone in the government talk reason. You CANNOT blame all Muslims for the actions of a few mad men. It defies all logic,” wrote one supporter.
What are your thoughts?