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Mum, why is Anty from The Bennies opening for Pauline Hanson at an anti-vax rally?

All too often these days – what with the proverbial back and forth over the ol’ backyard fence that is text-based social discourse – facts can get lost in the sauce.

Such is the state of things these days that it’s hard to tell what’s satire, what’s entirely made up, and what actually happened. But every once in a while, you’re handed a situation so bafflingly clear-cut, so eye-rollingly plain and simple that it’s frustratingly obvious – and it helps when there’s pristine video evidence to go along with it. But even then, when armed with immutable proof that something did happen, we’re rarely privy to the logic behind it – the why.

Which is why we find ourselves today asking the question not if, not how, but why – why did Anty Horgan, the frontman for “psychedelic reggae ska doom metal punk rock from hell” outfit The Bennies, decide to open up for Pauline Hanson – who appeared onstage shortly after – at a recent anti-vax rally championed by One Nation?

In footage filmed on the day and supplied to BLUNT, Horgan can be seen letting loose before a crowd of excited anti-vaxxers, with a plethora of problematic sights right before his eyes – including, but not limited to, an Apartheid-era South African flag, and one brandished with “TRUMP”. From there, keen eyes might even be able to spot the QAnon merch on display (including a “Great Awakening” t-shirt).

Upon taking to the stage, Hanson was met with stirring chants of “PAULINE! PAULINE!” So it’s clear everyone in attendance, whether on the stage or in front of it, knew what they were there for. Of course, Hanson’s involvement in the event was promoted in the lead-up.

Over the weekend, thousands of anti-vax protesters took to the streets to posit their argument that being protected against COVID-19 is the worst assault on freedoms in human history. It truly was an opportunity for those who sympathise with the largely right-wing talking point to let their freak flag fly, rallies taking place in 30 different cities across Australia. It was during the Gold Coast’s edition of the Millions March event that things were particularly strange.

Establishing a firm platform of right-wing nationalism and all the trappings involved in that whole ordeal, there’s not a lot of connective tissue between the well-established ethos of punk-rock and the ideals of One Nation. Regardless, Horgan decided that this was an event, of course, he was willing to put his name to.

Flanked by cohort Malcolm Roberts, Hanson took to the stage to update her following on a recently proposed bill aimed at protecting the “freedoms” of her followers to not get vaccinated, adding: “I said to [Prime Minister] Scott Morrison last week when I had a half-an-hour conversation with him on the phone – he said, ‘Your bill doesn’t comply with the constitution.’ I said, ‘Well go out and bloody well change it so it does.'”

In a statement posted to instagram, Anty has distanced himself from the rally, declaring that he’s “fully vaxxed” and adding: “I am not a racist or a nazi in fact I condemn Pauline Hanson and one nation [sic]. Fuck racism, fuck fascism, fuck Pauline Hanson…I condemn it all.”

As we brace for more news on the developing spread of a new COVID-19 strain dubbed the ‘Omicron’ variant, particular intrigue is going to be placed on anyone who platforms the (supposed) arguments against getting vaccinated – perhaps even more so on those who don’t understand the full movement that they are involving themselves with.

At the time of publication, The Bennies were yet to issue a statement. We’ll update this original article if that changes.